Let’s see where I left off…
After the Dead Swede’s award ceremony I began the four hour drive home to Cheyenne. Ideally I would’ve spent the night, but I had a cross race the next day that I was determined not to miss. I got home, swapped out some things in my gear bag, and drove the two hours to CycloX Parker the next morning. I didn’t have high hopes as my legs were trashed both from racing the Dead Swede and all the long hours in the car. I started slow, letting my legs come around, and finally made the pass to put me into the lead. Victory #2!
Next up was CycloX Interlocken, which is one of my favorite venues. It is HARD, probably one of the hardest courses out there we have for singlespeed. I’ve had a few close calls to winning, but I’ve never managed to pull it off. Aside from one bobble trying to ride something on the first lap, I rode smoothly to my third win of the season. The beat went on…
My friend Julie and I signed up for Schoolyard Cross, and I figured I’d try my hand in the open field since I received my cat 2 upgrade!! (Yes, who knew I was earning upgrade points this whole time?!) I got my geared bike ready, and wouldn’t you know, Cheyenne received a record snowfall of 14 inches. At 5am Julie and I made the call that our lives were not worth risking during the drive down to Castle Rock, and I went back to bed. Turns out conditoins were cold and miserable at the race, and it was way too sketchy of a storm to be driving in anyway. Shoot. I mostly sad for Julie, as it would’ve been her first cyclcoross race and I haven’t been able to share the love of cross with too many newbies before so I was super excited for her.
Halloween marked the next race, and a new venue at CycloX Broomfield. By now the COVID situation was heating up a bit more and I had a gut feeling it might be the last race. This race was practically a women’s UCI event, and the open field filled so Sunny Gilbert jumped into singlespeed. Everyone made a point of telling me “you won’t win this one” which I couldn’t tell how to take. Eitehr way, I did NOT start smart, chasing Sunny and plastering myself to her rear wheel for about half a lap until my body (mostly lungs) reminded me I’m not an elite pro in cross. I’d end up third on the day, not shabby considering the strong field. Even better, Katie Compton never lapped me. And that, is a victory!
Lance and the Without Limits team came through with one last race before Colorado shut down again, securing the venue in Parker in mid-November for CycloX Parker 2.0. Another strong field lined up again, and so did a snow squall minutes before our race start. Crazy strong winds (you know it’s windy when the Wyoming person says it’s windy) and snow pelted us as we took off. Tracy and I swapped positions a few times before she bobbled on a corner and I made my pass stick. Tracy is crazy strong, and being chased by her is HARD. I took to riding the technical course smoothly and not freaking out too much that the moistened baby-powder-dirt was clogging my pedals (everyone was having this problem). Final race of 2020, and another win!
I suppose I really can’t complain of a race season that consisted of:
- 1 win, 1 2nd in mountain bike
- 2 wins in 2 gravel races
- 4 wins, 1 3rd in cross and the CycloX Series win overall in singlespeed
My cross season felt like a dream. I was really worried going into the season that I didn’t properly prepare as I was trying to have long endurance type of fitness for the two overlapping gravel events. I really didn’t do much high intensity intervals and I never did any running work this year. But I think what I did paid off. I can do 30 second, 1 minute intervals all day long, but my endurance always lacked. My gravel racing prep gave me crazy consistency over the course of my cross races – some races my lap times only varied by a handful of seconds!! Considering years ago when my later laps would be minutes slower than my first, this is a huge step in the right direction! I also hiked a lot this summer, including one week at the end of August where I put in about 50 miles of walking and hiking. I noticed the improvement with my hill run ups and barrier work, my body didn’t have that same “OMG WHAT ARE WE DOING OFF THE BIKE?!” panic. So… the lack of cross specific structured training didn’t hurt me. And of course, every year I see the improvement in my handling and technical abilities even though I’ve always felt to be a good technical rider (I saw this on the mountain bike, too).
2020 was good to me on the bicycle. Sure, racing was reduced, but I managed to keep focused. I went from thinking 60 miles rides were scary to doing several 65+ mile rides on gravel every month. I rebuilt all my fitness, and then kept going. I surpassed my annual mileage record and still have a little less than a month to go. I learned that I can do things that I thought weren’t in my wheelhouse, like longer gravel events. I finally realized doing something other than the bike can help big time, like hiking.
So 2021… well, it’s the race season that’s more up in the air than 2020 was. It’s hard to register for events knowing that the situation is still ever changing. I did begin my training plan, using FasCat (who I’ve used in the past for cross), and tested (crappily) to my highest “beginning the training season” FTP ever. CO2UT, a gravel race in Fruita, was moved from the fall to April, and I’m entered in the 100 mile race. Pretty scary stuff – as it’s the inaugural race so there’s no previous finish times to look at to help with planning… is it a 6 hour 100, or a 12 hour 100? Eeek! I also registered for the 100 mile course for Robidoux Quick & Dirty in June. Tentatively planned are – if they happen – CSU road race, Louisville Crit, Boulder Roubaix, 307 Gravel Series (aside from the one that is the day before Robidoux, ugh), Laramie MTB Series, Laramie Range Epic, Dead Swede, maybe USAC MTB Nationals, and of course a full cross season. We shall see…