Prep was solid into this race. Hitting about 90% of my training for the two weeks leading into the event. Could I have been at 100%? I’m sure, but I’m not a pro and I do have a life to live.
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My words are becoming to mimic a broken record. Lacking or should I say SLACKING off my beautiful training plan. Lots of time in the car, only a handful of bike rides between the Boone Cyclocross race 2 weeks prior and that was also a joke.
Does it sound like I’m setting you up for a big let down of a result? Because I’m not. Just piling on the excuses to get you ready for a result I completely pulled out my rear.
Read my race prep, and now experience my race report.
In fashion from this past week’s race prep of Lion’s Roar here is my “get super excited” pre-race report.
I feel more prepared than last week, and that is mostly because I raced last week. I have been focusing on stretching, more back/core work and such so my ass doesn’t lock up on me again. Tomorrow during openers I plan on doing a bunch of mounts/dismounts so my confidence is back up. That’s really the worst thing about cross, when you don’t feel confident about a specific skill you over analyze it because you have to do it over and over again each lap.
REASONS WHY I’M STOKED FOR THIS WEEKEND
Costumes, it is Halloween weekend!
The chance of riding in the rain/mud. This could suck, but will be awesome all together.
Hanging out with friends/ 36th Street teammates
New skin suits
Racing = Training
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
I’m not prepared. I’m back on my schedule from coach to a crossed t and dotted i, but I’m not ready as I fell off the back. The whirlwind of September and October bit my ass hard. Throwing a lot of hard work from this summer out the window, but life is what it is and I’m busting my ass now to catch back on.
Reasons why I’m stoked for this weekend
Hanging out with friends/ 36th Street teammates
New skin suits
Racing = Training
So let’s HTFU and get this weekend going already!!
Headed down to Spartanburg, SC for a training race this morning. Many thoughts running in my head, and yet nothing substantial to type out here. Unprepared, rain, mud, coffee, prep, switched my brakes, hope I don’t endo. Meeting new teammates and bonding with my brother like, George.
Here’s to the 2nd race of my season, more unprepared than the first!
The secret of discipline is motivation. When a man is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself. -Alexander Paterson
Every race you do, you must take away something from it. Learn, develop and strive to be that much better the next time. Often the fight you are picking is with yourself. To be a better rider, a better person.
Last Friday I went up and setup our camp with the help of pit boss, Kimberlee. She graciously drove an extra hour each direction so that I had an extra set of hands to setup three tents and carry everything I would need over the next 2.5 days.
Once everything large was in place and I helped a bit with registration I pre-rode the course very slowly. I have learned the course pretty well over the past year but making notes of sections to take slow at night, pull off’s incase I needed to stop for food, etc etc.
The biggest thing I was debating was if I wanted to wear a Camelbak or not. The temperatures would be hot which means I should drink more water, but it also means the Camelbak would be adding a ton of heat to my bag during the day. I finally decided I would start with the Camelbak and see where it took me.
Last Minute Prep
After pre-riding and seeing how slick the roots were going to be at night I swapped my front Michelin Wild Race’r for the Maxxis Ardent. My new Powertap rear wheel had the Wild Race’r on it, which I would run during the day, swapping to the Fulcrum Red Metal XL wheel with Ardent as I entered my night laps.
I putzed around camp the morning of, moving things around, preparing some bottles, and keeping my brain occupied.
My goal was to look at the 24 hours in 4 blocks of 6 hours. My lap times stayed consistent but my pit times were getting longer. My wrist were killing me as I was taking the downhills pretty darn fast (it really is the only thing I’m good at) and I kept forgetting to take out some PSI everytime I came through the pit. In the first lap I also quickly realized my normal staple drink of Perpetuam wasn’t sitting well in the heat. Even though I have used it for hundreds of miles this year in training, my stomach wasn’t liking it. Around lap 3 I left my Camelbak at the bit and switched to only carrying one bottle of water, a packet of gu chomps and a gel flask. At the halfway point I would stop and down some gel, drink half my bottle and fill it back up.
I needed to switch shorts, my wrist were causing my hands to lose grip on the bars, I probably wasn’t getting enough food, I needed to find my groove.
Lap 7 is when I put lights on. The Seca 1400 was absolutely freaking awesome. I should have had it on my head, not my handlebars. I always use my main light on my helmet, almost never running it on the handlebar. For the first lap I figured I had enough day light to get through and could just run it on my handlebar.
3/4 through the lap, just as you start pointing downhill for the last section, I caught something on a tree. Feet before the rock garden. As I was thrown hard to the ground, my head hit hard, followed by my shoulder and hip. I knew I had to get out of the way, I was in a blind turn and it was dark. If I didn’t move I would get run over. I pulled myself and the bike off the trail to take an assesment of damages. My arm was killing me, my left ankle was killing me from being stuck in the bike as it turned around, my shoulder and collar bone didn’t seem broken which was my initial thought. I started talking to my bike, willing it to simply get me down the mountain and back to my pit. It did just that. I don’t remember much about getting down the mountain. I pulled into my pit and never would leave it again.
My race was over.
The medics checked me over. My shorts and possibly jersey were ruined. I still haven’t checked over my bike. I remember sitting, shivering, in shock. Trying to make light of it all. Faces of my pit crew, the race director and my family all staring at me in the candlelight. Everything hurt. Looking back now I’m glad I didn’t get it in my head to get back on the bike. As it is now 3 days after the race, it still hurts to walk and my body is super banged up. My biggest fear would have been in the slippery night I would have gone down again, or jerked something the wrong way and been left sitting out on the side of the trail waiting for the 4 wheeler to come get me.
One of the guys on the crew, Ben, was keeping my moving lap times. He didn’t show them to me when I was riding but I looked at them the next morning. I was consistently turning hour lap riding times. This isn’t pit times, as those got longer and longer, but the moving time. That made me happy to see. That motivates me to strive onas on Saturday night as I sat there, I never wanted to ride that trail again.
Last year I did 8 laps over 24 hours, sleeping about 7 of those 24. This year I did 7 laps in the first 9 hours. That’s improvement in my eyes.
I need to continue to work on climbing, dial in exactly what I need as the hours go by from food, to chamois selection and motivation.
Thank You Notes..
Though I was only on the bike for 9 hours I owe a great amount of thank you’s.
Kimberlee – Next year she will have a shirt that says pit boss. The only person I trusted as my brain went mush. From food, to entertaining and grounding as the hours went by.
Ben – pure entertainment, time keeper and comedian. He is also really good at putting away a tent!
George – drove up to help and ride with me in the middle of the night. Unfortunately I wrecked out just as that was supposed to happen. He also checked on our dogs and fed them.
Family – It was great to see my parents, they had never to been to an event like this so it was stellar that they could drive down and see what I do for fun.
Wes – The mechanic of the hour came at the exact moment I needed my rear wheel changed and cranks checked over. Next year I need him there the whole time!
Hampton Inn Wilkesboro - The clean sheets and shower were much needed after the abuse I put myself through.
Jason Bum – Race director and stand up guy. He puts on a great event and does it with a smile.
Chris Strout & Family – Chris was a stellar motivator as he hit lap after lap with his solo efforts. His wife Kim and kids were motivating just for being there, smiling and encouraging.
A friend of mine, Jason Grantz, has been focusing on the definition of words for the past couple weeks. I’m going to utilize this idea and sum up how I feel the day after 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
broken |ˈbrōkən| past participle of break
1 having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order : a broken arm.
• rejected, defeated, or despairing : he went to his grave a broken man | a broken heart.
• sick or weakened : broken health.
• (of a relationship) ended, typically by betrayal or faithlessness : a broken marriage.
• disrupted or divided : broken families.
• (of an agreement or promise) not observed by one of the parties involved.
2 having gaps or intervals that break a continuity : a broken white line across the road.
• spoken haltingly, as if overcome by emotion : he whispered in a broken voice.
The trail was amazing, the berms were buff, the climbs had traction and even the first lap wasn’t too muddy.The temperature ended up being around 70º in Wilkesboro, NC.
The pit crew, as always, was extraordinary. Kimberlee and Shelley were always there for food, smiles and a good kick in the butt.
Our pit mates, the guys from Luna Cycles, Dale and Robbie, and of course Darby.
The weather was perfect, a bit chilly in the morning ending up around 75 in the afternoon.
The other racers, encouraging, helpful, inspiring.
My teammate, Melissa. Always smiling and optimistic. Even when my last lap took twice as long as it should and we ended in last place.
The sweet lady next to our pits that recognized me as Bike Shop Girl and even stopped as I was suffering after the race to say she enjoyed my writing.
A flat tire at mile 5 on my second lap.
Losing tons of electrolytes and only having water on my back.
Walking a ton on that second lap.
The feeling of competitors passing you and not being able to do a damn thing about it.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, wtf happened?
Somewhere between the start of lap one, and the middle of lap two my bottom bracket started to seize up. Hills that I was able to spin up in a middle gear on my cassette I was grinding up in my easiest cog. My multi-tool didn’t have a 2.5mm allen wrench on it to back out the adjustable ring on the SRAM X-9 cranks.
The feeling when you realize why you are sucking is between happiness and a stupid sick gut wrenching. Especially when you realize you can’t fix the thing. I knew I had 5 miles more to go, and most of it was up hill. It got to a point that I was simply hoping that I would get through before 5pm for my lap to count.
For the rest of the lap I pushed, grinded, walked, tried to smile and hoped the miles would tick by. My knees ached from trying to climb the hills with my cranks not spinning freely, my stomach hurt and at times I hit hyperventilation in frustration and pain.
A couple days later I feel better. My knees still hurt, and my brain is rather screwed up from the event. Who knows if I could have done something differently. Maybe check over my bike better between laps. Maybe tell PF30 bottom brackets to kiss my ass.
I feel badly for letting down my team. I feel badly about many things. At the end of the day it is only a race, but to look forward to something for a complete year and it to end this way is a horrible feeling.
This past week was my first real cyclocross race of the season. There I said it. With all of the last minute traveling, work and now working on landing a new job I simply have not put as much effort as I thought I would in to cyclocross this fall.
The race was at North Meck Park in Huntersville, NC. What is super unique about this race series (other than it is on Tuesdays) is that it is at night, the first race starting at 6pm. The way it works is the course wraps around 4 different baseball and softball fields, utilizing the lights of the fields to light up the area outside of the fence. Up and down the hills, between the fields, some run ups, some barriers and always good fun but never on the ball fields!
I lined up this week with the boys. There were no girls to play with. Very sad since I know several women that would rack the season but they never show up to ride around in circles with me for 30 minutes.
While I pushed myself harder than I thought I could, I made some ride ups I didn’t think I would make and in the end I beat a few guys, barely being passed by two younger guys right before the finish.
Success is what I call it. If I race a couple more of these before the holidays, I’ll be very happy! Aspercreme was very needed after the ride…