NCCX #3: Winston Salem Cyclocross Race Report

Yikes, I kept meaning to tell all my stories about Raleigh, and then something would get in the way, and then I was out of town, and so on and so forth. So here I am at last!

North Carolina Cyclocross Race #3 was in  Winston Salem, hosted by Mock Orange Bikes and held at the Children’s Home. It’s been a couple years since I raced in WS, so the venue was new to me. This was my first NCCX race of the season! I missed the previous weekend’s season kick-off due to work. Sad face for Laura, so I was ready to race!

My friend Josh rode down with me. It’s always nice to have company on the longer rides. We arrived with just under two hours to my race start at 11:30am. The weather was gorgeous! Sun shining, slight breeze, still a little nip in the air. I received my series race number: 321! I love it when my numbers are consecutive in some way or have a pattern. Last year I was 345. This thing of starting the season a couple races in works out in that regard.

I’ve been feeling good on the bike. This is largely in part to having a real training plan from Hugh Moran, as well as the motivation to make the best out of my season. Of course, there are bad training days and I wish I had more training time, but having an intentional plan of riding and racing is what I need. I got a quick pre-ride in on the course. It was a great mix of grass and dirt, with a paved start and finish area. It also had a little of everything: wide corners, descents, punchy climbs, and a lot of off camber stuff. The mountain biker in me loves the off camber, so I was feeling good about the course.

I had a great warm-up, and got to the start with plenty of time. This year NCCX has split the Pro1/2/3 field by creating a Master’s 2/3 35+ category that races at the same time. This reduces the Pro1/2/3 field, and makes it a lot faster! I didn’t make the mistake of my previous race, sitting solid on the second row since I didn’t have a call-up (call-ups are based on series points to date and I had zero.). The start was also paved and on a slight decline into the finish area before climbing up and into the grassy section. I had a great start and was in 8th or 9th going into the first turn. I lost a couple of places but settled in on the wheel in front of me. From then on it was pretty intense! I worked really hard to hang on to Genisis’s wheel, and managed to pass her at a couple points, but she always caught back on and would pass me again. This went on for the first few laps. However, my little bit of advantage came from the massive “run-up” that I was able to ride every time. I finally was able to start building a gap, but even then I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to maintain it on the grassy flat sections. We know how much I love grassy flat sections, which ends up to be not very much at all. But these areas all had some sort of descent going into them, allowing me to really build up my speed and keep a good pace through them. The corners were also wide, which helped me out tremendously. The end result was 9th out of 13. I will take that, thank you! It was hard, but I raced smart, I raced hard, and most importantly, I had a race I am proud of!

This weekend will find me in Durham repping Beer City Bicycles for the next NCCX race, followed by some time in Raleigh for work. Did someone say rest week?

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