Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CX Celebration

I decided to handle the one-year anniversary of breaking my ankle in my sixth CX race by racing six CX races in the weekend. = )

Last year, I had my first major broken bone at CX the Domes. This year's race was almost exactly one year later. I decided that I definitely had to race it this year. I'm still trying to get rid of all the emotional crap from breaking my leg, such as being too timid. Finishing the race seemed like a good way to exorcise some demons.

I decided to do the Men's Cat. 4 race, which was immediately before mine, so I could get any nervous jitters out of the way before the women's race.

(Photo courtesy of John Senkerik)

I probably went a little too hard as I was going back and forth with a guy who sprinted past me at the finish and who I almost caught back up to. I started in the last row and ended up 56th out of 63 finishers, with 1 DNF.

For the women's race, I ended up 10th out of 15. It is such an accomplishment, for me, to finish this race. It is also disappointing as I was doing really well at the beginning of last season so placing so much lower is still depressing. I got passed by some girls but did manage to pick a few girls off. I did occasionally start to freak out about a turn or two but should give myself a gold star for the effort as opposed to beating myself up about it.

And, I arrived at DeKalb bright and early on Sunday morning with a small scab on my knee as opposed to a cast. I would finally get to do the flyover. I was so, so excited when I learned there would be one last year. It is definitely fun. But, man, oh man, is it so hard to climb up those stairs with a bike when you are shorter than 5'2".

In previous years, I had rode the course before the first race and then warmed up. Since I now do registration, I did the 30+ race to warm up on the course. But, Tom also is in the 30+.

I had a better start than him but then got stuck behind a minor crash at the first set of turns around the trees and he got by me. I was catching up with him and then I dropped my chain. Got it back on but was in too hard of a gear to pedal. And, away Tom went. I reminded myself this was supposed to be a warm up for the women's race. And, then, is Tom getting closer? Yep, I was gaining on him. I thought he dropped his chain but afterwards he replied that he had dropped/crashed. I went harder and ended up passing him. = )

I, then, changed out of my skin suit because it had really warmed up since we got there at 6:30 a.m. I snagged the last spot in the front row. My start wasn't great but didn't suck. And, then, we got to the first set of trees. I should have been more aggressive. I ended up behind Bev, who is a very fast mountainbiker but somewhat of a CX newb. I was on the brakes for the turns and saw the rest of the group get further and further away.

I actually was able to pass Bev and kept her behind me for probably 1 1/2 to 2 laps. I was pretty sure I would not be able to hold her off, as she is incredibly fast and strong. She got past me and started getting further and further away as she was powering off and my quads were screaming at me and complaining for doing a fourth race in a 24-hour period. My lap times dropped a bit, due to probably both my body as well as knowing I wasn't catching Bev and that there was not any ladies immediately on my tail. And, that's how I finished. 20th. A little better than Jackson Park, much worse than Jackson Park 2010. Of course, I have to keep reminding myself that I finally got to race the flyover!

So, I changed and went back to registration. I was second on the wait list for the 4A race and first on the list for the 4B. So, I decided I would do both. I need more time on the bike and I need more CX practice. I knew two more races would hurt like hell but I also decided that I would then have six races in the weekend. Last year, I didn't get to finish my sixth race so I decided it would be a perfect way for me to "celebrate" the one-year mark.

The course was more firm by the 4A race which allowed me to get both my fastest and slowest laps of the day. Slowest, being the first parade-like lap and my fastest being the second lap. By the 4B race, I wanted to die. I'm pretty sure I ended up 57th but there were glitches with the registration computer and I am not on the results.

I got to cheer on the singlespeeders and then, sadly, had to give Leah back her son's bike. My Trek was not back up and running until Saturday night so Leah kindly let me use the Cannondale again on Sunday since I was used to the geometry. It is a 44cm and fits me almost perfectly. I also got to ride a 46cm Specialized Crux again. I cannot wait to get my new disc frame! And, I cannot wait for Leah's son to outgrow his bike. = )

It is a long season and I plan to get myself back in shape by the end of it. Am I still being too tentative in some of the corners? Yeah, I'm sure I am. But, that's improving as well. I love CX and am so excited that I am back racing. = )

Edit: I have to post a photo Amy Dykema got of me sticking my tongue out on the flyover during the 4B race.

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