Sunday, November 12, 2006

Race report: State CX championship

This was a well-designed course and a tough one! Lynne, Morgan and I headed out and got there fairly early, which is a good thing because registration was running slow and some people didn't get to pre-ride the course or warm up. Fortunately I got to ride a few laps so I felt fairly prepared. There were a lot of fans and spectators, which is awesome. People were cheering, some even brought cowbells, and it was great hearing people cheer for me and everyone else out there working hard! Some people recognized me from this blog, and many were just cheering for everyone, so even 'go Cat6 guy!' is encouraging when you're struggling up that hill! Believe me, even though I may not acknowledge it when I've got my pain face on, it makes the race even more fun!
__LGR (formerly Cat 6) Peter's wife Rachel did her first race. The first time she ever got on a cyclocross bike we all went out to Powderhorn to practice, and she was mounting and dismounting like a pro instantly. She was really nervous about her first race, and she's really competitive so she didn't want to race until she was sure she had a chance at winning. I think she was too nervous and probably not well prepared for an actual race since she missed the clinics, but it was good to see her come out and I expect great things from her next year. She looked so cute in her pop art jersey and matching pink helmet that people were telling her to line up with the juniors!
__The course started on a wide gravel road with some squirrely parts, and then went up a lip from the road to the grass of the park which also caused people some problems. Then through some bumpy grass and turns to the only barrier on the course, then a cool tight S turn to slow everything down before the run/ride-up. The hill was just barely rideable, and there was no barrier to force a dismount. People were riding and running it at about the same speed, so I chose to ride it and avoid the time of mounting and dismounting. Unfortunately I pulled out of my pedal a couple of times, so I had to run half of the hill once. At the top of the hill was the finish line, then a a super tight 180 and then back down the hill. At the bottom of the hill was a sweet sweeping turn at speed and then a 180 back to the gravel road. Again some skills were needed to handle the gravel and the lip back down to the road. A short run on the hill then a turn into the wooded singletrack, and then the awesome terraced stairs runup! That was sweet, and I'd been practicing them all season, so I had the perfect rhythm up the stairs. The stairs put you at the top of the hill again, then a tight S turn that a lot of people had trouble with. After that we flew down the other side and swept around to the crushed limestone trail. Unfortunately the C racers didn't get to go down to the creek parallel to the trail and back up for a little mud action, which really sucked, but I guess I'll just have to earn my B upgrade by next year! From the trail we came back around to the gravel road for another round.
__This course was a great cyclocross course for several reasons. The start was wide and long so people could sort out their positions before getting into anything that would bottleneck the racers. The pit was accessible from two sides of the course. Barriers were only used in one place, and natural barriers (the stairs and creek) were used for the rest of the dismounts. There were ample spots for spectators to watch and could easily walk to different parts of the course. A good mix of grass, gravel, mud (for the Bs and As anyway) and paved (limestone actually, but very fast) sections were used. All in all a course straight from the technical manual for a good CX course - great job Kenwood!
__It should have been a Steven-friendly course, but something strange happened. I got a great start, but after the hill my legs felt odd, kind of like what Lynne describes as having 'no blood in the legs' when she's suffering the effects of Celiac. I'd never felt it before, and when it hit I was very frustrated and was as close to dropping out as I've ever been during a cyclocross race. Nevertheless I eased up and was passed by most of the field. I started feeling better later, but it was too late then, so I just finished the race and got in a workout. Not sure what it was, but it sucked! Most certainly have to see a doctor about exercise-induced asthma, since I seem to feel better when I puff Lynne's Albuterol before a race, which I didn't do yesterday. We stayed for the B race and part of the A race and enjoyed some yummy chili. I got some video for the contest, so it will be fun to put that together - stay tuned!
__After the race there was a party at One On One. We got to socialize and Lynne won a gift certificate which she gave to me because I usually stop in there before my yoga class. Karla's mom raced and came out to the party, and attracted the attention of some of the older guys! She seems like a cool mom.
__Coming up: Wisconsin state championship in Madison next weekend, then Jingle Cross Rock! The awesome pictures are from Skinnyski - be sure to buy some pictures or subscribe to the site to support the awesome photos! My order's coming...