Wednesday, September 19, 2007


What a scene! It was literally a "Who's Who" of the 'cross racing scene all day, from the Beginner Men and Women as they went off at 9:00 a.m., all the way through the Elite races later in the afternoon. Most people think that I go and race 'cross because I love it (well, there is that) when in reality, I go for the chance to hang out with some totally awesome people, at great venues, and get caught up ;-).

Mike and I arrived in time to see some of the beginner races. It felt odd to me to be standing and cheering for the 3/4 women - I know almost all of them by name, and raced with them all last season. They looked great, and some were out for their first 'cross races ever, or their first of the season. I cheered madly for them all, and there were so many of them! It was fantastic to see a field of close to 30 women out racing and having such a good time. I heard that the clinic that Rebecca offered was both well attended and a big hit!

Waiting for Mike's race to start, I got a chance to socialize some more, and to walk most of the course. A huge kudos has to be given to the organizers of this race - flawless registration, real course crossings, a new bridge and a new stair run-up made this an awesome venue! I wonder, though, who got to go out in the woods and paint all the rocks (and how they missed the ones I hit!)? ;-)

Mike had a great race in the A Masters category (starting at 11:00), finishing 17th overall. I could tell that his knee was bothering him early in the race, but everything seemed to settle in as he moved past riders counting down the laps. I was able to cheer him on from most of the course and to see his finish before it was time for me to go and get changed, and start getting ready for my own race.

This was my second 'cross race with the Elite women, and there was some great talent lined up at the start. I was pretty intimidated standing between Marci Titus-Hall and Perri Mertens and behind my teammate Cris, but decided to just go out and see what happened. One thing I am good at is managing my own expectations now that I have moved up to race at the higher levels, so to me, finishing anywhere above last is an accomplishment (and even that can be a good thing, as I found out at York)!

I didn't get a great start, but didn't hit the first gravel turn last, so was pretty psyched about that. I got caught in a bit of a cluster when Anna M slid on an early flat on an off camber turn, but it worked to my advantage, as I managed to pass a couple of women as a result (note that Anna went from last as she got to the pit to change her flat, to passing me later in the race and finishing 5th!).

About half way through the race, I passed Alie K, who is a teammate during road season, but races for Richard Sachs during 'cross. She and I ended up leap-frogging each other for most of the remainder of the race, with her putting time on me on the mounts/dismounts, and me putting time on her going through the woods and the sand.

With about two laps to go, I caught and passed Alex Jospe (IBC). I REALLY, REALLY wanted to beat Alex in this race - I raced against her all last season when she was still racing 'cross on her MTB, and could never make it happen. After I passed her, she sat on my wheel, and managed to pass me riding through the sand pit. I caught her again on the grass and got by, but she sucked wheel hard enough to later get past me in the final lap, after missing a turn! Maybe next time ;-)

As we came out of the sand for the final time with Alex in front and Alie still on my wheel, I knew I was going to have a fight to the finish on the pavement. As I turned the final corner, I gave everything I had to sprint to the line, throwing my bike forward and literally beating Alie by an inch (or less!). I was elated - I put in a strong race, didn't have any mishaps, and finished much better than I was anticipating, 13th out of 19.

Part of my success and inspiration came from my "fan club". The whole race, no matter where I was on the course, I could hear friends cheering and offering advice - GO! Grab her wheel! She's right behind you! You're doing awesome! A HUGE thanks to everyone who cheered, and especially to Carrie, Rich and Mike who were all excited and providing great encouragement every lap of the race!

Well, after the weekend of racing I had, I'm beginning to feel like I might actually belong racing in this field ;-). Can't wait for next weekend!

Men's B Masters Race

Todd (or is it Tim ;-)); Michael and Eric between the sand pits

Dave headed for the pavement; Anthony and Rich over the barriers

Men's A Masters Race
Jim, Wayne and Mike together; Mike, climbing the stairs

Women's Elite Race

Cris looking strong early; Uh-oh! That's Amy flying OVER Cris in the sand

Congrats to Sam on her first 'cross race ever!

Cris - on her way to 2nd despite the endo; All of us happy with our finish!


claudia said...

Nice job!

You guys need a big ass camera with a telephoto lens. Just sayin'.

Alex said...

"I REALLY REALLY wanted to beat Alex"... Thanks Cathy :)

You had so many people out there cheering that I had to pretend that my name was Cathy and they were cheering me on. You're so tough! I'm really, really surprised that I ended up beating you; it was all that sandpit. Where are you racing next weekend? I'll be at eco-cross: hills, rocks, and runups baby!