Cross of the North 2013

A Cyclocross Race for Last Place

When someone asks how your race went, traditionally you want to tell them your place 1st or 5th out of 10, something to that tune. When you are in last place you want to list out all the other positives of the race, this was my race this past Sunday. My first race of any discipline in Colorado, my first cyclocross race of the season, and my first race as a Category 3.

Sure, I’m looking at most of this early season’s racing as practice and learning, but it was still a pretty brutal showing on my part.

The Course at Cross of the North

I strongly believe that my carbon 29er hardtail would be been better suited for tearing up the 95% sand course that made up the Cross of the North. Up and down you went, a lot of sweeping turns that let me learn with 4 laps of racing practice, how to turn in sand (you don’t “turn”) and how to gracefully place your front wheel to force you to tumble off the bike.

I’m sure with the proper training in my legs the sand would have been easier to spin through and the necessary dismounts on two sandy hairpins would have been unnecessary, but for this race they were necessary and my legs were toast.

Cyclocross in Colorado

To be honest my biggest reason for nerves going into the race was the people, or lack there of knowing the people. Cyclocross is about the community to me. Shelling out and racing for 45 minutes is just the icing on the cake. Driving to races in the heat, cold, snow and rain is my own version of being a fan of football. Instead of being crowded around a TV or a grill at a tailgate, I’m at a cyclocross race surrounded by some of the best people I could ask for. This to me is cyclocross and I could only hope that Colorado would deliver like Maryland and North Carolina have.

Most of my teammates of Team Cycleton don’t start racing until October, so there isn’t that instant family to find when showing up in the morning but there was faces that I recognized and was greeted with warm smiles. There was the chatter before the whistle at the line and friendly talks in the parking lot with faces you don’t recognize but saw you racing and find the light in the wreckage of your failed race.

Results are in the Smiles and Miles

The race was hot, dusty and a bit shattering for me. I was happy with last place in SW3, which would have been top 10 in the SW4. I am happy that I didn’t submit a downgrade request when moving and I’m happy I showed up to race. One more step closer to making Colorado my home and to create the community I miss so badly from North Carolina.

Thank You’s

I need to thank the handful of fast dudes from Boulder Cycle Sport that were all super friendly and eased my nerves when the talked it up in the parking lot at 8am.

Thank you to Megan Hottman of The Cyclist – Lawyer as she encouraged me when passing (after flatting, getting fixed and catching me)

Cross of the North Colorado

Cyclocross Bicycle Practice, or my First CX Race is This Weekend

My first cyclocross “race” is this coming Sunday; I use the word race loosely as I’m looking at it as bicycle practice, with a very high average heart rate.

Things to do for my first CX race of the season

Find wheels for my cyclocross bike. I have a pair of Specialized Roval Pave wheels that I’ll be swapping over from my single speed. This way I can leave my Powertap on the road bike, and not have to worry about durability thanks to the Roval Pave proofing themselves over the past couple seasons on my single speed.

Find tires for the above wheels. Not knowing any of the courses I’m going to go with my proven “all – around but slow on hard pack” setup. This is a Specialized Terra up front and Michelin Mud2 on the back.

Sign up for a Bicycle Racing Association Colorado license. This is the statewide governing body for all things bike racing in Colorado. While I don’t have to join to race, it saves me from paying one day fee’s and it gives my team points if I place at all.

Register. Thankfully I remembered to do this, and get the BRAC license earlier this week as online registration has already closed for this weekend’s races! Note to self: Always register the Wednesday or Thursday before race weekend.

Test Ride and Skills. This will be tomorrow. Not too much stress, just making sure my bike is functioning and hips are flexible for the mounts. The first few races will be skills clinics in themselves, but I do plan on working in one or two days of CX skills per week.

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Review Course. Then forget what I reviewed.

Create CX’ing Playlist on Spotify. Do you have songs that pump you up? Maybe some Katy Perry “Roar”? Let me know what is on top of your list!

Rock Out. Because that is why we are all doing this right?

Photo Credit: Cross of the North Facebook page