"Save Ferris." I still don't know for sure why Sunday's race was called that but I'm sure there was good reason for it. The eighth race of the "ChiCrossCup":http://chicrosscup.com/ was in Northbrook this time, just a little ways from the city, and only three miles from the velodrome. Adrian kindly gave me a ride out there despite not racing himself and it was here where I'd compete in my first Cat 3 CX race. The usual bevy of teammates in the 3's wouldn't be present -- Kevin (Canada "where he placed awesomely":http://halfacrecycling.org/reports/8548-is-a-hundred-bucks-in-canada), Adrian (taking a weekend off) and Zach (in OH-IO) -- but "Tim":http://thefatguywhorides.blogspot.com was with me we were united once again.

I knew I'd be outgunned and nowhere near contention for this race. My race tactic was to grab a friendly wheel. In this case I marked a few. CBR proprietor and all-around ace man, "Luke Seemann":http://chicagobikeracing.com was a target wheel.

The course was long. One of the longest. UCI-esque in ways. No barriers but a massive toboggan hill with two sets of stairs which were both used. Lots of switchbacks, open areas, plenty of off-camber and mud, mud, mud.

The whistle goes and we're off. I'm feeling decent. Cold and freezing but overall, decent. Once racing was on, I'd forget all of that. I was in the bottom third, not doing too badly. However, as I very well knew, technical sections on courses are my weakness and they proved to be my undoing. Coming into the hill, I was ahead of Luke. After it, I was behind him but using him as my pacer. My goal was then as I thought: hang on to Luke's wheel.

I did a lot of this: running. Photo by Gavin Gould.

That didn't go as planned as I slipped in a corner and lost him as three other riders came through from behind me. It was a blur for the most part, but not in a bad way. Aside from running into the tape once, some slipping and one slideout on the pavement as I was gunning it around a corner (from which I have three new scars), I managed to hang on for the bell lap and come through for one last lap. Two riders behind me weren't so fortunate.

I finished, I survived.

A weird thing: When Tim and I went to go look at results, my name wasn't on the list. They made a note of where I finished (before Tim and after Jason from xXx) and I spoke with Dave Fowkes about it later. He told me to get it sorted out before I left and I did so. They were going to put me in last place as a matter of convenience/sympathy but Jeff from Garner settled it. So far, the Google spreadsheet has no record of me despite having awarded points to the 3's for Northbrook so either I'm again getting the shaft on results locally or who knows. It's frustrating to a degree, not that I'm getting anything from it, points-wise, but from a competency standpoint it frustrates me.

It's an odd thing -- how I've done better and had competent results from racing out of state than I do at home.

 -Naz Hamid