Monday, November 21, 2011

2 strikes and then a hit! (my 3-race cross season)

Had baby Ezra at the end of August.  My first time on my bike (spin bike doesn't count) was 5 minutes before my race at the Paradise Cross Frenzy.  Strike #1: Entering the womens open race and placing DFL.  Very humbling but a good reminder that you actually need to ride your bike before racing.  This year's Paradise course was their best yet... its still a roady course but more fun than past years with the swooping turns in the banked "halfpipe", the death spiral, and finally a real run-up (for me at least)

After the race I said "there is NO WAY I'm doing Putney tomorrow"... but a little nagging voice said the only way I was going to get back into the game was to keep racing... so I  went to Putney as a "training race".  After my performance at Paradise I was more than happy to enter the novice race (that was my only option anyway since there was no open or 3/4 race, and I didn't renew my USAC license this year).   Putney is one of my more favorite courses (love the killer run up, bike jumps and sketchy downhill... although hate the cornfield). 

Strike #2: Flatting halfway through the first lap and not having any wheels in the pit  This is my first race ever having a mechanical (thanks to Eric for keeping my ride tuned) so I had become pretty complacent about having wheels in the pit.  (Where was the neutral support this year?  I definitely missed seeing Mark Wysocki and his dog)  After running over to the car and frantically trying to find a wheel (Eric was dealing with crying baby Ezra) Jesse volunteered his spare wheel.  In fear of being lapped by the lead riders I jumped on my bike and took off.  A few minutes later (still on my first lap!) I realized that my replacement rear wheel wasn't pumped up and was bottoming out...  Another stop would put me so far behind I just couldn't muster the enthusiasm to keep going... even as a training ride.

Waffling about racing more I finally succumbed to Alix 's unwavering enthusiasm and went to Velo cross.  After my last 2 performances my goal for the day was to just not strike out.  I had an ok start and knew there were a handful of people behind me.  Over the laps I picked off a bunch more riders so I was feeling pretty good and having fun.  The Velo cx is my new favorite course.  Its like a course with an identity crisis... is it a velodrome race?  or a BMX "pump track" race?  or a mountain bike course? or a good 'ole cx race?  There was no boredom.  This course had it ALL.  All women (novice, master and elite) were lumped into the same race... so I had no clue where I was among the 4's.  When I saw the results I was really disappointed... 3rd from last.  Did I mention disappointed?  But it didn't make sense... it couldn't have been all masters that I passed.  I guess results were a mess because some of the elite riders lapped the novices not just once but 2 or 3 times. After several people protested the officials got everything sorted out.  I had placed 3rd! After getting over feeling a little guilty about podiuming in the novice race just because I didn't want to buy a license for a 3-race season... I'm over it and... Its a hit! No striking out this year.

So my conclusions:.
-- Get on your bike at least once before entering a race
-- Remember your pit wheels
-- Anyone who skipped racing the Velo Cross missed out... BEST. COURSE. EVER.

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