Sept 29/30 Primalpalooza and Adrenalin CX Saturday brought us back to the same venue as the previous Sunday’s Queens of CX, but with a much different course. A bit of rain during the week had reduced the dust and smoothed out the bumps a bit. The course was unique in that it climbed a steep hill twice, with both ascents completely rideable, and had two pairs of half barriers, so bunny hopping them was easy. In other words, we never had to get off the bike!
Sunday’s Adrenalin CX race was held south of Denver on a course that last year was under about a foot of snow. Warm, sunny temperatures made for a completely different experience this year. It was largely on grass, with a number of twisty chicanes, two pairs of dismount barriers, two pairs of bunny hop barriers, and a pair of short sandpits, so lots of features and places to mess up!
Both races this weekend featured incredibly stacked fields in the SM35+. I think many riders are making their final push towards being in top form for the upcoming USGP races in Ft Collins in mid October. The courses were both power courses, rather than too technical, which tend not to suit me that well, but I’ve been working hard to increase my power this year in hopes of reducing that deficiency.
Saturday’s start took us up a gravel covered straight. I had a good callup, but played it safe in the start scrum, backing off a bit when the riders on both sides pinched in on me—no need to take a chance on a bad crash in an early season race! This put me towards the back heading onto the course, and I set about clawing my way through the field. Lots of support and cheers all over the place gave me extra energy, and I eventually ended up in 24th place, completely spent.
Sunday my legs were a little dead from the previous day’s effort. The start went up a sidewalk climb before turning onto the course. I got a good jump, then faded, and was once again near the back heading into the course. I rode cleanly and fairly well, with one crash in a grassy chicane when I overcooked a turn. All told, I was fairly satisfied to roll across in 18th place on the day.
Having raced the course the previous week I was feeling pretty comfortable for Saturday’s race. I had a great start and finally felt like I was racing the whole time. Finished 6th on the day so working my way up the field! Sunday’s race was windy and bumpy! It was a small field again, but strong. Things were going well and I was chasing 2nd but had too many bobbles on the loose pea gravel corner. I finished 3rdon the day (same as last year at that race…maybe it’s the venue?).
Oct 6/7 Frisco CX and Cross at the River
The first weekend of October brought us the mountain races. These are always fun, since they’re held in beautiful locations and provide an escape from the heat that accompanies the early races on the front range. They also include the added challenge of altitude, at 9,075’ and 8,100’, respectively. Saturday was at the Frisco Nordic Center, where the course always features a long paved climb that somehow grows harder and steeper every lap, as well as wood chip covered twisty singletrack.
Sunday was in Buena Vista. We always try to head to this lightly attended race, since the course is fun, the organizers are great and it’s a gorgeous area. We wish more racers would make the effort to head down for it.
Saturday dawned clear and cold, with a breeze making the low 30’s temperature feel even more bitter. Riding around before the race, I just could not warm up, either physically or athletically. My attempts at openers came to naught, and I lined up just hoping for the best. Of course, that’s not really a good strategy for success, and I ended up far back after the first two laps. At that point, I started feeling better and reeled some riders back in, but it was way too late to move up much. I ended up in 20th place, but probably at least 4-5 riders back from where I should have been.
Sunday’s course was slightly changed from previous editions, with more twists and turns. I was excited, since that generally suits me well! I got a decent warmup, with plenty of preview laps and felt good lining up. Not sure what happened once they blew the whistle though, since my handling skills completely deserted me this day! It’s like I was a totally different rider—the power straightaways and runups were my strong points and riders gained on me in all the technical sections. I guess on the bright side, that must mean I’ve done a good job of ‘training my weaknesses’, but I sure hope I remember how to drive a bike this weekend in the big races in Ft Collins!
Frisco is one of my favorite races of the year although I never seem to do well. The altitude and the loooooong climb on each lap kind of zap my lungs and legs. However, I was fairly happy with my race. I pushed hard the whole time and again felt like I was attacking and racing. We’re making progress!
CX at the River never pulls a big crowd, it’s too bad because Buena Vista is a beautiful setting for a race! I had one of my best races so far battling with Rebecca Gross. I was with her for most of the first lap and then she gapped me on a hill that she could ride and I couldn’t. I kept charging and caught her when her chain came off. She gapped me again and then I’d close the gap a bit but I couldn’t quite get by her. Nevertheless, it was a really fun race.
Coming up is the USGP in Ft. Collins. I’ll be racing the men’s Singlespeed as I did last year. Really looking forward to it!
We should not close without saying that Rob had an awesome race in Buena Vista Sunday! His category started just behind mine, and by halfway through the race, I could see him riding clean and closing in on me. He and another rider duked it out for their entire race, catching me just before the finishing straight, so I had a front row seat watching Rob narrowly miss the finishing sprint for the win! It was awesome having a teammate out there and riding off the front of the field!