Yes, fellow crossers, there is a Santa Claus, and he brought the 2010 'cross season! I am literally like a 5 year old on Christmas morning - ecstatic over the possibility of what is to come this season.
Last Sunday was the "official" start of my 'cross season at Quad Cross (I did do one race in August, but hey - it was AUGUST and 90 degrees - not really 'cross ). The best part was that the race was in my hometown - no 2 hour, 1.5 hour or 3 hour drive to get to the race venue. Instead, I rode over from the house to get my warmup in for a 9:00 am start, while Mike brought the car loaded with pit bikes, tent, clothes, food, water... Packing for 'cross is a SCIENCE!
I did a few warmup laps on the course and L-O-V-E-D it. It wasn't technical except for all of the corners - the one thing I am really good at! There were also long power sections, another strong suit for me.
Imagine lining up with 46 Cat 3/4 women, and 6 45+ women at the first "real" race of the season. There were many who were out for their first 'cross racing experience - or their first ever bike racing experience! So exciting to see the enthusiasm, and feel all of that energy.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a great start and ended up in a bottleneck in the first corner, putting me immediately at a deficit. From there, I got caught behind a crash, further opening a gap to the leaders that proved to be insurmountable the remainder of the race. I did, however, have a race on my hands with those around me, and quickly became frustrated at the lack of cornering skills of some of the other racers. I may even have become a bit more vocal than I maybe should have, as a result of that frustration .
One of my Cross Results nemesis' was ahead at one point, and literally put her foot down (not out, DOWN) in every corner. She braked going into a small sandy section, and got completely bogged down in her gearing. At one point I said to her, "For God's sake, SHIFT!". Finally able to get past her, I managed to open a gap in the remainder of the race, by getting into the corners first, and powering back out of them.
I finished in the top 10, but wasn't completely satisfied - a better start and some smarter handling behind some other racers would have certainly helped.
Of course, if one race is good, two must be better, right? Later in the afternoon, I lined back up for the 1/2/3 race - 40 more minutes of top notch fun . I think I might have a slight issue...the fast girls were in the house, so I knew I was going to have to lay it all out. I was worried before the start that having already raced, I was really going to embarass myself. On the whistle, I dug deep and had a great start, only to come to a screeching halt in the first corner - DOH! Apparently bad cornering skills aren't limited to the 3/4 field . I was off on the chase but felt surprisingly good!
Suddenly, as we entered the first technical S-turn, I found my legs spinning and the bike not moving - my chain had jumped off the front ring, but NOT over the chain guide. I had to come to a complete stop to get it back onto the chainring, remounted and found it still wasn't engaged. Another try and I was back iin the race - DFL. EVERYONE had passed me. SIGH.
I put my head down and motored. I made solid progress throughout the race, and was one of the LAST people not to get lapped by the leaders. I was happy about that, but slightly disappointed about the mechanical. I would love to know how that might have worked out since I really felt better and better as the race progressed...
So, now it's on! Races both days, every weekend, between now and the middle of December! The Verge Series starts here in Williston, VT tomorrow, and a pre-ride shows that I really should have made sure to pack my climbing legs.
Regardless, I'm so excited! Thank you Santa, for bringing the 'cross season back.