CSI Cyclocross Weekend 2013


It seems like every time I sit down to write about a race, I always want to convey how excited I was about the event–how much I look forward to it.  Each race is different and special. Northampton is my home (or thereabouts) and is special for that reason, but it’s more than that. This is the oldest UCI race in the country, and in its 23rd year, the race has taken place at Look Park for many years now.

This weekend is the ONE weekend I have ALL YEAR that is ALL MINE. My son is away with my ex. My significant other is away on business. And there is a huge 2 day cyclocross extravaganza practically in my backyard. I look forward to this weekend all year.

So you can imagine how bummed out I was when I started to feel like a tired piece of crud on Thursday. I started popping Zicam like candy on Friday and by Saturday morning, I was still feeling abnormally fatigued and a bit sneezy. Not to mention, I haven’t been riding much the last month  Work, fading daylight, and increasing demands of my son’s schedule have made rides few and far between. Now that I’ve properly explained away why I did so crappy, I’ll tell you about the races.

Day 1-Saturday

Course was slightly moist, not really muddy, but greasy in spots. I got a really terrible start. Too much hesitation in front of me and I was caught in the dominos. On the first pass of the run-up, I was forced right, up the steepest, least climb-able part of the hill. The racer in front of me slipped and lost control of her shouldered bike and hit me, and then the same thing happened to me.  I practically dragged the bike up the steepest part of the hill.  It was ugly.

By this lap I had the run up practically to myself.  Much better.

By this lap I had the run up practically to myself. Much better.

Then we were in the woods, which I liked.  The course twisted and turned and spit us back down onto the flat and fast grass, taking us down a swift singletrack.  On the grass there was lots of sprinting and braking and turning and more sprinting.  The second run up wasn’t anything to sneeze at, and wound us through the woods again, and onto my favorite addition to this course.  A very mountain-bike-esque set of dirt turns through trees with minor elevation changes.  I LOVED this section.  It was just plain fun and challenging enough to keep the best riders on their toes.  I think I liked it because it was hard without being dangerous.  Perfect.

Some choose to run the mountain-bikey section of the course.  A tactical decision, but I think more fun to ride it!!

Some choose to run the mountain-bikey section of the course. A tactical decision, but I think more fun to ride it!!

I did, however, crash in this section.  My first actual crash in a race.  The rider in front of me spilled and forced me into deep unstable soil and I went ass over tea kettle.  She quietly apologized (Cat 3/4 Women as very polite racers I’ve discovered) but I hopped back on and kept going (and so did she).  No worries.  This was all part of the adventure.

P1040807

Some of the fellas on the same section. Larger fields in the men’s categories mean more traffic.

After this the course shot us down a trail on over the railroad tracks.  If you had enough speed, you could catch air here.  I did every time and it was wicked fun.  Despite feeling like shit, I was having a good time.

If you look closely, I'm sticking out my tongue for the camera.

If you look closely, I’m sticking out my tongue for the camera.

Back on the grass it was power, power power……something we all know I’m short on.  I did my best and tried to ride hard and smooth.  I finished 60 out of 82 racers.  Now I shouldn’t feel too bad about this since the top 15 are all crazy good.  But this wasn’t the middle of the pack I was aiming for.  Sigh.  Being off the bike for nearly a month has its repercussions.

Crossing the finish.

Crossing the finish.

Day 2-Sunday

On Sunday, the two monster run ups were gone and the course was much, much faster.  The good news is I felt much better this day.  After spending Saturday hanging out with co-blogger Heather and new cycling friend Aileen drinking beer and eating pizza and watching the Elite races, I got some rest and Daylight Savings Time gifted me another whole hour of sleep.  Sunday was a new day.  The bad news is it was 15 degrees colder and fast courses eat me for breakfast.

Whatever.  I was there to race.  I decided that I was going to leave it all out there on the course,  Save nothing!  I lined up and had a much better start.  I was more aggressive and sprinted when things opened up.  I had contact with riders for 3 of the 4 laps, playing cat and mouse with several.  By the 3rd lap things had shaken out and riders were stretched through the course. I stayed on the wheel of one rider for a half a lap until she shook me and steadily opened a gap on me that was too big to overcome.  I worked on keeping myself enough ahead of whoever was left behind me.

Coming off the barriers I tried to keep things moving quickly on the grass.

On day 2–coming off the barriers I tried to keep things moving quickly on the grass.

I sprinted for the finish alone, finishing 62 of 75.  A worse result than Saturday.  I was a bit mystified by this because I really felt like I raced this one, rather than just survive it.  I think this just illustrates how much better I do in technical sections than on flat open sections.  I am no sprinter, I am not fast. I like dicey technical stuff.

So a great weekend all in all.  I really would like a full CX experience by having a really sloppy muddy race.  Or snow.  Most of my races (this year and last) have been very dry.  The muddiest race so far has been Providence.  I’d love to see how I do in some terrible conditions.

-Karen

MORE PICS:

Run up #2 on Day 1-Women's Elite race.

Run up #2 on Day 1-Women’s Elite race.

More run up!

More run up!

Coming out of the woods.

Coming out of the woods.

Voted best kit by me and Heather :)  I think even Cycling Fashionista Aileen approved.

Voted best kit by me and Heather :) I think even Cycling Fashionista Aileen approved.

P1050063

Anthony Clark on the run up.

Anthony Clark on the run up.

Tags: , , ,

About Karen

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

2 responses to “CSI Cyclocross Weekend 2013”

  1. Laura says :

    You are a beast! I love reading your race reports. Keep on kicking ass!

  2. All Seasons Cyclist says :

    Nice photos! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 964 other followers

%d bloggers like this: