Guess I'm a little late with this, but here goes:
1. I've had a love/hate relationship with cyclocross this year. I've had attitude and leg problems. I was starting to think I would just specialize in bike commuting and leisurely trail riding, forget this racing business. After skipping the races in Moscow, Sandpoint & Liberty Lake to R&R, I mustered up some motivation and headed to Walla Walla last weekend. Almost didn't go, but I had reserved a hotel room, so I sorta had to.
2. On the way down Saturday, I was acutely aware that if I took a little detour to Ralston or Marengo, I could reach the John Wayne Pioneer Trail and reconnoiter the Cow Creek section. The Columbia Plateau Trail was beckoning also. But I decided I would continue on to Stanger Farm, and maybe check out the trails on Sunday instead of racing at Bennington Lake.
3. Man am I glad I raced Stanger Farm. Before the race, I decided I would not worry how I finished and just take it easy, and ride for the fun of it. But you can't just take it easy at the farm. It's a great, fun course featuring 2 creek crossings and the world famous flyover. I got what groove I have back. Had a great time racing. I even beat two others fair and square, not just because they had "mechanicals".
4. I finished dead last at Bennington Lake and am the proudest monkey ever to bear the DFL tag. There were only 10 racers in the 50+ Masters, so I got 5 points. I always end up with the measly 3 points for showing up, so 5 is something special, for me at least. I had no legs on Sunday, and Bennington has a big elevation gain/loss, but I finished. There's a great group of crossers out there who encouraged me around the course.
5. On one lap at Bennington as I rode on the long dike portion, (sorry, no pictures) I was passed by two riders, one of which was drafting off the other. Hey, that ain't fair! On another lap, I got to the end of the dike thinking I was all alone, when suddenly I was passed by a fellow who gave me a hearty "good job!". He might've been drafting behind me, but that's kinda hard to believe.
6. All in all, I'm glad I showed up. The Plateau and Pioneer Trails will have to wait.
A few pictures from the farm: