Monday, September 10, 2007

Bruised, Sore and Loving Every Minute of It!

Photo by Paul Weiss

Yup - that's what 'cross will do to you - distort your perception ;-). Yesterday was our first 'cross race of the season in Milford, NH. This was a new venue from last year, and after literally 40 days and nights with no rain in New England, we arrived to a rain-soaked course and a downpour - excellent conditions for a race!

This year's course had a LOT of pavement. Mike and I arrived just after the B Women were finishing, and we heard a lot about the slippery transitions and the wet pavement. Most of the women in the race had gone down at some point - either on warmup, or during the race. The good news was that they were all still smiling ;-). NEBC's Suzanne finished 2nd in her first 'cross race ever, and Michele H (who is racing for ECV but raced road with us all season) finished 3rd, both wielding trophies for their efforts.

Mike's race started at 11:00 - A Masters, 35+/45+. At that point, the rain was down to a slight drizzle, but the course was pretty wet. I walked the course while he was racing, and thought it looked pretty fun - pavement start to an uphill gravel climb into the "spaghetti bowl" (a series of back and forth turns that included two sets of barriers), then into the woods, some pavement transition and into the sand pit (which also included a barrier), back onto some tight, twisty pavement around the tennis courts, onto a dirt path, with a final pavement transition leading back to the start/finish (and a hairpin turn). I got a few good pics of the NEBC men (Mike, Wayne and Jim) while they were racing. Mike did well, finishing 9th!

Wayne, Jim and Mike lined up to start; Wayne headed uphill

NEBC together through the barriers

Mike headed uphill; Mike and Wayne in a Tide moment ;-)

For me, this was to be my first 'cross race as a Cat 3, so I lined up in the Women's Open field at 2:00 pm. To say I was intimidated would be an understatement - I would be racing against Rebecca Wellons, Anna Milkowski, Sally Annis, Zoe Owers and others who are much faster than myself. However, my strategy for this season is to race against these women in the non-UCI races to learn, and hopefully, become a better 'cross racer. I was going to use this race as a barometer - to see where I was with my fitness and skills as the season started.

I didn't get a great start in the race, but thankfully avoided the very first crash as we headed up the pavement. I was able to make up some time in the "spaghetti bowl", and then actually managed to pass someone in the sand run as well. In the second lap, I passed a rider who hit a stump right after one of the pavement/sand transitions, and she stayed right behind me for the remainder of the race. It was good incentive - Libby was in front of me, and this woman behind, so there was no chance to rest.

On the final lap, I caught Libby, and urged her to push just a little bit harder. I ended up passing her, but apparently, that's all it took - when she had recovered slightly, she passed me back, and picked up the pace to beat me across the line! I was really happy with my race - I only got lapped by Anna and Rebecca ;-) and finished somewhat respectably (results aren't posted just yet, and we didn't hang around afterwards). Here are some pics of the other NEBC women in the race.

Janet ripping through the woods; Libby in the "spaghetti bowl"

Julie headed for the woods; Sally on her way to 3rd place

Sadly, Hannah K took one of the pavement corners a little too fast on the final lap, crashed, and hit her face. I do hope that she heals quickly, and Hannah - tell anyone who asks that they should see the other guy ;-).

Oh - on the way home, we saw something you don't get a glimpse of everyday. On the Northbound side of Rte 3 in Tyngsboro, a plane made an emergency landing because it had run out of gas! By the time we went past, they were loading the plane onto a truck to be hauled to the airport in Nashua. The good news - no injuries or car accidents resulted, and the pilot managed to fuel up, and continue his flight home!

1 comment:

claudia said...

Glad you had fun and rode well!