The next day was Baker Orchard, the first Cat 3 race I did this season. Up to this point I had done Cat 1/2/3 races and 2/3 races but not a straight up Cat 3 race. It's not a US grand prix or anything, just a local Minnesota race held at an apple orchard. It's a fun race never less, but of course I'm biased, coming back to a race you've won the previous year is always exciting. Its like "Hey, that's a fun course... I won there last year!". It is also extra special because when I won it last year, it was my first Cat 4 victory.
I pre-rode the course for a few laps to warm up and did some last minute tuning on my bike before I lined up for the race. The course was mostly enclosed by trees and pretty bumpy. It didn't have many corners but it was high speed enough that the corners that were in it could be pretty technical. There was two sets of barriers in the course, one set was pretty standard, just a pair of 40cm high barriers but the other set is made of three large log stairs.
I had a little bit of a lackluster start but moved up quickly
By the second lap I was leading with Ethan Furios right behind me!
After a few laps I put in a big acceleration and dropped Ethan who was caught and passed by Rhett Finley.
Rhett then put in a huge effort ad managed to close down the gap to me with a lap to go
Rhett caught onto my wheel on the last lap, we went into the last technical section coming into the finish and I kept the pace high enough that he smoked a corner trying to keep up with me and lost my wheel. I got my first cat 3 win!
Here is a awesome video by Brady Prenzlo showing the race in helmet cam perspective, you can see me some towards at the start and some of the rest of the video. This gives a good perspective on how fast we are going. (skip to 3:00 for our race)
I had a lot of fun at this race, I just got my upgrade to cat 2 so next weekend I'll be racing with the big boys!