The Hendersonville races are different from the normal NCCX series in that they are UCI sanctioned. This means the UCI officials are out and pros can earn UCI points. It also means a top-notch course with challenging sections with good flow and diverse terrain.
One of the most interesting sections was the Wall, a super steep dirt hill with an asphalt runway (see photo’s below). You came around the corner, jumped on the gas into full sprint to be able to get up the hill. They also had some off-camber sections that were challenging (I went down on one section during a warmup lap when the combination of grass and frost made it super slick).
The usual call ups were made and then they called folks up randomly. I never heard my name so I was in the back. Some dude in front of me looked at me, saw the fury in my eyes and asked if I wanted to swap with him. Gladly! Started 3rd row with a decent start (Johnny V was on the front row) . Raced a solid race and true to form, there was JV in front of me with a about a lap to go. I followed him around a while thinking about how I was going to take him and about three others when some clown went down right in front of me. Off the course I went trying to avoid him and not end up in the pond. I ended up losing about 5 spots in the pileup. Finished 18th out of 37. JV had a great race and finished 13th.
The course was little bit soggy with some light rain but the dirt quickly turned tacky which made for ideal conditions. They changed the course slightly on Day 2 but having ridden most of the course the day before added a lot of confidence in the turns. They called up the top guys again but then told the rest of us to line up. A mad rush but I found the last slot on the front row. Didn’t have a great start because I couldn’t get into my cleats and and my anxiety of being involved in a massive wreck keeps me timid. Not a problem for JV who came from the second row and squeezed his way into a great position by the second turn (I had dropped back to 15ish). Picked off riders one-by-one and, again, ran up on JV on the last lap. This time there was no messing around. I got past him and another guy on a big run up. Poured on the gas, picked up a few more riders and lost one guy on the single track hill. Finished 9th with JV 11th out of 32. A good finish for everyone that race. About an hour after our race, the bottom dropped out and the rain poured. I had to leave but looking at some of the videos, it was sloppy.
- Don’t wait for a good opportunity to pass someone. Do it early and often.
- Crashes in front of you suck.
- Be aggressive at the start. What’s the worse that can happen? A broken collar bone?
- Being familiar with the course helps with your confidence which helps with your speed.