Whoa, I think I finally enjoying cyclocross a bit more?! After dialing back racing a ton this season for my sanity and health, I came to the realization that there is no need to go and race every weekend. So I’ve been picking and choosing my races carefully. Since that means a wide open schedule, I decided to travel the 2.5 hours north to Casper to race at the Wyoming State Cyclocross Championships put on by Fat Fish Racing.
The weather was mild, yet windy (it’s oh so windy in Casper). The course was at Washington Park, and was quite difficult with a lot of steep off camber grass climbs and descents, some single track, barriers, dizzying spiral, and a steep dirt descent that was long and upwards of -35% grade at times that tested handling skills on skinny tires and the ability of canti rim brakes to slow a bike.
I must admit, I sometimes struggle at cross races without my constant tape and 9′ regulation width, but I soon figured out how to navigate the flags and cones that marked the course. The open/expert men and women lined up together for what would be an hour long race. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but when I’m use to 40 minutes of cross racing that extra 20 minutes is HARD! I tried for a good starting position, but the narrow-at-times course had people fighting for position. Luckily traffic thinned out and I set to keeping and building my lead over the other two female competitors. I didn’t feel well during the race, my legs seemed a bit dead and lacking in power – turns out my seat slide down 7cm! Not sure that’s the entire reason, but had to play a little part! On the bright side, I magically taught myself how to remount without stutter stepping, and remounted perfectly all 9 laps, so the barriers went super well. After a little over 58 minutes I cross the line as the women’s state champ! Woohoo!
The next day was a race north of Fort Collins, TCCX. TCCX = Tom Carter Cyclocross, a fundraiser for a local cyclist that had an unfortunate BMX accident and spent time in the ICU. There is nothing like a grassroots race in Fort Collins, as they know how to party and put together a good event! Mud was involved, much to my delight as it has been a mud free cross season for me thus far. 4 of us lined up for the open women’s race, including my friend Suzie and local 12 year old whiz kid Olivia. Since this was not USAC or anything stern and boring, there was a “Bourbon Bypass” that allowed one to skip a longer stair run up if you took a shot of whiskey at the bypass. Needless to say, that was definitely an advantage to a certain point!
The race was shenanigans filled! I took the Bourbon Bypass all 9 laps, so that goes without saying some bike handling might’ve gone out the window! But it was a ton of fun nonetheless with a great crowded heckling me on, and I was still remounting my bike properly! I ended up in 3rd place. I was in 2nd solidly for 6 laps, then decided to dial it back, take beer handups and just survive the 40 minute race 🙂
Two fun races all in one weekend! Wow, I figured out how to make this cyclocross thing enjoyable! 🙂