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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.
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)
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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.
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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.
Bird Song Brewery Growlers
Hanging out with friends/ 36th Street teammates
New skin suits
Foundry Auger racing
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.
Also, it helps that my team is sponsored by a brewery – Birdsong. The IPA after was also awesome!
Did you race this weekend? How did it go?
photo credit: Natalie and George
Keep up to date with the Bike Shop Girl coverage of the 2012 Interbike Trade Show with coverage, previews, exclusives and interviews
A photo dump of random photos from the night of the 2012 Cross Vegas race during Interbike. Includes a trip on the Yakima party bus, tequila shots, bike races and awesome people in the industry!
The weather is cooler, the days are getting shorter and this means one thing. Cyclocross.
The season in the southeast normally doesn’t start until mid fall but more and more groups are getting on board and we should have a couple series in the area to attend.
‘Cross “Race” Calendar
September 4th - (Tentative) Tuesday Nights Under the Lights in Boone, NC
September 8th – Asheville CX Kick Off in Bent Creek Park
September 29-30 - Tennessee MSG in Kingsport
October 6-7 - Tennessee MSG in Unicoi
October 14th - Asheville CX at Pisgah Brewery
NC CX Race Series:
Race #1 – Sat. October 20, 2012 – Southern Pines, NC
Race #2 – Sun. October 21, 2012 – Raleigh, NC
Race #3 – Sun. October 28, 2012 – Boone, NC
Race #4 – Sun. November 4, 2012 – Salisbury, NC Not in town
Race #5 – Sun. November 11, 2012 – Wilkesboro, NC
Race #6 – Sat. November 17, 2012 – Durham, NC
Race #7 – Sun. November 18, 2012 – Statesville, NC
Race #8 – Sun.December 2, 2012 – Charlotte, NC
Race #9 – Sun. December 9, 2012 – Winston Salem, NC
Race #10 – Sat. December 15, 2012 -UCI NCGP - Hendersonville, NC
Race #11 – Sun. December 16, 2012 – UCI NCGP – Hendersonville, NC
NC CX Winter Series:
Race #12 – Sat. January 5, 2013 – Raleigh, NC
Race #13 – Sun. January 6, 2013 – Fayetteville, NC
Race #14 – Sat. January 19, 2013 – Winston Salem, NC
Race #15 – Sun. January 20, 2013 – Greensboro, NC
Middle of July means one thing for my dearest friends. Cyclocross season is coming! Last year my NC & SC Cyclocross Event post went over very well, so this year I’ll be doing it again. If you are in the Southeast and have a schedule, know of a training ride, clinic or anything – please add comments below or contact me!
October 6, 7 North GA double header (Saturday race is in TN and not part of GACX Series)
October 14 Marietta
October 21 Augusta
October 27, 28 Savannah
November 4 Cumming
November 11 Centennial
December 2 Serenbe
December 9 Macon
December 15 Elks Backwoods course
December 16 Elks Honey Badger course (SEASON FINALE)
September 9 Brookside Dirt Kermesse #1 (non series)
September 23 Brookside Dirt Kermesse #2 (non series)
September 30 BX#1 Brookside
October 14 bx#2 Jeff State
October 21-22 bx#3/4 Gadsden Double
October 28 bx#5 Cooper Green
November 11 bx#6 Bham TBD
November 18 bx#7/8 Anniston
December 2 bx#9 Sloss
December 9 bx#10 Cooter’s Pond
December 16 bx#11 Avondale (finale)
January 6, 2013 non-series race
January 20, 2013 non-series race
February 13, 2013 Sylacauga dirt circuit (non-series)
Julie is a local lady I know from cyclocross. She fully embodies that of em:pwr cycling and motivating all. She’s out there ringing the cowbell and taking photos from the first race to the last. She also cheers you on when she passes you in her races! Kudos to Julie and all she does for women’s cycling.
What’s your name and location?
Julie Paisant, High Point NC
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
Cyclocross, Mountain XC and Road. (Listed in order of favorites)
What is your first cycling memory?
Feeling the freedom of riding my first bike without training wheels. Such a strange sensation. Sweet freedom!!!
Who inspires you to ride, and better yet WHY?
My husband inspires me to ride. He believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.
What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?
I first though my best moment on the bike was making podium for NCCX this year. (4th place). But then, that really isn’t a moment. It was at the NCCX race in Boone. Really good venue put on by Andrew Stackhouse, Pirate Race Productions. One section of the course had two nasty climbs for racers to tackle. One was not rideable. Barely walkable as far as I remember. I raced the Ridley and had a little trouble on the hill even with all the gears. Slick and rough at the beginning. I did the single speed race later that day and blasted up that hill each of the four laps. (Each time shrieking with joy! It was a short little shriek due to lack of oxygen. Possibly I was the only one that heard it). I was blown away at what I could do on the single speed bike compared to my geared bike. It made me realize I could be so much stronger on my geared bike if I just committed to the gear. I changed the way I trained for races after that and it really paid off.
Tell us all about your bikes
I am currently riding a Ridley X-Fire for Cyclocross. Also built up an old bashed up Redline frame for single speed races. I was surprised at how solid this bike feels. 05′ Santa Cruz Blur, mountain bike. It has been an awesome race bike but parts are breaking down over the years. Time for something new. Thanks to Mock Orange Bikes, I have a Kona King Kahuna 29″ hard tail on the way. It’s probably more bike than I will ever need. Now I shall fling myself into the bushes in 29′ style. Looking forward to it! My Road bike is a previously used LOOK 595. Extremely responsive. I enjoy racing criteriums with this bike. It dips into tight fast turns with such ease.
Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!