This past weekend was the second stop for the USGP National Series. The races were held in Ft. Collins, 45 min. north of us. The forecast was calling for rain on Saturday and slightly sunnier on Sunday, so we figured we'd be in for some good "cross" conditions. Kristal raced the Single Speed category at 10:30 and Carl's race, 35+ open, was at 1:30. Kristal's report
Due to points restrictions for Master's World eligibility I didn't race the Women's Elite race, instead I got the pleasure of jumping in with the Single Speed boys. Carl and I got to the venue bright and early on Saturday to preride the course. It was very similar to last year, lots of twists and turns and several times up and down the hillside. The conditions were dusty and bumpy but the course was really fun and I was excited to race.
As I was getting lined up I just felt excited and none of my typical prerace nerves. Plus, the temp was dropping and I was ready to get moving! The whistle blew and we were off! I started at the back so just focused on moving up. With only one speed I had no choice but to attack the hills hard and maintain speed on the downhills. A great day of training! As the race went on, the rain started to move in. It was just enough to settle the dust but would drastically change the conditions for the afternoon races.
Both days I pushed hard, rode aggressively and managed to beat a few guys (finished 23/32, then 21/34 on sun) and was really happy. It was especially funny to hear the heckling the guys around me received when they "got girled". I had a blast, I think I had a smile on my face the entire race. I'm so glad I was "forced" to race in a different category.
I was psyched for this race. Fort Collins is my hometown, plus as a national series race, all the big hitters would be here, and the local guys would bring their 'A' game to try to beat them. As I cheered Kristal's race, the rain started to fall, and shortly after that, the wind began gusting like crazy and the temps dropped. By race time, it was about 40 degrees, with steady rain and strong gusts of wind. The course had completely changed from dry, bumpy, and dusty to deep, slippery mud. I lined up 5th row, eager to start so I could warm up.
We charged off on the course, and mayhem ensued with racers slipping all over the place. It was a day for skilled riders, and those with lesser handling skills were being eaten alive. My Rhinos were hooking up well, but I definitely should have run them with a little lower pressure, as late in the race I went down three different times trying to carry speed through turns. Tire pressure is one of the keys to successful cx racing--we use tubular tires that we've run as low as 20psi so that they conform to the terrain and provide great traction. The time lost to these mishaps dropped me down the board, and I finally finished in 58th place. I was disappointed at first, but on reviewing the results later, saw lots of fast guys had finished just ahead of me, so at least I was in good company.
Day 2 I was fired up for some redemption. The course was drying out and promised to be tacky and fast, not really my strength, but I was motivated and the improved weather had brought out great crowds. I didn't get a great start, but rode well and aggressively the entire race. I settled into a group of 5 or 6 riders and we all battled it out, passing each other back and forth throughout the race. A last lap bobble on a turn cost me 2 places, but I still managed to come in 55th. It's funny, although I was only a few places better than Saturday, I was much more satisfied. I had ridden an aggressive, battling race on a less technical course and feel it was a bit of a breakthrough.
This weekend is the Blue Sky Velo race, which we are helping promote. We'll be setting up the course Friday, then racing Saturday as well as manning our team tent handing out samples from Fluid and FRS and explaining all our great sponsors' products! Please stop by and see us, it should be a great time! Thanks for reading.