We woke up Saturday morning in our B&B to the pitter patter of rain on the roof. All through breakfast it poured buckets on and off and I started getting excited for a mudfest of the ages. After breakfast we got our gear together and headed the five miles down the road to the venue arriving to mostly clear blue skies. No more rain but at least the course will still be wet right? Wrong! It rained all morning five miles up the road but the course had only received light sprinkles. We headed out on our warmup laps to very un-crosslike conditions. Very dry and very dusty.
Rhonda's group raced first. She hung with the leaders through most of the first lap but gradually fell back as her lack of saddle time due to a myriad of injuries over the last six weeks caught up with her. She finished 7th out of 15 or so but two of the girls who beat her moved up and did the A race later finishing in the top 10.
For my race I got a call up to the line. The race organizers must have sensed the cross demon lurking within me and wanted me up front where I belong (It also might have been that the call-ups were based on time of registration but I'll go with the former idea). My cross demon decided to stay hidden till another day and I was quickly but in my place near the back. I rectified that during the first run up where the mad skills that Kathy and Ali taught me burst out and I loped (I'm too tall to call what I do running) past 5-6 people. I passed a few more people on the 2nd barrier section and settled in with a small group in the middle of the field. The rest of the race was basically me gaining a ton of time on the straights and getting killed by the MTB'ers on the tight corner sections. By the end of the race the corners were so loose that I was buried to my spokes at times and had no traction while the guys on fat tires just floated through. I finished 10th out of 20+ which I felt pretty OK with for my first cross race. I was clean through the barriers and kept my intensity up the whole time. I raced pretty well but got killed in the multiple 180 deg corners. I'm thinking the 30c tires that came on my bike aren't going to be meaty enough for some courses so I'll probably look into an upgrade to some 35's.
Cyclocross is wicked fun. In MTB races I often have trouble maintaining intensity and focus because I usually spend most of the race by myself. Everybody in my category is either five minutes ahead of me or 5 minutes behind me and there are so many people on the course I have no idea who's who. In cross there is always somebody near by and they're always direct competitors. You always feel like you're battling (even if it is for 10th place). Also you don't have to worry so much about saving energy for the next climb. You just pin it and go. The only negative to that is that it hurts like hell all I wanted to do was finish the race but as soon as I was done all I could think about was my next race.
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