Did my first cyclocross race Sunday. What an eye opener that was. People say its hard, yup.
It was the Halloween Cross race. I didn't dress up, I didn't fit into my costume. I hadn't tried this ensemble on in a few years and apparently I have grown.
I have never raced cross before and had no idea what to expect. I watched some videos. I practiced my dismounts and re-mounts a couple times in the yard. I took my bike to a little sledding hill and ran up and down a couple times carrying it to see what it felt like. I figured that was good. I really wouldn't know until I raced it right.
So the race. Myself, Mike C, and Joe C were the full contingent of the 864/ Fuel Cafe Cross racers for the day. Having never done a real cross race I was in the start chute asking the guys around me questions like "How long is this? Is it timed plus one? How do you know when it over?" Most guys ignored me but one guy gave me the scoop so I was set.
Race started and we were off with a 65 man field in the cat 4's. The first turn was a 90 degree into a little climb. 65 guys with race start energy had us bottlenecked at once. It was a trackstand climb just trying to stay upright at the slow speed and not hit the guy in front of you or fall onto the guy next to you. I made it through and the race was on. It is funny how pre race jitters really get you nervous but as soon as the race is started you forget it all and it is just like every race. That is how it went, I got into a group of guys and we all did what we could to ride away from each other.
So cross racing... is 100% all the time. You could see how one little bobble or one slight pause from someone and you could take advantage. If a guy was a little slow on a climb, gone. If a guy scrubbed too much speed in the turns and couldn't carry his momentum, gone. A pause on the flats and you went around, gone. It seemed like in an instant you could ride away or be ridden away from. Knowing that was the best lesson of the day. I seemed to be riding OK. I could hold my speed in the little tech sections well compared to those around me. I bunny hopped the little barrier with no problems and my run up seemed OK. For my first race I thought I was doing average. I had no idea where I was but by the third lap I could see plenty of guys in front and behind me. Then the last lap came and it was obvious I wasn't going to catch anyone and if I stayed on the gas I would solo to the finish. That is how it played out.
Here during the race I thought it couldn't hurt more, I was wrong. When I stopped it hurt more. While I was happy to be done, stopping seemed to give my mind a break and realize how tired it was. It felt like the first ride of the year but a starting with a fast group ride not a base ride. It is just one of things that you have to get used to and hopefully gets easier.
For everyone else... Mike had to abandon from a locked up back and Joe solo'd to a second place finish. I finished 20th out of 65 so for me that is a considered a success and actually made me pretty happy.
While I was watching I shot some video of Joe.
4 months ago