Doing it all the hard way...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SCX # 1 2008 Race Report Cyclocross

SCX #1 Evergreen
I’m fully committed to racing Cat 3 this year. I have been slaughtered in my first two outs, but like the cyclocross version of Homer Simpson, I am oblivious to my situation and thus I plunge forward into the eye of the storm at full speed with a grin that only confirms my lunacy. When I first started racing I considered it a good week if I beat a certain two guys who then moved up to Cat 3 at the end of that season. They aren’t winning any races, but they aren’t last either, so I assume, for whatever reason, I can still race with them.

We arrived just as the first race went off and it covered four groups, master men and women Cat 4, aged 35+ and 45+. They started each group one minute apart and with four laps of the course it turned into a constant stream of riders as the fastest of the first group caught the slowest of the last group and there was also all kinds of overlapping in between.

I did my course reconnaissance and warm up, then after an unusually long wait at the line the race was underway. Ann Knapp and the rest of the Cat 1 & 2 masters women started one minute ahead of me and I began my race assuming I would be lapped by her and a few of her fast friends. After the starters whistle it was a fast three quarters of a lap on the lose dirt track and I was clinging to last place after being boxed in. Once we hit the grass I began moving up. I passed Steve and Brian, the two men I was marking, and a couple others then I caught a handful of guys on the run up and held it on the “crash and you will cartwheel” descent. I was holding my own and traded places back and forth as the lap progressed. There are some cool back and forth traverses where you pretend you are riding in a half pipe and then a zig zag climb on wet grass. A twisty descent and you pass the finish line and then a couple 180’s and you approach the parries and then descend onto the track to repeat the loop five more times.

On the third lap Brian caught me and I retook him on the run up only to have him pass me on the descent. He must have had a good run up to have been that close. I was huffing and my low back was feeling all of the house painting I had done the day before. On the switchbacks I saw Steve trying to catch me so I gassed it. My last lap really was my last lap and I fought for my life and retook a couple guys on the run up. By this time we had caught some of the slower 35+ and even some master women, so there were people to chase, and trying to avoid being caught behind a slow rider in a technical section was key. I held my spot and crossed the line as limp as wet laundry.

Monday, September 8, 2008