I’ve spent all year lamenting how horrible my race season has gone. Then today after I won the women’s single speed race at the CycloX race at the infamous Harlow Platts venue, I realized that, holy crap, this has been a good year, all things considered! 2nd at Fat Bike Nationals. 5th place in my first NUE Marathon Series race. 3 wins and the overall title at the Laramie Mountain Bike Series. National championship title at Hill Climb Nationals. And what I feel is my first legit win in cyclocross. Yeah, I burnt out. I stopped training. I got my ego kicked in Florida. I got taken out in a road race and had a resulting pretty bad concussion and freshly discovered split bicep tendon. But holy crap, it’s really been a good year!
BRAC decided to add in the SSW (single speed women) category to cyclocross this year. At first I was hesitant about it, as I already get my ass kicked by cat 1 & 2 gals in cross, and didn’t exactly want to jump into another category for that, as most of the gals expressing interest are also SW Open racers. I grew fond of racing the guys in SS4/5 last year as well, as it can be quite the funky bunch. In August I did Adventure Cross, which is stupidly early to start cross racing, and I was the only one in SSW. Win and dead last, all at the same time! Hmm. Since Without Limits/CycloX Series is running SSW and SS4/5 at the same time, I knew I’d have to decide on which one to race, and since SS4/5 is damn fast this year, I decided I’d settle into SSW for CycloX and try to double up SSW and SS4/5 for racers by other promoters.
Four of us would line up at Harlow Platts, which I found to be a damn hard course during my pre-ride. Fun, but damn hard, especially for my seemingly stout 40×18 single speed gearing. Grass courses aren’t really my favorite, but I did like how Harlow was very smooth (which is great for my shoulder). There was about 5 or so separate sections of sand which I couldn’t quite clear entirely with my gearing. Ugh, running in sand 😦 My favorite part is that the corners were grippy and I could pedal through them, which is important when you only got one gear.
Lining up I knew Megan and Kim would provide some stiff competition and I was nervous. Whistle went off and I ended up taking the holeshot up a steep climb that would be a leg killing grind every lap. Kim would get around me in the first sand section as she’s much more proficient at running with a bike. I’d come through the first lap 3 seconds behind her. I don’t remember when, but I would overtake her on the 2nd lap, and I just put the hammer down. It hurt and I was drooling mucus all over everything (one guy actually told me “that’s gross” when I spit some out… lol!), but I forced myself up and out of the saddle, especially on the power climbs. Only section I really struggled with were the uphill barriers which I just found impossible to run (I have long legs anyway so sometimes speed walking is actually faster for me).
After 5 grueling laps it was finally all over! I finished 47 seconds ahead, woohoo! Woo, that was hard! But I was so excited!