Racing bikes is fun! As someone who is very new to bike racing (and bike riding in general), I was a little nervous going into my first cyclocross race. Over the spring and summer, I worked very hard to build the fitness that I knew it would take to survive a ‘cross race, but “mommy training” means a lot of trailer rides and trainer time. These don’t exactly translate into good bike handling. The being said, this was maybe the most fun I have had on a bike, EVER.
The race start was a little intimidating, but luckily not many Cat 4 ladies wanted to brave the early, cold start and miles (okay, not really) of sand! Before I knew it we were off and riding. The first lap was a little scary and I had to work to control my heart rate (not really out of effort, but out of nervous excitement). Once we spread out a little bit, I felt much more comfortable. The course was hard and bumpy and there was a lot of “running” in the sand. Before I knew it, there was 1 lap to go and I hadn’t been lapped (goal accomplished)! I worked really hard to maintain my position and was excited (and shocked) to finish 5th in the race! By the time I was back at the car, I was already wondering which race I would do next.
It was an absolutely amazing experience and I am incredibly excited for the rest of the season!
Spectating 4 seasons of cyclocross gives you a good idea of what a course is kind of going to look like and luckily I have had some pretty cool people close to me racing and showing me how it is done. At the beginning of the season, I was not sure that I would want to be racing this course. Sure, everyone talks about how fun it is…but to me, there were some technical areas that I was not quite sure I could conquer. Maneuvering between trees with powdery sand and tree roots isn’t exactly something I see on the trainer often.
For some reason, I decided to give it a go anyhow. Why not, right?
The start of this race was a bit insane! There were 50+ women in my race and that meant lots of calls ups and starting WAY back. Yay being a newbie! When the whistle sounded, my large group of new friends and I raced up the first climb of the course. Climbing…on pavement…that’s my thing! I tried weaving my way around ladies (a little sketchy and scary!) and was in the upper half by the time we hit the dirt. Heart rate-HIGH…here comes the technical parts! There is a random log that most everyone else was able to ride over. My brain got the best of me and the flashbacks to people eating it over the log in previous seasons made me too tentative. I chose to run it and it cost me some time each lap (except the first! There were so many people there that I was able to run past quite a few), but I was able to gain most lost spots back on the upper straight section.
I managed to stay upright for all 4 laps (WIN!) and even LOVED the giant mud puddle that was present in the second half of the course. Passing people was a little tougher on this course and I ended up getting stuck in traffic a few times, but in the end I finished 18th (about the top 1/3) and was really excited with that! I finished filthy dirty and with a giant smile! I had to fight my 15 month old for my Fluid Recovery drink after the race because she loves it so much! Can’t wait for the next race.