First of all, we'd like to congratulate Rob Gilbert for his upgrade to Cat 3! That is no small accomplishment in Colorado, but his results this year definitely merit it! This weekend brought us Sienna Lake, a course that debuted last year and it only about 3 miles from our house. It is primarily grass, with some sidewalks and steep entry/exits from a ditch. It's a really fun course and we were looking forward to it. It turned out that a cold front blew in that day, and the precipitation started falling on and off during Rob and Carl's races in the morning. Closer to noon, when Kristal raced, it had started to lightly snow, and by the afternoon it was a full on blizzard! All of this made for fun conditions, as the course changed every single lap.
Sunday was a new race on a course in the warehouse district of north Denver. It was a full on urban setting, with mostly pavement and dirt, but a short section on the back side contained just about every obstacle one might encounter on a 'cross course, all in about a quarter mile. It started with a section of wood chips, then proceeded to some tall whoop-de-doos, then on to a rock garden, 2 steep down and up combos, then a 30' sand pit, and finally a set of 3 barriers. It was a really fun course with a great vibe, and we hope turnout will be larger next year.
On more of a down note, Nick broke his arm last week, so RapidRacing's Junior/Developmental squad is sidelined for 4-5 weeks until the cast comes off. He is hoping to make a triumphant return at the State Championships!
I was excited for Saturday's race. I enjoyed this course last year, but rolled a tubular (meaning the tire came off the rim), so I was looking for some redemption this year. It was cold during my warmup and as the rain/snow started, I switched from the file tread Pipistrello tires I had planned to use to our Rhino mud tires. Since we registered that day, my callup was towards the back, but I got a decent start and was able to dismount and pass a number of riders on foot when the inevitable backup occurred at the fist ditch entry. Unfortunately, after that I just seemed to go backward all race. I rallied a bit mid race, but then overcooked a turn and crashed on wet, slick grass, losing a few more spots. In the end, this was definitely a day that I just didn't 'have it' and I left fairly disappointed.
Sunday morning, I raced the 8am 45+ Open race, so instead of getting the family up that early, I just headed down to the race alone. The streets were still icy, so the official decided to delay us an hour to let the ice melt some more. I found a few friends and set about preriding with them to learn the course and also to try to help them find the best lines. The conditions were definitely making a lot of riders nervous, but I was on a mission--stung by the previous day and knowing the field would likely be small, I was here to win. When we finally lined up, there were only 7 riders in my field. The start straight was a sheet of ice, with only one line that was melted out. Unfortunately, another rider had gotten there early and staked out that spot. At the whistle, he tore off down the road, and I set about trying to get my rear wheel to hook up and chase him down. He had about 100yd gap by the time we hit the course itself, and I was in 4th. I quickly passed 2 riders, and was about 30' behind him going into the barriers on the backside. I watched as he bunny-hopped all three. 'Uh oh', I thought--I hadn't attempted that in warmup, so felt I shouldn't try it in the race. I hopped the first barrier (it was half height), but ran the other two and by that time the 30' gap had grown to about 100'. I knew that was trouble and I'd have to really make up time on the rest of the course. Since they ran 4 categories concurrently to make up for the hour delay, I started passing riders on the second lap, adding to the challenge. It was like racing on a bike path 'on your left', 'on your right', 'rider back'. We ended up doing 7 laps, and he won by about 100yds. So, I did gain on the rest of the course each lap, but couldn't overcome the advantage he got at the barriers. Nonetheless, I was psyched to finish 2nd and it was a real confidence builder!
Sienna Lake was a win for me last season so I had big hopes going into the day. I was excited about the "crossy" weather we were having. I had a good start but was still about 7th wheel. I wanted to be toward the front going into the ditch so I put in a bit of an effort to move up. Going into the ditch I was 4th wheel and got stopped on the "out" portion by another rider sliding out. Exactly what I was trying to avoid. Oh well. I settled into a group of 3 or 4 other girls and slowly moved up. Eventually I was in 3rd but just didn't have it to close down any gap. My effort was fine but I rode more timidly than I should have so I was a little disappointed. Funny thing is the top 3 riders were the same as last year just a different order. Congrats to Karen and Kristin on great rides!
Sunday I didn't know what to expect. An urban CX race was something that hadn't been done before but I have to say it was a blast! My race was the last of the day and as expected it was a small field. My friend Lisa and I established a solid gap right from the gun. About 1/2 way thru the 1st lap we came to a flyover that hadn't been used all day. Surprise! Nothing like unexpected course changes! Towards the end of the first lap I got a bit of a gap on her but knew she wouldn't let up. I could feel her chasing me down, probably with her trademark smile! It was fun to get the win and participate in a cool new event. The podium was even cool. Spray painted 1,2,3 on corrugated aluminum siding, right outside the bar that was used for registration and the fans were super fun. Thanks to Dierdre for putting on a well run event.