Sunday, October 18, 2009

First Cyclocross Race, Done!

Well, had my first cyclocross race yesterday!

And I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Granogue was rainy, muddy, cold, and miserable. But when I was carrying my bike up a hill sinking 6 inches into mud and trying to cough up whatever was stuck in my throat that was making it hard to breathe, coach Ken (Rutgers Cycling's awesome coach) yelled, "having fun yet?"

And before it really registered, I yelled back, "I kinda am!"

So I guess it was fun!

It was freezing rain and my sister was pointing out that my hair was actually freezing. I had to change in Matt's truck and he lent me embrocation to keep my legs warm- thanks Matt! Don wasn't there to go over the course with me, I couldn't find Blake, and we got lost en route to the race. By the time I was lining up, I was thinking "crap, can I just not race?"

Of course, we all know that that's never an option, so I rolled out with the rest of the women. I've never ever ridden in mud before, it's insane. You're sliding, you're slipping, you're almost falling, you're literally spinning your wheels and not moving. It's amazing what your body can do that you didn't expect. Even at the first lap, I had one foot down leading my bike, I was dismounting comfortably, and I was almost always able to clip back in, despite my shoes literally being coated with 3 inches of mud, leaves, and grit. I got smacking in the face with a thorn, fell in the deepest mud, tripped on one of the pieces of tape marking the course, cramped up my hands braking so hard, almost cut my side with my crank, twisted not one but two knees, slammed my pelvis into my stem and literally cried while riding because it hurt so much, fell about a million times, dropped my bike once, but finished the race, and wasn't last!

It was messy and it was wild- I think I'll do it again. I'm not amazing at it, but then again, it was a highly technical course in the hardest conditions that you could be stuck racing in. So I feel ok about it- it was a good first race in the sense that it'll never get harder than that. I hope. And Dad adds that if it is ever harder than that, especially weather-wise, we aren't going. He and my sister were awesome, as was the rest of the team, cheering for me.

And I have triathlon to thank for my doing semi-decently. It was clearly a runner's race, and even better, a triathlete's race. I have upoer body strength that most women don't have from swimming and weight lifting, so I can move my bike easier and faster, and I'm a runner, which most of them aren't. So while they kicked my ass whenever we were riding (or most of the time, anyway), I was passing them like crazy on the runs. Ha! And the guys make fun of me for being a triathlete...

So first 'cross race down. I'm not in love, but I have a bit of a crush on the sport. We'll have to see how the next race goes, but it is great to be racing in general. I don't know that I could go for more than a month without some kind of race- I may hate not getting to sleep in on weekends, but any kind of racing is good for me, it teaches me how to keep my nerves calm and focus.

So yeah. Bring on Highland Park Cyclocross in two weeks- should be an adventure!


Big Daddy Diesel said...

Good job on your first race. Glad your not in love, cuz you need a tri bike more then a cyclocross bike

Molly said...

my thoughts exactly!!