Tag Archives: Cyclocross
Emily getting creative for those of us with short….hey a pony!
Cyclocross is well-suited to those with short attention spans. The national champion agrees. He has ADD, and says his weapon in ‘cross is being able to concentrate for the duration of the race.
Think about it: within a 60-second span in a ‘cross race, you can ascend two nearly impassable hills, dismount your bike and run over multiple obstacles, ride through a sandbox and power-slide through about 20 turns, all the while trying to stay upright through ice, mud and ruts. Even with all those things to concentrate on, my mind will wander everywhere from the type of pedal the girl in front of me rides to… what was I saying?
In recognition of this sport that caters to the attention deficit, and an era that rewards the same, here is a recap of my season, each race report wrapped up in under 140-characters, with gratuitous hashtags and terrible puns — some of which I came up with mid-race while attempting to dissociate from the excruciating pain I was causing myself.
Pikes Peak Velo Campus Cross
Kick It CX Festival and TT
My first love (cyclocross) and my worst enemy (time trials) join forces to glorious results #CrossContamination
Boulder CX Series #1 — Valmont Park
Won yesterday’s TT that supposedly determined call-ups, yet somehow got last call-up. Then got stung by a wasp during the race. #BadToWorse
Boulder CX Series #2 — Xilinx
Started with Katie Compton in my first race as a Cat. 3. Didn’t get lapped, less than 5 mins down. #CrossedOffTheBucketList #SmellsLikeKFC*
*This may be too obscure. The national champion — currently the top-ranked woman cyclocross racer in the world — Katie Compton’s nickname is KFC, for Katie Effin Compton, as in when you show up to a race thinking you’re going to do well, then you realize that Katie Effin Compton showed up
USGP SmartWool Cup day 1
Dry race, raining and muddy the rest of the day while I stood at the venue coaching Boulder Junior Cycling juniors and waiting for the elite race #WorstOfBothWorlds #MudFestAndNoInviteUSGP SmartWool Cup day 2Don’t drink the water #IllegalHandUp #AlmostDQd #ReadYourRaceBible
Colorado Cross Classic
Sunrise reflected off the mountains and then reflected into the Boulder Res as I raced along the sandy banks #TotallyTubular
Wanted to race in Mexican wrestler mask to celebrate Halloween, but opted for full vision in stead #CrossDressin
DFL>DNF>DNS #PedestrianCrossing — Still recovering from last weekend’s post-race bonk. Respect the 30-minute rule. #CrossFade
USGP Derby City Cup day 1 in Louisville, KY
#CrossPolinated the Kentucky field. #ChickenCrossedTheRoad
USGP Derby City Cup day 2 in Louisville, KY
Spent more time packing and unpacking bikes than I did racing. A lot more. Wish it counted as chamois time. #CrossCategorize
Boulder CX Series #4 — South VBP
Maybe doing Valmont Park backwards has turned the world on its axis and that’s why there’s no winter. It’s late November and I’m not wearing knee sox because it’s too hot. #HotCrossBuns
Big Ring Cycles CX
Girl I passed in final 30 secs of the race: “I almost puked trying to hold you off.” Krispy Kreme hand-up, Naked mimosas and Shit Show Hill
Feared DFL at BOD CX. Considered DNF. VO2 maxed. FML #CrossWordPuzzle
Season ain’t over yet! There’s still states in the open field. States and I don’t have a great history, as I got friendly with the pavement last year, but it wasn’t very friendly back.
Also, I was insane enough to register for the elite national championships. The points predictor has me third-to-last, in front of one girl who I have only beaten once.
While us Colorado folk were playing in the dirt, snow and cold last weekend, Emily Zinn was tearing up the CX scene in Louisville, KY at the USGP. Here’s her account of racing in the ‘dirty’ south.
Wearing Naked kit in Kentucky is like being in a celebrity entourage. Can’t pedal three strokes without someone stopping you to ask if you know Rachel Scott. The entire state seems to have voraciously followed her movements on Facebook, and everyone in Kentucky knows that she sold her cyclocross bike for a Specialized mountain bike, yet still asked if she would be racing that day.
Pro. Not only was it a USGP, it is the site of the first EVER world championships outside of Europe. “The first city outside of Europe to host a cyclocross world championship is Louisville, KY!?” you ask. Yes. And deservingly so.
Unless you are Adam Craig, there are a minimum of four dismounts, and not wimpy little grab-my-bike-and-run-over-a-couple-barriers dismounts, but crazy-steep stairs, limestone steps, and, if you missed your line, the Clif Bar Sand Land. Sounds fun, like going to the beach with a shovel and castle-shaped bucket, right? Yeah, it’s nothing like that.
On form. A sampling for your enjoyment:
“Can you believe they let that girl race naked? Shameless.”
“That’s it, nice and easy. It’s not like it’s a race or anything.”
“Just remember, you paid to do this.”
“Touch my monkey.”
“Chase the unicorn.” Side commentary: I think this is Peloton Don!
“Katie Compton is right on your tail.”
“Isn’t it uncomfortable to race naked?”
Race report from day 2, as it ran through my head at the time:
Me on the line, to the girl next to me: “You’re Emma, right?”
Girl next to me: “Nope.”
Me: “Right. Are you Emma? Who’s Emma?”
Very young and cute winner of both days, quietly: “I am.”
Me: “Sweet! Awesome job yesterday! You’re coming to Boulder to train with Ingrid Alongi on the track, right! Excellent! Look me up when you get there! I can’t wait for you to come out riding with us!”
Emma: “I’m excited to come.”
Girl next to me shifts, unclips, swings leg over and turns her crank. Really? Panic. Is she going to get stampeded? Look over and see marshall is rolling his eyes and waiting. She swings her leg over. Gun goes off immediately.
Launch. Clip. Push. Sweet, second to the grass. Now I’ve just got to hold this for, like, a few minutes so I can be top-3 into the sand and not have to run.
Did they add more stairs to this permanent staircase during the night last night? Sneaky buggers.
My Norwegian friend was talking yesterday about how hard he was “breading” in his race. Yes, the heavy breading has already begun.
Already to the alligator swamp. Means the second pit is coming up.
Cool, neutral support is cheering for me. Or perhaps for that other girl named Emily that has been right with me the whole time and I tell myself that the cheers from people I don’t know are all for me. Either way, doesn’t seem very neutral.
Gnats don’t really fly into your eye, you ride into the gnat. Do young gnats have nightmares about giant eyes coming at them at a speed they can’t out-fly? How long does a gnat stay alive squirming in my eyeball after I ride into it?
I hope that’s really a unicorn in kit and I’m not delirious. They haven’t even started counting off laps yet. I could have eight laps to go, for all I know, and I’m already seeing unicorns. The bubbles are definitely real, though. Must look for photos after the race. Hope there’s a sweet one of me bursting through bubbles as I fly over the barriers.
I better not close my mouth, because it’s so dry my tongue might stick to the roof of my mouth like it does when I lick ice and I won’t be able to open it again for the rest of the race.
That Strava segment is only like 20 feet of flat with no turns. Why didn’t they put the Strava segment on any of the many actually cool features? I should go for it, anyway. If you can’t win the race, you might as well win the Strava segment. Wait, Katie Compton is riding this Strava segment.
This is so off-camber it wouldn’t even recognize camber any more. This would be hilariously stupid in the mud. Some people would probably crawl it. I wish it were muddy and I were crawling this section for others’ enjoyment.
It was so thoughtful of all these hecklers to come out with rubber chickens and stuffed monkeys and gramophones to tell me I’m sucking in clever ways. It’s early in the morning and nobody ever comes out to heckle. I should buy them a beer or something. There are too many of them. I’ll just touch the monkey each lap in stead. Next lap I’m gonna grab the monkey and stuff it down my skinsuit for a lap. That will never work. My skin suit is way to tight to accommodate me and a monkey.
Louisville, KY is the greatest place on earth to race cyclocross. And then after, you can go to Sergio’s World Beers and Belgian TFU with legit Belgian beers that actual Belgian cyclists have wrung out their skinsuit into, it’s that legit. Sergio knows just about everything about beer… but doesn’t know what the sign on his own, unmarked establishment says.
Most importantly, the biggest event ever in American cyclocross is happening in Louisville, KY, on February 3 and you definitely want a ticket to that action.
Denver’s 1st Annual Mile High Urban Cross Chaos in an industrial area of Denver. This cyclocross race had the promise of being something new and different, mostly on paved roads with some off road terrain and it did not disappoint. The night before the weather forecast called for a few inches of snow and a significant decrease in temperature. I awoke to a dusting of snow and lots of ice. Fortunately the registration was brilliantly placed in a bar that provided external warmth and if needed internal as well in the form of whiskey.
The first few races were postponed due to icy conditions and the course not being melted enough to be safe. The SM 45+, 55+ and SW 4 all started within a few minutes of each other. It was about 17 degrees and the cold was almost unbearable. I had lathered on Embrocation that morning and to no avail. The first part of the race was on icy streets and then we crossed a railroad track and went off road to a section of mulch, dirt jumps, large rocks to maneuver, 4 small logs that one could hop over, a berm, two soft dirt hills, an off camber straight away to a sand pit (later a railroad tie was found in the sandpit) and barriers to either run or hop over. Then it was back to more icy roads before doing it all over again.
This race was unique in so many ways from the type of course, to the location and also having an awe inspiring Adaptive category for anyone who was physically challenged to participate in. Most people stayed a majority of the day to cheer other categories on. The power slides, beer and whiskey handups, bacon handups and overall fun atmosphere is what cross is all about.
I certainly hope this race returns again as this year has shown that even with the harshest elements, cyclocross racers will come out in full force and make it a party.
The Naked Women’s Racing team did well at this race with first and second place podiums in SW35+ and a second in SW4. Congrats also goes out to Angie Michalik for racing in SW 4 and a great big thank you to both Vera and Brittany Jones for coming out to cheer.
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.
The aspens are turning their golden color, the mornings have a crisp feel to them, you can’t stand to look at your road bike, let alone throw a leg over it and go for a ride…it can only mean one thing – it’s cyclocross season!
Cyclocross, or “cross” as it is called, halfway between mountain biking and road cycling. Those crazy enough to compete ride on bikes that resemble road bikes, with funky brakes, high bottom brackets, and tires that are knobby and slightly wider than road tires. They ride over road, dirt and if they have enough balance and power, through sand traps. Oh and they don’t just ride their bikes, cross racers jump off their bikes, hoist their bikes on top of their shoulders, and hop over wooden barriers, like show-jumping horses. And then jump back on. Rinse and repeat for 45-60 minutes and you have yourself a cross race.
Yes, it sounds crazy, and yes cross racers are a little crazy, but that is what makes it one of the most fun disciplines of cycling to watch. I tried my hand at racing cross for a few years and then realized that watching cyclocross was a whole lot more fun. So here are a few tips for watching a cross race this season:
1. Bundle up. Unless you’re watching an early-season cross race, that fall air can be chilly.
2. Bring a cooler stocked with beer. Break it out at the race and you’re bound to make a few new friends, perhaps even a thirsty racer looking for a cold refreshment mid-race. (See # 4, hand-ups, below, for more information.)
3. Find the best spectating spot early on and stake your claim. Unlike with road racing, the start/finish line is not always the best spot for spectating. The best spot is usually where you are bound to see some sort of mishap occur (JOEY!), and that is either at the barriers or a sand trap. Large crowds gather at these locations, so stake out your spot early.
4. Hand-ups are encouraging. Because cross racers need to put the bikes over their shoulders and run with them during races, cross bikes do not have water bottles cages. But the racers still get thirsty, so many will have a designated person providing them with water-bottle hand-ups. Other kinds of hand-ups are encouraged, including but not limited to, beer and dollar bills.
5. Come hungry. A lot of races will have food available for purchase. If you’re lucky, a vendor will be selling food that traditionally goes along with cross racing in Belgium, specifically waffles and frites (or fries in English). No further explanation needed. Commence drooling now.
6. More cow bell, please. Cow bells – those bells that you see in pastoral photographs of dairy cows frolicking in western European mountain meadows – are essential if you are going to be a certified cross spectator. Ring them loudly and often as racers ride by you. No need to own a cow in order to get a cow bell – you should be able to find them at your local bike shop and some races even hand them out.
7. Finally, costumes are not only highly acceptable but strongly encouraged, both for racers and spectators. Perhaps these strapping young lads doing their best Braveheart impression will inspire you. Kilts are not required, but this is the level of costume creativity to which you should aspire.
Now you are fully prepared to become a professional cross spectator. Go forth and drink beer, ring your cow bells, and fill your belly with waffles!
Top 10 Reasons To Race Cyclocross (By the way, you also get the opportunity to ride with the Amandas)
10. Skinsuits. Who doesn’t like a one-piece spandex outfit?
9. Gives you a reason to ride in the fall/winter. On days that you wouldn’t even consider training, you are racing.
8. Improves bike handling skills. Riding off road teaches all new skills that will help in every cycling endeavor.
7. Crashes that don’t land you in the hospital. Going over the handlebars in sand may hurt the ego and cause some scratches but typically no broken bones. Also see number #6
6. Great pictures. Whether you are crashing, walking or running with your bike, riding in mud, etc, all the pictures look amazing.
5. Other racers are competitive but not too serious. This is a great way to begin cycling.
4. Riding in the elements are fun. Any given weekend, there will be dirt, mud, snow, ice or sand to battle with while racing other riders.
3. Beer. Post (pre) drinking, beer is typically the liquid of choice but on really cold days expect some hot toddies and whiskey to keep you warm.
2. Spectators. Where do I begin? Handups (water, beer, hotdogs, bacon, whiskey, etc), cheering that keeps you going when your heart rate is at it’s peak, cowbells and the best fans of any sport.
1. Last but certainly not least. Knowing that you are a total bada**. Every weekend there are more cuts, bruises, going over handlebars, sliding out, dropped chains, flat tires, mechanical errors that are beyond explanation, torn skinsuits and then Monday morning co-workers think you are crazy until they see the pictures and are reminded that you are a bada**.
This my friends is what cross is all about.
Susan Adamkovic‘s recap perspective on the 2011 cyclocross season and lessons learned when racing. Susan, along with Joan and CB, worked to win the Senior Women’s 35+ Best-All-Around Team for TriBella Racing! And thanks to Susan’s husband, Peter, for his great photos.
Ahhh, that’s the end of it…Colorado’s cyclocross season that is. It chews you up and spits you out, but yet we keep coming back for more. It’s the only race where I willingly endure the below freezing temperatures and attempt to race my bike in snow, ice and mud, while I’m loving every minute (okay well almost every minute). One of the things I like most about ‘cross is that it’s a welcoming sport, we are constantly trying to get new recruits…why? Because it’s crazy fun…that’s why.
This year, I was amazed with our junior racers. No, these kids aren’t home on a Saturday morning watching cartoons, they’re out there racing bikes, like the big dogs and often times better than us. I think to myself, “why wasn’t I doing this when I was a kid?” Then I say okay, so I’m a kid, just a super-sized version.
Then I start to reminisce about my first CX race a few years back and laugh. All the questions….what do I race, Open or Masters? OMG, will I get lapped? How will I know when to stop? What will I do with my water bottle? Can I ride through the sand? What gear? Tire pressure? The questions are endless. What I learned is that both fields are tough, but welcome you with open arms (I chose Masters). I didn’t get lapped on this day, but it did eventually happen and it was at the BlueSky Velo venue when Georgia Gould showed up to race. They say look for the laps-to-go sign or listen for the cowbells. Okay I never noticed the lap sign and everyone is ringing bells, so yes I screwed it up, but I least I thought I had one more go and not vice versa. And of course since I thought I had one more lap to go I don’t bother with the girl who was trying to out sprint me at the line. She did and from then on, I learned to always sprint for the line, better to be safe than sorry, right?
Drink? who has time to drink? but sometimes I do and for that I have my husband Peter on the sidelines to hand me a bottle (in cycling we call this a feed). Oh, and in case you don’t know, typically it’s not a good idea to have a water bottle cage on your bike, because there are times you will need to shoulder the bike and the cage gets in the way.
SAND, oh yes, the SAND, bike it or run it, but it’s not a good idea to bike/run it….birunit?!? What I mean by that is, make up your mind prior arriving at the sandpit, because it’s a waste of valuable time
to try. Unless you’re a Pro, in which case everything you do looks effortless.
Gears, who needs stinkin’ gears? Alright, since I’m not Christina Begy, I need a few. I guess the most important thing here is to not run it in the big/small combo (known to most as cross-chaining),
then while doing that, shifting into the small ring in front and thus dropping the chain.
Last but not least, is the all important tire pressure. I run tubeless and would not race on anything but. Know the course conditions, run the right tire pressure and have one less thing to worry about.
I’m signing off on the 2011 season and I’m already planning for next year, Nats? Worlds?…maybe. But road and mountain season comes first. I hope for many things next year, but mostly to have fun!
DENVER, Colo–Denver-based women’s competitive cycling team TriBella Race Team delivered over 700 donated children’s books to Columbine Elementary School Wednesday, December 14, 2011. The TriBella Race Team is partnered with the charity Ride for Reading, a Nashville-based non-profit with a mission to promote literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to children from low-income neighborhoods.
“They all said thank you, thank you,” said Sharon Madison, TriBella Race Team member. “Santa Claus was coming to the school that day, so each kid is going to get a candy cane and a book.”
The TriBella Race Team is as passionate about volunteering as they are racing. While the cyclocross racers on the team were tackling the State Championships, winning the SW 35+ Best All Around Team, the other TriBella Race Team women were busy helping Community Cycles with the Kids Holiday Bike Giveaway in Boulder, Colorado Sunday, December 18.
“It’s a requirement to volunteer a minimum of 12 hours to be a member on our team,” said Rachel Scott, TriBella Race Team vice president. “We want to be good ambassadors for the sport and women’s cycling, and do so by not only racing hard, but taking the time to give back.”
The next Ride for Reading delivery hosted by the TriBella Race Team will take place at Barrett Elementary school on Friday, May 11th for National Ride for Reading week.
Race Report from Amanda Bye, who braved the snow and Cyclo X in Louisville with Joan, Susan, CB and Jenny.
Those who know me well or have read my biography on TriBella’s website know that I am always cold. Hence choosing cyclocross as a sport is perhaps not the best decision I have made. This weekend was a perfect example of how utterly cold and addicting cyclocross can be.
With approximately 9-12 inches of snow (depending on who was reporting) and a high of 21 degrees Fahrenheit, who was thinking, “Hey, maybe I should go ride my bike?” Many cross racers in Colorado had that thought and came out for the Louisville Cross Cup race which had a promise to be challenging and it did not disappoint. During the SM Open race the sun peaked out and gave hope that the temperature might raise to above freezing. However, this hope quickly diminished as the clouds rolled back in just before the SM 55+ and SW 4s race began.
The SW 4s race began on a muddy eight inch single track that had been carved out by previous racers. I feverishly struggled to bang snow and ice off of my cleats while trying to not veer off into the slick snow. This would remain the goal for the race. There were two barriers and a run up that was covered in ice and snow. Surprisingly that was not the biggest challenge of the course. There was another barrier, muddy run up and then a long, muddy run around two angled 180 degree turns and a straight away. By the time I could remount my bike, there was often a tennis ball size chunk of mud on the bottom of my cleat, making it difficult to both run and get back into the pedals. I have never carried my bike so far but when I attempted to remount during that section, I typically ended up sliding out in the mud and losing precious time. So running was the only alternative.
The mud, snow and ice were a challenge. However, the cold temperatures made the race almost unbearable at times. I thought about taking a DNF the first lap when I could not brake or change gears due to the fact that I could not feel my fingers and yet they still hurt from the cold (and continue to be sensitive as a write this report). I was thankful to have my TriBella thermal jacket, which kept my core very warm and the snowboarding socks that kept my feet toasty. I remember earlier in the day, seeing racers with icicles coming out of their nostrils and wondering why I decided that racing, as opposed to sitting in my warm house, made sense to me that morning.
I did finish and met my cyclocross goal of the season, which was to have a top 10 finish in a Cross Cup race. There were other Bellas out there battling the elements, Jennifer Kumbier, Susan Adamkovics, Joan Orgeldinger and Christienne Beam, as well as other light hearted supportive women and men who all knew the pain that was earned that day. The weather, falls and slips made this race a challenge, but once finished and back in a warm car, you couldn’t help but feel proud and start looking forward to the next race. No matter what it brings.
Special thank you to Mountain Moon Photography for the great photos both at this race and so many others.
Race Report from Joan Orgeldinger. We had a few brave bellas go out and race in the snow and near-single digit temps! Don’t want to spoil it but Joan had a podium finish. Go Joan! Great pictures from Chad Edwards too!
I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was look out the window. It was snowing again on top of the 4-5 inches already in the backyard. I actually like the snow, but today I was planning on racing cross and have been spoiled by racing in beautiful weather.
Just a few minutes later, the phone rings and it is my faithful teammate Susan (probably trying to make sure that I got out of bed so that I can make it to the race on time). After a couple of minutes I could tell that we were both thinking the same thing but neither of us mentioned not racing. We knew that our teammate CB had pre-registered and would be there no matter what (you could say she was guilting us into it without even knowing it). Our conversation drifted from the freezing temperatures, warming-up, potential course conditions to which bike we should ride. We assured each other that we were going and then it was time for me to start gathering my stuff. My mountain bike still had 2 flat tires and was covered in mud from the last time I rode it (Tipperary Creek race in Winter Park), but a little bike maintenance was all it took and off I went.
After getting past an almost jack-knifed 18-wheeler on I-270, I finally made it to the Louisville Rec Center, albeit a bit late (as usual). Scott Beam and Chad Edwards were there helping get CB and Susan set up and were so kind to set up my Cross bike on the trainer and help me get everything ready. During a brief 15-min warm up, Susan reminded me that I might want to wear my timing chip. Back to the car I ran and started searching through my entire bag of extra socks, arm-warmers, leg-warmers, gloves, hats, jerseys, jackets, etc. in search of a timing chip on a piece of Velcro that had most likely attached itself secretly to some piece of obscure clothing. After a bit of a frantic search, I found it and ran back to the tent area to pick up a bike and get to the start line.
I did not pre-ride the course but decided from the looks of it, it would be best for me to ride my full-suspension mountain bike with fat tires. Although I love my Felt CX bike, I am still more confident on those fat tires, especially in these conditions.
I rode down the somewhat off-camber hill and through part of the course on the way to the start line and immediately knew that I had made the right bike choice. We got to the line-up and everyone was happy to see the sun coming out. The whistle blew and off we went. I was actually able to get into my pedals and get going (unlike last weekend). I didn’t have a great placing but was 4th or 5th wheel and had good riders ahead. The snow was pretty deep on the sides of the track and there were not a lot of opportunities to pass on the course. The first run-up was actually getting muddy and was very slick, carrying a mountain bike was not an advantage. I slid out and was on my knees, but everyone was struggling. I finally got to the top and was off again. The corners were slick, but with tubeless tires at < 25 pounds of pressure, I felt ok. I was able to make up time on the corners and caught up to some of the other women. The next barriers were on the other side of the course and were a nightmare for me, but figured everyone had the same problem and just kept pushing. I was getting passed on the run ups, but could catch back up on other sections of the course. It was getting warmer and although the course was icy and slick in some areas, it was getting sloppier and muddier in others.
I kept forgetting to look to see how many laps we had to go, but figured that we would end up doing 4 or 5. I just kept going, the off-camber descent kept getting wetter and muddier and more people were sliding out and falling down. I felt pretty comfortable on it and didn’t have too many problems although just about every time I would get my cleats cleared just enough to get back into my pedals, something would happen and I would have to put my foot down and once again clogged up my cleats. I had caught a few more people, but was passed by a couple again.
The sun was shining by now and the whole scene was beautiful, the mud was challenging, but getting dirty is part of it. In the last 2 laps, I was able to catch and pass a few more women (not sure if they were in the SW35+ or SW open category). In the final lap, I was behind Sara Wisner. I was on her wheel and attempted to pass in a corner which was not a great idea as I slid out and had to pick myself up off of the ground. Why is it we make such crazy decisions when we are maxxed out and can barely hang on anymore?? But hey, I gave it a try and that’s all anyone can do. I lost some ground but finished just behind her. Turns out she won, which meant I was in 2nd place. My best finish all season!!!!