Britt just keeps getting faster and continues to rip legs off. Congrats on the top step of the podium!
I am so happy there is a SW3 category for CX this year. This is the first year that Cat 3 women don’t have to line up with the elite women’s field. And guess what? There are 3’s coming out to race!
Sunday was the Without Limits’ Flatirons Cyclo-X ‘cross race, and 18 Cat 3 women lined up to race. For a women’s field, for a race category that hasn’t existed before, that’s an exciting number. There were also 32 Cat 4 women, and looking at their finishing times, several won’t be 4’s for long. And now they have a not-scary place to go.
We arrived early Sunday for my boyfriend’s single-speed race at 8 AM. I love watching the single-speeders, but have been particularly impressed with Megan Hottman (the cyclist lawyer) for lining up with some seriously strong men this season.
After Justin’s race, the elite women raced, and I noticed that one of my “rivals” (Kristen is super nice, and super strong, and has beaten me at several races) was again racing SW Open prior to her SW3 race. I was beginning to feel kind of lazy, because I knew Megan Hottman would also be racing again in the 3’s.
After the SW Open, I began to warm-up. The course looked tough—lots of climbing, lots of energy-sucking grass. After a couple laps though, I was feeling pretty good about it. The dismounts were not going to be smooth for anyone; the hill up to each barrier was steep and you lost all momentum before you swung your leg off your bike. One remounting area was also awkward; right at the top of the grassy hill where you would want to remount was a curb. If I tried to remount before the curb, I wouldn’t be fully on my bike as I went over it, so
I’d have to run another 10 feet to get off the grass, over the curb, and onto the paved road, 500m from the finish. But the rest of the course was fast and climb-y, which works well for me.
As I warmed-up, I found my teammates, Amanda Bye and Cathy Goodheart. We talked about various parts of the course to watch for and rode around a bit more, eventually heading to the start line for call-ups. Just before call-ups, our roadie teammate, Katie Harrer, appeared with hugs and tons of positive energy to cheer us on and watch her first CX race.
I lined up in the second row, and as usual had a less than stellar start. I spent the first half of the first lap just trying to make up ground. Then things started to look up. I caught Megan towards the end of the second lap, and spent the third lap chasing down Kristen. I caught her, passed her on the climb, and then she came around me. I held on. I knew if I could stay with her until the climb, I’d have a decent chance.
As we made our way up the hill for the fourth time, I came around her again. As I got to the top, I did everything I could to open up a gap, and almost slid out as I braked for the 90 degree corner. The 5th and final lap, she was on my wheel, and I kept reminding myself that every time I touched my brakes, I lost time. As we came to that final awkward remount, Kristen was right behind me. And I was sure she’d get around me—I have terrible remounts: I double and triple hop all over the place, and my pedals are never where my feet want them to be.
I’m 500m from the finish and having my worst remount of the day! I cannot find my pedals and I’m waiting for Kristen to come blasting past me to take the win. I find one pedal, have grass clogging my other cleat, and push as hard as I can to get to the line (it’s so close—it shouldn’t take this long!). I cross the line just barely in the lead and win my first Cat 3 cross race! I’m excited, but it takes a few minutes before I have enough energy to do anything about the drool and snot all over my face, much less express excitement. Luckily, Katie was there to document that utterly exhausted feeling.