At the start line I look down at my front tire, a 37c gravel tire. It is caked in about 600 grams of mud. It is now I understand what makes a mud tire, a mud tire.
The start is on and 75 people launch out for the 3x lap of a 2.2mile course. I had second row positioning and pretty much hold my spot coming into the first barrier. With a good hour long warm up I have no problem going at full speed and working my way towards the front. Within two or three minutes I am about 7 or 8 riders from the front (the long straights are really working to my advantage).
As I make it to the final 100meters to join top 5 (this is significant as I have never been able to see the front action at a cross race), I can see that Ben Levitt is off the front by about 30 meters and only gaining. I’m thinking good for him, my ride is going to win this race. Coming into lap two, the group of 4 of us is going slightly slower than I want to be going and we appear to be gaining ground on Ben. In the period of about 10 seconds on the straight, the Pony shop Guy and myself catch (and pass) Ben and drop the rest of the group. As Pony shop and I head into the woods, I pass him. I put in a big effort knowing that if I can create a gap now, it might not be able to be closed. As I emerge from the woods, I am flying solo (two men enter, one man leave). Now if I can just keep up the time trial pace for the next 15 minutes, I have first place locked up. The fact that this course was not so technical made this a lot easier and I was able to pace myself at exactly my threshold without blowing up.
Coming into the final little climb, where the Cuttin Crew had set up their couch, the spectators were all over the course. This must be what it feels like at one of the Tour mountain stages (for about 3 meters). The crowd is screaming “Sandbagger” as I approach. By now my mind is in Binary mode. I see bacon being handed up on this section (was it supergirl?), in binary mode, my mind says bacon, jake no eat bacon, no take.
I cruise to the finish, do a post-up and bask in all of my sandbagging glory. Thanks to ABD for putting on a super fun race!

-shake and bake