Joan took the 35+ victory at Schoolyard Cross this past weekend. She and many other Naked racers have been competing every weekend since CX season started! View all pics from the event at sportifimages.com. Cover photo by Dejan Smaic.
For those of you who missed the Schoolyard Cross race this year, you really missed out. The promoters mapped out a new course and it was ten times better than last year’s course. Everyone who raced was very excited with the new course design. Thank you to Clint Bickmore and his crew for all your hard work on this race.
Cross racing is an interesting hobby, you ride around in the dirt/grass on skinny tires, going as hard as you can for 45 min, tongue hanging out and potentially drool running down your chin. I’m not quite sure which of these aspects appeals to me, but it’s a hoot. There is an awesome group of people out there doing it and they are all having fun (for the most part)!
The cross atmosphere is great. You can go watch and maybe even try it out for those of you who are considering racing, but haven’t done it yet. The people are friendly and out to have a good time. Now don’t get me wrong, these people aren’t out there sipping tea, remember the part I mentioned about the drool running down your chin.
This past weekend my main goal was to not be the last one off the start line. At the last couple of races I’ve done, I’ve used that approach but it certainly wasn’t working well for me. Yes you have the advantage of getting to see all of the lovely ladies you are racing with, but after the race is a better time for this. So after a good warm-up, we were off and I was up in the front with a handful of the other ladies.
The course was fun, even better at race speed than in the warm up. After the first lap we had a bit of a gap starting to form. I just wanted to stay as far in the front as I could and keep the top girls within a bike’s length distance. The fly up was a bit exhilarating as I had never ridden over one on my cross bike before, but basically harmless. There were a couple of corners out in the grassy section that caught me off guard, but I put some markers up in my mind so that wouldn’t happen again. Going into the last couple of laps I was riding in 2nd position behind Tracy Yates who has once again been riding really strong this year and has a number of wins under her belt already. At some point, I felt like I could give a little more so I made the pass around Tracy and take the lead of the race. Then the thoughts started racing through my head: what was I doing in the lead? What if I crash? Am I going to slow, too fast? I was more nervous being out there and tried to make sure I didn’t panic, go all out and crash which I have managed to avoid this weekend for a change. I focused on trying to catch as many of the women from the SW open group as I could, while maintaining my composure (picture that with snot/drool all over your face). Tracy was hot on my wheel and I knew one little slip up would cost me the race.
I managed to hold it together during the last lap and rode through the finish line in 1st place!!!! It felt great to win. Although I have to admit, it feels good to finish any of these races.