This weekend brought the final two races of the regular Colorado CX season. It also brought cold weather, with Saturday's temps in the 20's to 30's with calm, sunny skies. First up was the final of the Boulder Racing series, held at the Boulder Reservoir. This series is really well run and definitely caters to the racer, with their own chip timing system that allows near real-time updates on place, even during races! I know this isn't revolutionary, but it does set them apart on the decidedly low tech cross scene where hand completed, carbon triplicate forms are still used for registration! The course they set for this race made extensive use of the sand section along the shore, allowing us to practice these seldom used skills. Sunday's race was the second race put on by Green Mountain Sports at the Lookout Mtn course in Golden and is already being referred to as Tundra CX. An arctic front had moved in overnight, bringing a dusting of snow and temps in the teens to low 20's, add in the wind chill and we were single digits most of the day. The course was similar to the RLW course done earlier this year, just run backwards, bumpy, twisty, and not a lot of open passing lanes, so it required strategic riding.
On my initial recon ride of Saturday's course, I didn't love it, but as I continued to do warmup laps and dial tire pressure, I started liking it more. Plus, this was a chance to run our Dugast Pipistrello file tread, which we rarely get to use! I got a second row callup, but had a horrible start, rolling into the course in about 25th place and knowing I had my work cut out for me. I've always ridden fairly well in sand, however, and this day was no exception. I found myself riding sections that nearly everyone else ran and the resulting cheers pushed me along. I was passing riders in small groups and managed to get up to the back of the top 10. Going into the last lap, I was driving hard to catch 8th place when I overcooked a turn and fell hard on frozen sand (which is really hard and abrasive!). All of a sudden 8th place was gone, and 10th was right on my wheel! I panicked a little and started messing up turns that had been no problem all race, allowing him to stay with me. Finally, I got a gap on the final pavement and was able to avoid a sprint finish. It was a good lesson in staying focused and calm during a race, and well timed with the most important races now coming into view.
Sunday morning I expected to see 4" of snow on the ground when I got up, but it was dry and bitter cold at our house. A couple miles from the venue, we finally saw a trace of snow on the ground, but that was about it. Since the cold would prevent melting, we knew it would be a loose course. During warmup I was having trouble staying warm. I liked the course and felt it flowed well, but my fingers and toes were really cold. For the start, I lined up with multiple baselayers on, and wore tights over my skinsuit. Even so, I was never warm during the race! I got an okay start, but rode really tentatively on the turns, overbraking and then having to waste energy getting back up to speed. All of this was causing me to drift backward in the field. Finally, with 2 laps to go, I forced myself to stay off the brakes and started to make progress. I was able to climb into 6th place overall, but left feeling a little hollow since I didn't think I rode that well.
Saturday's course at the Res was really fun. I loved all the sand and was excited to race! I had a decent start and raced pretty well but too many bobbles cost me some spots. However, I did finish 3rd in the Boulder Racing series which I was happy about.
Sunday's race in Golden was so cold (as Carl mentioned above!) I was the most bundled up I have ever been during a race. But I was still very excited to race. I had a great start and rode in the lead group the entire race. I wasn't as aggressive as I should have been and saved my passing attempt until too late. Aggressiveness...that's my goal for this coming weekend.
The finally weekend of local cross is upon us. The State Championships will be 2 great days of racing! Plus, Nick finally has his cast off and is VERY excited to get back on his bike!