Monday, September 20, 2010

charming race in the charm city

Can you tell how much fun I'm having? (Note the eyes rolling skyward wondering when the heck this lap is going to be over. Hey, when you just ran up stairs with a bike, it's a reasonable thing to wonder!)

Seriously though, I'm so stoked to be back racing with my all-time favorite teammates again! We had a full weekend in Charm City (Baltimore) at this fabulous park- Druid Hill- where I had actually been before with a great old friend of mine years ago. We played frisbee and rode our bikes then, but it was a little different this weekend. For one thing, I wore way more spandex this weekend.

We got to Baltimore super late on Friday night, but luckily we had a lovely apartment to stay at (thank you Don!!) We all passed out pretty soon after getting there, despite the fact that we all had wanted to stay up and watch Top Gun, thanks to listening to Pat's CX2010 mix on the way down, which heavily featured songs from the movie.

The next morning, David and I left before everyone else, since he raced at 9 and I raced at 11, while the other guys weren't starting until noon. We managed somehow to get our stuff set up and together, and David had a great 2nd race ever. I was getting a little nervous, since it was my first race of the season and I had no idea how it would go.

The race was heavy on cornering, had a regular set of barriers, a set of stairs, and a huge barrier made out of the wooden barrier surrounding a giant tree in the park. It was fine for the guys with long legs to jump over but us short folk needed to hop up and over:

(My right leg has a crazy intense quad muscle showing here, I think it's hilarious.)

Anyway, I didn't have an amazing start, but I had fun and didn't embarrass myself too much. I won't go into a big race report, mainly because it all happened very very fast so it's mostly a blur at this point, but I managed to pass a few people and finished 27th out of 42 or so Cat3/4 women. I'm a cat3 in road, but definitely a cat4 in cyclocross!

Here's the crazy off camber turn- it doesn't look like much but the course was so dry it was falling out from under you as you rode. I take serious pride in the fact that I didn't have to put a foot down at any point during it though!

Going into a corner, looking over at Pat, who was busy yelling at me to go faster!

Sunday was day 2, and it was a lot more fun! For one thing, my good friends from Philly were racing, so got to hang with Dan, Brendan, and Gerry (who all totally killed it in their races.)

My race started out even worse than Saturday's race, I didn't get clipped in until we hit the grass, so I was way behind. Fortunately, that just made me want to work harder to make up the ground I lost, so I started really pushing it and taking more risks than I normally would have. So it all worked out to some extent.

However, at the end it became very very clear that I am, in fact, a road racer as opposed to a cross one. The final bit was a stretch of road, and there were three girls ahead of me when I hit it. In a sprint finish, I managed to pass all of the girls, one of them literally on the line by less than a saddle length, so I finished in 22nd in a field of 45 or so.

Not great results, but a little better than most of last year, and I'm super-focused on improvement. My major limiter is clearly my lack of ability to remount, and it costs me a lot of time. My handling can use some work as well, and I definitely need to work on starts and accelerations, but the remounting is top priority.

I'm getting serious about CX, despite my prior assertions that this was my fun season, since a trip to Nationals is potentially in the works if I actually perform well enough over the next few weeks. The bright side of that is that a full training schedule for a CX pro is under 15 hours a week, so that's pretty awesome. It just means that I'll do a couple shorter runs, and maybe one swim just for recovery purposes, but mainly focus on riding and on skills. I need the time off from a serious triathlete schedule, and this fits the bill pretty perfectly. Plus it'll get me ready to switch back to short course, since it's a lot of focus on high intensity and I've been in low for quite some time now. I'm excited about how this season is shaping up, and very nervous since I have some real goals for the season now that I may not have had before. But above all, having fun is still ranked #1!


Tim Rugg said...

Short hours of training for cross, and you don't have to do 8am starts... it's the best!

That Raleigh CX bike is sick and I'm probably going to copy you. Looks like military issue.

David said...

Don't forget the two sand pits... I certainly didn't forget them as they unforgivingly sapped my energy every single lap. Fun times.