I did this race last year and didn't have a very good time between my own lack of fitness, poor setup (overinflated tires) and a run in with an asshole roadie. This year I toed the line with a large sense of confidence with really good fitness, tires at about 35 frnt and 45 rear and a good attitude to not let anyone else's mouth get into my head.
I had a mediocre start and immediately got caught behind a starting line crash (again!). I really have to work harder on being more aggressive on both the starting grid and the actual start.
A couple minutes into it I was trying to move up through the 180 turns and half a wheel in front of a guy and, as is standard protocol for the guy ahead, took the optimal line without cutting him off. He immediately whined something like, "you're just not gonna give me room are you?" I just replied, "I'm just racing, buddy." and continued on. He quickly burned out and disappeared and I mentally patted myself on the back for ignoring it and moving on with my race instead of getting wrapped up in stupidity.
I felt pretty good and had an okay first lap catching a couple guys and keeping tabs on the front runners and making room on the wide open sections and limiting my losses on the 180's and making room on some of the curb hops and the short runup. But this course doesn't really have very technical challenges so you just gotta GO.
The second lap was going well and I was picking up steam when I felt the rear end squish out in a tight corner. I did a quick rear wheel bounce and confirmed that I was flatting out the rear. A few minutes later I was done since I had nothing in the pits. As I rolled to the start/finish and let them know I was out I thought back and was pretty sure a hard hit on a tree root had caused a pinch flat. So much for the proper tire pressure...
It was nice to have an actual spectator for a change! Teammate Zaf was in town and had dropped in to see what the whole cyclocross thing looked like. After dropping out and getting changed we hung out, watched cheered on our teammate Jim Lund to a 3rd place finish (on a headcold) and spectated at the sandpit where the guys who know how to relax and shift their weight get separated from the guys who, um, go over their handlebars.
I was frustrated with the DNF but that's racing. I kind of wish I'd brought my mountain bike and put it in the pits but it just seems so overly self-important to put a pit bike in for a B race... I guess I should get over getting over myself...