Great day for a bike race. Mt Rainier stood as a proud sentinel over the course. I wish I had pictures but its hard to do when your pulse is 180. Or more. I saw some strong cyclocrossers at the start and figured those are the guys to watch- Todd Tucker, the OTB crew, Bill Booth. And I did watch them ride away from me with a few other people. Nothing much I could do about it. I fell in to a group with Hahn Rossman, a couple of Apex guys, and a Starbucks rider. I would usually pull on the road, Hahn would take over on the dirt and downhills. It worked well because Hahn is a good descender- there was no touching of the brakes down the rocky Mur du Mashel. He and I were both riding on wider 32mm tires which probably helped. We were never able to put too much time into the Apex riders on the dirt though, and they were not too eager to help pull on the paved section. There seemed to be a lot of flats/mechanicals- not very surprising given the bumpy dirt section. It must have taken a toll on the lead group too because at the end there were only 3 guys ahead of our group. On the last paved uphill leading to the finish I was able to drop everyone except one of the Apex guys, who of course pipped me on the line.
This was my first kermesse- style race and it was a blast. I used my cyclocross bike with 32mm Panaracer Paselas and didn't change out the gearing- I've got 46-36 chainrings and a 12-27 cassette. 45 psi in the front and 55 psi in the back. I wouldn't have changed anything with the setup and the other racers I talked to seemed to feel that cyclocross gearing was plenty adequate too.