While the mood in Games of Thrones is all dire and stuff about winter, I am the opposite. Cyclocross is coming (or kinda already here for some) and I for one and happy about it.
Last night was my official kinda-season opener with the Crosstown Velo Wednesday Night Cross race in Fletcher Park. Wednesday Night Cross is a series of three training races held every other week. It’s a great way to keep into the swing of things, build some fitness and start racing against some other cool crossers. I was pretty nervous going into it. I’ve been riding a lot, more than ever before, but I haven’t really been doing specific training lately. My last race was the Fontana Dam Jam, and a cross country race is quite a bit different than a cross race. So I decided to race the B’s. Technically I’m a B anyway, since my USAC category is a 3. I have a complex about that though since I’m coming out of collegiate racing where I race in the A group, and most cyclocross races combine Pro/1/2/3 for women anyway! But I know that if I race in the category that I’m the most competitive, I’ll have more fun, my skills will increase and I won’t get burned out as quickly being in the bottom all the time.
My legs were feeling a little weak after my Tuesday workout of circuit training with Erin and then intervals on the mountain bike with Kyle, so I made sure to do a proper warm up. Man, warming up properly is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself! The start was crowded since it was both men and women’s fields, and I was near the back anyway. I’m always a little conflicted, do I put myself in the front with all the guys gunning for the front row, or chill out in the back, only to get caught up in the mayhem of the field entering the first corner? The later happened but I was able to work my way through the field in the first lap, and became a mini-peloton with Meghan Archer and a couple of guys. I actually felt pretty smooth and strong throughout the entire race, playing a little cat and mouse with Wilson from AZ, before Meghan jumped on the last lap and put the hammer down. My slow-and-steady muscles just didn’t have that pop to catch back on, so I just hammered away by myself on the last lap. It was a good feeling having to really race, consider who was behind me and how I felt and play the racing game. It’s not usually something I have to do and I’m grateful for any chance I can get to experience racing like that.
End results: 3rd out of 5 women, mostly good barriers aside from a couple tire bangs and cleat scrapes, no shutter step remounting, steady power throughout.
Things to improve: Clipping in after remounts, power, twisty slippery cornering skills, derailleur tuning, gear selection.
P.S. Mad kudos to Jamie for racing her first cross ever on a mountain bike + deciding to come back for more and race the entire series!! Get it girl!