My Cyclocross Season Kicks Off in 1 Week


And so it begins.

The Monson Cyclocross Race will be held just one week from today.  By this time next week, I’ll be one race in to a 10 race season (at least).  I’m hoping to feel tired, happy with my effort, and enjoying a burrito from La Casita Azteca.

I’ve been super busy these past few weeks, riding whenever I can and not feeling like I’m getting enough miles into my legs.  Last week I attended a CX clinic  near my office in Connecticut (I now work in CT).  It was only an hour long but I picked up some tips and identified some really bad habits that are classic to beginners.  Truthfully, I realized how out of practice I was with basic ‘cross skills–not that I had a ton of skills to begin with–I am still super new to this game.  I have just one week to smooth out my dismount and remount.  The barriers I need work on too–this is harder to replicate but I have a makeshift barrier I built last year I can resurrect for backyard practice.

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 10.07.39 PM

I couple of weeks ago I visited the site of the race and used the Strava Explore feature to walk parts of the course.  I wanted to ride parts, but my bored and uninterested son wasn’t having it…..so we hiked it instead.  I found a video as well, which helps me visualize mentally what to expect.

I have a friend riding in the Men’s Cat 4–actually my friend’s boyfriend, and his race goes at 9AM, while mine’s not until 2.  I’m hoping to get some tips from him after the fellas in his group break in the course.  I finally understand now the timing of getting a pre-ride in before the event–which in my opinion is crucial.  That too will help me prepare just before the event.

Monson’s course seems to be just the kind I like–lots of off-road stuff, technical, lots of turns, not just a grass crit.  That said, I’m in the Women’s Open category, which means I’ll get my ass handed to me by the rest of the field.  I’m a Masters Cat 4.  Those Cat 1, 2, and 3s will ride roughshod over me. So, time to review my goals (in order of importance) for this race and all others.

  1. Have fun.
  2. Finish.
  3. Stay upright.
  4. Don’t finish last.
  5. Middle pack.
  6. Top 50%

I usually hit the first 4 consistently.  I have touched the middle of the pack but it runs away from me in the middle of every race, I’m still chasing that one.  One of my overall goals for 2013 is to finish in the middle more often than not.  I doubt Monson will be the race where that happens.

Making the top 50% in a race is also a goal for me this year.  This is a little more dangerous for me to talk about.  I think this is well within grasp, but I don’t want to set myself up for too much disappointment, either.  We’ll see what happens.  I’m in better physical condition overall and have a lighter faster bike, but Goal # 1-HAVE FUN-should always take precedence over all other goals.  My competitive nature aside, the fun is in racing bikes with a bunch of other people crazy enough to love cyclocross as much as you do.

At the CX Clinic, I overheard some attendees talking just before it started.  One guy said “I can’t believe I’m doing this.  I’m a triathlete, you cyclocrossers are crazy.”  Another rider replied, “Are you kidding?  Triathlons are the crazy sport!”  And that’s just it–right there.  There’s no shame in this game.  We’re all out here to have fun and challenge ourselves.  We all work up in our heads why we aren’t going to be good at something, why we might fail, why this all might not work out. But we still show up, and say what the hell?  You only live once.  And then get on our bikes and slip behind the tape.

Cyclocross season is starting.  Come play with us.

-Karen

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About Karen

When I was 10, I used to think I was the bionic woman.

5 responses to “My Cyclocross Season Kicks Off in 1 Week”

  1. OutsideKMA says :

    Yes! So great to meet a fellow female cyclocross racer and blogger on WordPress! I knew I would eventually find my peoples. Question for ya: how many women typically participate in a Conn. CX race? More than a dozen?

    • Karen says :

      Are you in CT?

      • OutsideKMA says :

        Florida. It’s a small, but growing sport – relative to the NE coast (and, of course, Europe). This will be my second full season of CX (Cat 3). Our season doesn’t start until late September.

    • Karen says :

      CX is really on fire, especially among women. It’s an exciting time to be involved. Keep me posted on how it goes. I’m still a Cat 4 but hoping to move up to 3 by the end of the season…..

  2. Karen says :

    It varies–I only did 2 or 3 CT races last year and it would be 12-18….but the sport is growing…..I just checked the Monson race and 25 women are prereged for tomorrow! Woot!

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