I've been asked that a lot lately. I thought I'd put up a quick post to answer the question. If you judge based on results, the upgrade has been an unmitigated failure. If you compare my results and times against the people I was racing with last year, things are far less bleak.
In short, the 1/2/3 races are fast. Holding my own in a 3/4 race wasn't always easy, but sometimes it was. Holding my own in a 1/2/3 race is never easy. Not getting lapped by Justin Lindine is never easy. In fact I don't think I've even achieved that to date. Guys like Lindine, Cory Burns, Al Donahue, Wayne Bray and Dan Staffo are simply riding at another level. It's doubtful that I'll ever get to mix it up with them, but I do intend on holding my own or at least not embarrassing myself. To bend my mind around the fact that some of them might get lapped by pro's is mind boggling.
I was admittedly discouraged after my first few races. At this point I've come to grips with the fact that I was pack fill a few years ago and I still loved CX. I'm pack fill again and I still love CX. Sunday was a particularly dark day for me. I didn't want to race and nearly made a U-turn on the Thruway. I started the race very passively and got caught behind a crash. I quickly found myself in last place, and if it wasn't for a few friends cheering for me, I might have rolled into the pits, grabbed my wheels and headed for the car. I've never quit a CX race, but I was close. After a few laps though I started realizing that the Full Moon Vista folks had turned the Cobb's Hill course into a legitimate and sweet CX course. I didn't get to race there last year, but this year's course was a huge improvement over what I had seen two years ago. It took us a few years to dial in the Ommegang course, so I get that it can take some time to dial in a new course. It also helped that the race announcer kept calling out my name and Ommegang/Syracuse Bicycle every lap. He was also calling out a few of the local riders that I was starting to pick off. At that point I had no choice but to enjoy the suffering.
After the race, Wayne B. told me I was a head case. I had to agree. Getting to a Cat 2 was a lot of work and holding my own will be a lot of work. I'll no longer start my races like a wuss, and since my form is coming around, hopefully I'll see more of the middle of the pack and less of the back. Either way, it's CX season and there will be beer so it's all good.