So It Begins: Cross Crusade 2010
Let's get one thing out in the open: I don't train. Not because I don't think it's a good idea--I'm just busy with other things, and as long as I can look like I trained, that's really just as good right?
However, this year, I did train a LOT for Cycle Oregon and I'm fresh off my fastest century ever in last weekend's Gran Fondo event in Hood River. So I figured I might possibly be a little faster than last year. After a couple of days of 20-60 miles of climbing, 45 minutes of racing seems like a walk in the park!
I have a few main rules for cross racing:
- Show up
- Have fun
- Don't get hurt
I'm happy to say that I met all of those goals this past Sunday at the opener to the Cross Crusade series.
It took forever to get ready as usual but at least I didn't have to wait in the gigantic line for the porta potties. That's because last year we won the team competition, and our prize is a porta potty of our very own, right near our tent. Thank goodness someone stuck a padlock on it because there were plenty of interlopers trying to get in. I think next week we'll have some decorations so that at least people understand why we're guarding it so closely. It was hard won, and no, we're not sharing. You'll have to beat us and take it! :)
My race prep consisted of a 10 minute warm up on the road and three practice runs getting of and on my bike. Then I showed up to the start line, feeling remarkably calm in the middle of the 300+ women waiting to start.
When my group of Master B's 35+ (I was almost carded at registration which was nice), was sent off we surged around the corner. I took it easy, making sure I had plenty of room. Lap 1 is actually my pre-ride and I tend to get better as the race goes on, so I don't kill myself for starting position.
The first thing I noticed was that a fake old west town had sprung up since my last visit to Alpenrose. That was kind of cool. No time to gawk though as then we were through it and into the bumpiest part of the course. Through some really loose dirt down a big hill--the outside line was clearly more treacherous and I made a note to avoid it next time. Rattle down the hill wishing for my MTB suspension and hoping my chain wouldn't come off--that prayer wasn't answered for a lot of people as I saw lots of women by the side of the course, fixing their chains.
Over all the course was fun. I didn't like the bone-shaker as I came to think of it, but the run-up wasn't too bad and the immediate 180 to go back down was a fun surprise on lap 1. There was too much traffic for me to get back on my bike so I had to run down on the first lap which sucked. I made sure I rode it the rest of the race.
I did four laps, which felt like more. Some highlights:
- Yellow jersey nemesis. We went back and forth for a while and I finally pulled her back only to hear that her chain came off after the last pass. I hope to beat her cleanly next week.
- Lots of personal cheering on course. I hear my name quite a few times and was also referred to by team, bike model and number. The kid on the north side of the course was so cute cheering everyone on by number: "You can do it 444!"
- Barriers. They went really well for the most part and I got compliments on a couple of my remounts.
- Nemesis #110. We also went back and forth and she was very hard to catch. She was clearly faster than me, but I caught her in a technical section just before the finish and managed to make it stick. I also had probably my best sprint finish ever and nipped someone at the line--not in my category, but still fun to do!
After the race, I saw a few racer friends. Rebecca from Bend, who I almost pushed over with a bad remount at Sherwood last year. Lindsey Kandra, who I met at the Fondo last weekend. Fresh off chemo and STILL lapping me. One of my Twitter friends came and introduced herself as well.
On the way back to the team tent, I sampled everything edible that anyone was handing out and bought some mango nectar. I'm excited that the Burgerville Nomad will be serving up food at all the races this season.
All in all, a great time out on the bike and it's fun to be back in the crazy pageantry that is cross. I hope to crank out a few more races before school completely takes over my life.