Ramblings, musings and generally boring stuff. Mostly about bikes...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ronde Von Jakob- My First Cyclocross Race

Ok, so my first cx experience for 2010 started a little rocky. I have a new bike (Felt F1X) instead of the bike I borrowed from Stewart M. Good start there. I did a little Thursday night Forest Park practices, preceded by a little get pre-practice skills clinic with Susan K. (That's Kube!). But, despite the best efforts of the new bike and my friend, I could not do a decent dismount. (Susan will fondly remember my fears of the imaginary barriers!)

So, off to the Team Revolution Cyclocross clinic I went. After 4 hours of skill learning and drills... viola! I could dismount and sort of remount. I could jump barriers with or without a bike! I could do a modified run up, sort of carrying my bike and sort of hitting myself in the head with my seat!

I was ready for my first Cross race.... Hermann Cx Sunday.....

Mother Nature intervened. Boo! This was NOT to be my first cx race.

Ok, no big deal... I'd prepare for the Pride Race on 9/25 to be my first race.....

God intervened.... I got a call that my Momma was in the hospital! Boo! Off to Colorado for a week off the bike and caring for my mom.

So.... Ronde Von Jakob.... You ARE my first cross race!

Kelly M aptly prepared us for the course, after she assisted with the set up. She described it as not being a Kelly friendly course. Hmmm...

Suzanne J and I had a plan to travel together. The worlds best... or at least Columbia's best Soigneur, Sam drove us, with only a slight detour!
We arrived, registered and prepared. Chris provided some excellent advice on clothing for this chilly weather (low 50s and windy) and pinned my number on for me!!
Suzanne and I were then off to preview the course.

WOW! Kelly had warned me about "the cliff" and while it wasn't a 40 drop, it was an accurate description in my book. There was only one good line for this little descent.
I ran down it on warm up lap one. Cory and Suzanne were quickly getting ahead of me as I navigated this bumpy, twisty, curvy terrain. What was I getting myself in to?? Warm up lap two. I tried to ride down the cliff, but ended up nearly wiping out and sticking my nose of my saddle firmly into my right buttock cheek. OUCH.

The rest of the course featured some s-curve like sections, some off camber stuff, with off camber S curve climbs and descents.
Some flats and straights, barriers with a quick U turn into a pretty grapevine section, more s curvy stuff (photo guy- Eville Mike there. I swear I almost ran into him more than once!)
Then a long headwind flat section, more turns, climb, tall grass, descend, tall grass, FENCE! climb through orchard, turn and climb a gravel road. The finish section wound around the side of the winery with some more fun off camber stuff and a nice flat wide finish.

There were 10 women on this chilly autumn day when we lined up (Carrie, Allison, Cory, Suzanne, Sally, Soli, Me, Beth, Kelly and Flavia). We were off! Early on, I told Soli that she probably shouldn't stay behind me. She obliged and moved up. I was last.
But I stayed on Beth's wheel. I had to dismount where she rode down the Cliff but I caught back up to her in the straight sections. I was surprised at how much more skilled I got at the s curve stuff as the race wore on.
Soon, I passed Beth. After playing some cat and mouse, I started to pull away from her. I was also gaining ground on Kelly. I managed to pass her with a little cat and mouse too but then started to gain ground on her. With 2 laps to go, I saw Carrie approaching Kelly behind me. She was gonna lap me, it was just a matter of when. I realized that before the start/finish would be great, thus shortening my race from 2 to go to 1 to go! Woo Hoo. I was having fun... but also very tired.

Carrie passed on the gravel section and was headed away by start finish. I confirmed one to go with Mark and Larry (officials) and cherished this last lap. I was enough ahead of Kelly to take it easy on a couple of sections. I continued to dismount and run down the cliff and pick up speed on the flat/straights. My dismount was less than stellar but would suffice and I sort of walked/jumped the barriers one last time. As I turned through the orchard section, I was really starting to run out of steam. I told myself "Don't stop." But then quickly switched to the more positive "Keep going". This helped me through the last two little climbs and I finished my first cross race!

5th place for Women's Cat 4 (I am still a 4 for cross!!!) Not too shabby! (Cory Won the 4s race! Suzanne got 2nd, even after a nasty encounter with the cliff and her hand and the ground!)

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