Race Report: CycloX Interlocken & Cheyenne CX Race #3

CycloX Interlocken with its swanky office buildings and manicured, evil grass (Photo by Shawn Curry)
CycloX Interlocken with its swanky office buildings and manicured, evil grass (Photo by Shawn Curry)

CycloX Interlocken on October 25th (running a bit behind on blog posts!) was another hot one in a fall where summer doesn’t want to see to end.  The venue is nearly all perfectly manicured grass, which I hate.  For some reason I just can’t produce any power to ride on grass.  Which is why I would hate cyclocross on the east coast or anywhere else where grass is the main course type!  However, aside front the grass, the course is actually really fun, with a lot of tight switchbacks and ups and downs long the hillside, and through a drainage area that on this day was filled with very deep mud that was claiming riders, bikes, and shoes.  Yippee, mud!

My start was ok, but I knew it wouldn’t be a good race for me.  First time through the mud I made it nearly all the way through, an then randomly bailed off for no reason.  I would go on to clear it perfectly the next three times, which I guess was a rarity, so I was happy I rode it nearly all 4 times!  There was also a large sand pit with a 180 degree turn halfway through that I rode cleanly two times.

Funny how I always smile when there's mud involved!  (Photo by Shawn Curry)
Funny how I always smile when there’s mud involved! (Photo by Shawn Curry)

I quickly began my backwards descent through the cat 4 women… and ended up mixing it up with the girls in the 20th’s positions in cat 4.  Renee and I stuck together for a little while which was good motivation and some fun for me.   I honestly didn’t really care where I ended up, I just wanted to finish the full race and have good skills on cornering and clearing the mud.

Races in the fall are always so pretty with the leaves! Just didn’t like the 80 degree weather… (Photo by William Stoup)

I think I ended up 17th out of 20 due to some DNFs/mechanicals.  Nice venue, if they tore up all the grass!

Next day on October 26th was the final installment of the Cheyenne Cyclocross series put on by Rock On Wheels.  I decided to race in intermediate for the reason it seemed like it’d be more of a race than advanced.  Advanced gets so spread out that you’re practically just time trialing it all by yourself, and I’ve had a little too much of that this year to be excited.  So intermediate it was!  Clear Creek Park continues to be an amazing venue for cyclocross, better than some I pay the big bucks to race on, and they came up with a great course design once again involving grass, single track, single track through tunnels of trees, a big deep that a lot of the inexperience riders ran, fast bumpy riding through tall grass, and two sets of barriers.

Keeping the boys at bay!  (Photo courtesy of Rock on Wheels)
Keeping the boys at bay! (Photo courtesy of Rock on Wheels)

Right at the start a rider in the field of 10 went down, and another ran over him.  Myself and the eventual winner (who also went on to win advanced!) separated ourselves down the double track to the big dip and first tree tunnel.  I held 2nd for a little ways before two other guys caught me.  I stuck with 3rd place quite well, as well as holding off the 5th place riders.  Damn, I was racing!

I was shocked that I was actually sprinting through the barriers and remounting pretty darn well!  On the final lap in the first tree tunnel I caught 3rd place and solidly passed him.  I figured him and 5th place would catch me on the long false uphill flat on the backside, but I kept ahead of them, and hammered the gravel descent to the second tree tunnel and barrier section.  I swear I haven’t raced that hard all year!  I crossed the finish line in 3rd place!  Woohoo!!

I think this was a good example of racing “up” not being the best thing to do.  Most likely in advanced I would’ve just faded off the back in some half-hearted time trial, whereas in intermediate I was going 100% the full race and pushing myself to keep going faster.  And considering cat 3 is considered “B”‘s for women, I was still really in the correct category 😛  Ha!  I’m sad the Cheyenne cross series is over for the year, as I really like the course.  Luckily it’s not that far of a bike ride that I can get over there to practice and what not whenever I like.

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