Thursday, September 27, 2012


In between racing Green Mountain and the races this past weekend in NH, life at the Rowell house was incredibly busy. Both Mike and I were slammed at work during the days, and then in the evenings, we had workouts to accomplish in addition to needing to build new SSCX bikes, glue up two pairs of new carbon tubular disc wheels, and build my new Cannondale SuperX Disc bike. Add the regular daily chores, and by the end of the week, I was pretty well beat BEFORE we started racing!

Thanks to Chris at The Bikeway Source
for the new sneakers!
Huge thanks to Big Al at Bikeman
for the spiffy new rims

Saturday was a return to White Park in Concord, NH. We raced the inaugural edition of this event last year, and really loved the course - technical, sort of MTB-like, but mostly a LOT of fun. Our CX pal Nick C. was the promoter, so we were pretty psyched to get out and support the second year of the race - and even more so as it was the third event in the Zanc SSCX series on which we are both focused this season. I was also pretty excited to run the new SSCX bike through its paces and see how it performed.

Photo: Tipsy McStagger
Pre-riding the course, I loved it - well, except for that first hill climb. For whatever reason, I couldn't get the legs to turn over enough to make it up the hill (I run a 37x17 - and I don't change it out based on the course). This was going to be my trouble spot throughout the race.

We showed up for staging, and Nick talked to us about starting the women all together in the back of the men. Um, no thank you. Kerry and I pushed him to stage us mixed IN with the men - so much better! I did feel bad for Katina though - it was only after Nick agreed to the change that she let us know she preferred the initial option - it didn't seem to hinder her however, as she rode on for the win :). With so few women racing in the SSCX category, staging with the men gives us someone to race with. 

Speaking of which, WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN?!?!?!? Really, I am more than happy to be on the podium every week, but this would be more fun with a bigger women's field. SSCX is really a different kind of racing, but it's still really fun, and really competitive. Come out and give it a try - and if you are interested, my beloved root beer colored Kona SS is for sale :)

2009 Kona Major One SS - you know you wanna :)
Sure enough, on the first lap, the first hill was what got me. While others rode up, I was left to dismount, run across the bumpy, off-camber top, and remount just before descending to the hairpin around the big tree. Sigh. Of course, I still gave it my all - keeping other racers in sight the entire time, and working to just keep moving forward. When I went through the start/finish and saw 5 laps to go, I literally thought I was going to cry! Thankfully, a couple of laps later, Mike passed me on his way to a definitive win, leaving me with one less lap to have to race - I have never been so glad to be lapped!

After the race, we zipped home for a couple of quick chores, and then out for dinner at our favorite local joint where I ate too much food, drank a couple of beers and followed everything up with ice cream! Before heading to bed, I definitely felt the effects, and had a full blown tummy ache.

Sunday was the day of one of my favorite races, run by one of my favorite promoters. Suckerbrook was my first ever CX race, and over the years, I have done it every year (save one). Jack does an awesome job with the race, and this year decided to include a SSCX event. While Mike decided that doubling up was a good idea for him, I wisely learned from that mistake last year, and decided on just one race.

A significant part of my love of racing cross is the community. People are friendly, supportive and encouraging. Before I could even make it past the end of the van on Sunday, I had already chatted with several friends - it was a good 30 minutes after we arrived before I could finally head to my intended immediate destination - the ladies room!

I love the Suckerbrook course. Some complain that it's just a grass crit, but there are enough tight corners, off camber turns and other features that you really have to keep your head in the game. Pre-riding showed that the bike was working great (although having switched to the carbon tubulars the previous night, the brakes were squealing like nuts!), and I actually felt pretty good. After seeing what was what, it was time for some more socializing, prepping Mike for his Elite race, and then cheering him on and taking photos.

Yeah - that last part? Probably not the best warm up routine, but it was fun. Mike had a GREAT race in the first event, and I made sure that he still had a front row starting spot and the single speed race waited for him (and other Elites who were doubling up) before starting. Once again, the women were staged with the men, and I had both a decent position in the grid, and a reasonably decent start. I need to get better at carving the corners without brakes though, because too soon, I found myself near the back of the race...

There was a prime in our race for the first person who could cleanly ride the sand. Since I was already a bit off the back, I decided to attempt this on my first lap, making it through the turn before bogging down and having to run. More beach practice for me :). Then I saw Kerry running with her bike. After determining that she was OK, I put my head down to try to build up as much of an advantage as possible. I ran scared, and could see that she was making progress to catch back up. With one lap to go, I still had a slight advantage, but knew that the writing was on the wall. I still went AS HARD AS POSSIBLE to try to stay ahead, but she finally passed me as we ran over the barriers. I held on, and it was only when we got to the sand that she got enough distance on me that I couldn't manage to close the gap in the final sprint. It was a hard fought battle though, and the final two laps of our race were the fastest for me...

Mike repeated a win, making it a two-for-two weekend. I am consistent - ending once again in 3rd place :). Again I ask, why aren't there more women coming out to race SSCX??? It really is a fun scene - hard racing, but really fun people (assuming not everyone is gone from the venue by the time you are ready for a beer :)).

This coming weekend is the New England World Championships (aka, Gloucester). I'm looking forward to some tough racing and maybe, a reappearance of the lederhosen :).

1 comment:

mkr said...

You actually run a 38x17 :)