We actually had a little bit of rain on race day!
It wasn’t enough to generate any mud, but at least I got to experience a few sprinkles while out on course.
The day started off with another women’s specific clinic run by the Washington Women of Cross. Dawn attending this as her second clinic and was able to absorb a bit more knowledge on tire pressure, tread, cornering and some other CX skills. They’re doing a great job of growing the sport among local women and I’m glad to see it!
As far as the race itself goes, I heard a lot of positive comments out there. We had a few people who were on their first cyclocross race and this was a good experience for them.
While we had a serious runup over tree roots, there were no traditional barriers that required dismounting or remounting. The biggest challenge (at least for me) was the long stretches over the still bumpy grass. Some short sections got smoothed out by racers, but it was still pretty bone jarring.
Given my experience at the last race (South Sound Super Prestige) where I kind of blew up early and had a hard time sprinting at the end, I was going to take a different approach at this race.
The plan was to keep an eye on my heart rate and make sure I didn’t get into a zone where I would not get a chance to recover. So rather than blasting out the gate at the start I kept my cool while people passed me.
This seemed to work out fine until we made it to the run up. Normally this would be a good feature for me as I can power up the hill and get back on pretty quick (usually). In this case I totally flubbed the remount. Instead of getting back on smoothly and heading forward, I ended up stopping all momentum while jumping on and ran into some bushes.
Getting myself sorted out and back on course cost me several places and got me out of the “flow”. My HR shot up. Rather than blowing myself up to catch back on I focused on not letting my HR get too high and was going to try and slowly ride myself back on.
Turns out the rest of the field was totally not in with that game plan.
When we got to a relatively smooth and straight stretch they all took off while I focused on keeping calm. By the end of that sector they were all gone.
I didn’t really give up at that point, but it gets harder to justify going into the red when you’re so far off and have little chance of catching on. So I saved my legs for next weekend and rode hard, but didn’t turn myself inside out. I still managed to catch one guy before we both got lapped.
The friends, family, and other race fans were all out doing a great job of cheering, heckling and providing the beer & bacon handups.