Cyclocross season is here! This year I decided to take a more relaxed approach since I was so miserable last year. So I bought a single speed 2016 Specialized Crux, and vowed to have fun and not get dejected by strings of last place finishes!
I started off with one of the weeknight races in Golden at Back 2 Basics. I doubled up with both Women’s B and Singlespeed. My body wasn’t quite ready for the shock of cyclocross, and the B race was quite painful. I was the last off the line at the start, which meant dealing with a lot of traffic. I ended up 14th, solid midpack which wasn’t bad for having such a bad start. My singlespeed, which was an open men’s category, went a lot better with significantly faster lap times, and I was 22nd, which I was pleased about!
Onto CycloX Valmont on September 19th – my favorite venue! I love love love racing at Valmont with it’s long sustained climb and fast downhills with table top jumps, and stair run ups that I can run up… just pure love!
First up was my first time in the brand new BRAC category, singlespeed 4/5. USAC rules allow women to race down a category, so I have been quite tickled that I can race a SS category that is a bit more of my ability (no offense cat 1/2/3 men, but you’re too fast for this girl!). I ran 40×18 gearing, which was a complete guess (it worked out nicely!)
I settled into 4th place rather comfortably after some passes. I really enjoyed having shifting taken out of the equation, and enjoyed trying to maintain speed as best as I could through corners and on the downhills. All was going well, even the 5280 Stairs, until the 3rd lap on the Belgian Stairs. Up I went sprinting and then BAM! The top left of my pelvis caught all my weight on the edge of a stair after I tripped at full speed. Immediately spectators asked if I was alright and I nodded yes, but I was in some of the worse pain I had ever felt in my life. I hobbled up the rest of the stairs, nearly doubled over as more people asked if I was really ok. I kept nodding and got on my bike, like any reasonable person would do, ha! Dismounting, remounting, and running were out as it was too painful, but I carried on. I lost one position, and finished out the race in 5th. Not too shabby, considering…
I made my way over to the first aid tent and had the gravel scrubbed out of my knee, and then back to my car where I had a cold pack in a first aid kit which I quickly shoved into my skinsuit on my left hip. It hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, it hurt to breathe… and I had another race to do in just a few hours! I carefully changed out of my kit to give me a break from chamois time, and sat in my car trying to get some relief. Luckily the cold pack along with 800mg of ibuprofen eased the pain slightly, and I got back on my geared bike to get some food from the food truck to fuel up for the afternoon.
I really didn’t know how my women’s cat 3 race would go, and I decidedly aimed for a last place finish as that is what I’ve come to expect. Strangely enough I had a 2nd row call up. I fumbled a pedal at the start, and was 2nd to last after the first sand pit which I had been getting stuck in all day. I wasn’t discouraged, and began picking off other racers one by one, especially on corners and more “mountain bike-y” parts of the course (with moments of frustration as people rode very slowly and on the brakes over the table top jumps). I was feeling strong and powerful, helped along by my friend Suzie, who doused me in water as I came through the pits. I was going back and forth with Michelle and a few other girls, and had a sneaking feeling that I was in the top 10, but really had no idea. I came through the pits one time and someone whispered to me “you’re 8th.” Whoa, what? Turns out I was riding in 5th-8th positions the whole race in the field of 21!
The last lap my side was cramping and my injured hip bone was smarting, but I powered on. Coming down the finishing stretch I sprinted like crazy and missed 7th place by two-hundredths of a second! What a great race! I was in complete shock about where I finished in the field, though I must admit I was slightly worried that now that I would have higher expectations for all the races (easier to not care when you’re always last!). My nasty wreck in the morning made the afternoon’s results that much sweeter 🙂
A great, though painful, start to my cyclocross season! Though it’s been almost two weeks my pelvis is still very tender on the spot where I crashed onto it, but I think I’ll be alright 🙂 Racing SS and SW3 did make for a long day, so I’m not always sure I’ll double up, but at least I have that option.