Coach Cathy is getting her new bike dirty and testing the mud of cyclocross for the first time. Here’s her account of her first practice race with the Back to Basics CX series.
This Saturday will mark my third week since my first stab at cyclocross. The first day was spent figuring out how to clip in to new eggbeaters, falling, applying arnica to all my new bruises, and smiling – a lot. Aside from the time in 2008 when I tipped my precious daughter over in a bike trailer while pulling her on a MTB trail, I have not ridden on dirt since 1996. So, I was pretty excited that my fabulous husband cleaned up a used CX bike he found for me on Craigslist!
Fast forward through a few weeks of neighbors looking at me like I’m crazy for riding in my yard in circles to yesterday, the first practice race in the Back to Basics CX series. I showed up to a course I was vaguely familiar with from the four hour clinic I had done the weekend prior (thanks to Joe Strandell and crew). I did one wobbly lap to warm up, and headed to the start. Ten minutes should be plenty of time to warm up, no? It turns out no amount of warm up would have prepared me for what was to come!
I was called up first because I preregistered first, an advantage for about the first lap. The official called 15 seconds and we were off. The first lap was crazy fun! I quickly realized exactly who the mountain bikers were, and I was not one of them. I corner like I’m in a criterium, which doesn’t bode well with loose dirt. I crashed at least once. My husband informed me that “If you’re able to get up and keep going then you call that a ‘get off'”. OK, so I unintentionally got off my bike, which meant I lost a bunch of places. Sorry to fellow teammate, Sara Clark, for doing that in front of you. I carried on, made up a place or so during a dismount, and promptly gave that back during the remount. As the race progressed I got sloppier and slower, but realized that I was having so much fun I was smiling. Dead last, super clumsy, but happy, and covered in dirt! I had random racers who I’d just met cheer me on. I’m not sure how they could speak while riding, but I thought that was nice.
After the race I realized a few things: 1) I need lots of practice in the dirt and remounting 2) Cyclocross is hard work. TTs are pretty hard, but your mind cannot wander at all in ‘cross. There’s always something to do and watch out for on the course. 3) Practice remounts (I know it’s listed already – I just need lots of work)
Congrats to Sara for staying upright and finishing in great form!
I’m off to figure out how to remount, corner, run, and add 15 minutes of fitness to an insanely fun event. I hope to see you at next Wednesday’s race, and (gulp) at a weekend race too!