While I have raced several cross races this year, they all have been prep work (fun) for the grand event of the North Carolina Cyclocross series. This series kicked off this past weekend, I didn’t make the Saturday race so Sunday was the official kick off to the next 3 months of cyclocross racing!
In order to give you a full scope of the race let’s begin at 5:15am when I woke up. Why? Because I had to leave by 6:15am for the 2.5-3 hour drive to Raleigh. Thank goodness for in car entertainment of Natalie Moore (friend, cheerleeder and cyclocross virgin)! In the car, rocking towards Lion’s Roar I know my body was feeling sore. There’s no reason a 2.5 hour drive should bother me, but something in my hamstring and lower back just didn’t feel right.
Get to race, teammate/friend/brother from another mother, George Berger, had set up his tent already and we had staked out a place for the team to hang out. Another tent went up near the course for race heckling and photo taking.
Get dressed in awesome new Birdsong Brewery team skinsuit. Long sleeve jersey and Foundry parka overtop. 45 degrees and on the road warm up.
Warm up for 45 minutes on the road. Openers. My hamstring wasn’t feeling right. I couldn’t spin through it. It was tight like a fiddle.
Pre-race lap. Course was fast, felt short and super fun.
The field of women (and single speed guys) was the biggest I had ever seen at a NC CX event. 26 women in the CX 4 race, and close to the same in the Pro, 1,2,3 race. Due to warming up and not having points from the day before for call ups – I was 2nd row. That wasn’t good. I normally have a good start and like to rail into the first lap to find my footing.
Racers – 15 seconds
Strategically I had figured out how I was going to get around the girl in front of me after the line. That was as long as she didn’t fall over in front of me.
Start was on pavement. Slight up hill with a 80 degree turn to the left. Cut to her inside and hit the corner hard. Success. Went into the first wooded section about 10 back.
Bump through the woods, through pine straw and roots. Hard left turn. Girly in 3rd place takes out about 6 girls. Utilizing my mtb skills I stay high inside and sitting pretty in 3rd after that pile up.
Short section of pavement into some taped off turns. If you rode the tape properly you could really keep your steam going. Downhill, 180 degree turn back uphill to the right, 90 degree turn to the left, gravel, miss the huge hole on the right.
Hit gravel road section. Big gear, hitting it hard. Felt good, felt like I could actually attack the wheels I was sitting on if I wanted.
Gear down, left turn into grass, uphill, gravel thrown in for fun. Around some taped turns. Barriers.
This is when I went from 3rd to 6th.
Dismount… that went pretty. Hop. run.. Hop.
Remount. Crap, hamstring and hip won’t open up enough. Stop. Lean bike over. Mount.
SPRINT. Run up huge hill. Pin it in the taped field. Oh shit moment on the steep downhill. Big ring on the pavement to start the lap all over again.
I sat in 5th for most the race. Last lap 6th caught me at that barrier again. We played cat and mouse the rest of the lap. I sat on her wheel, hitting it hard right before the pavement section. Thought I was going to have a sprint finish but had a bike or two lead at the line.
Awesomely happy with myself. Having not ridden much over the past 3 weeks (hell month and a half) I am happy to say I was sitting in 3rd and finished 6th out of 26! The season is long and I should be hitting the podium soon enough. Confidence isn’t huge, but passion is fueled.
Did you race this weekend? How did it go?
photo credit: Natalie and George