Hurt in the Dirt

Hurt in the Dirt

Monday, October 31, 2011

Back to the Front Range

Chasing Heather and Amanda early in the race
 We loaded up the truck yet again for another road trip to the Front Range region of Colorado. This time for the Colorado Cross Classic and the Boulder Cup for a 2-day cross weekend. I was full of excitement and eager to race after 2 weeks of training. I got my race fix over those 2 long weeks by getting up at 5 am the previous 2 Sundays to watch the online, live feed of the women's World Cup races in Czech. I was aiming for a top 10 finish both days to cap off the 2 week training block, I figured that would be a nice reward for all the hard work!!Since there are quite a few racers who live in Colorado, I figured most of them would be on the start list, and I was right. The usual top 10 or so (minus Katerina Nash) were on the list when I went to pick-up my numbers the evening before the race. I was quite pleased when the official checking us in sounded a bit surprised when she looked up my information, "Oh, a ranked rider?! It seems you have 18 UCI points." I quickly agreed with her before anyone else could hear. A mere 18 points is slightly embarrassing for those of you who don't know how the UCI points work. To put things in perspective, Katie Compton who is currently leading the points rankings has over 1,600 points! Granted, she is the best in the world however, most of the riders I race against have totals ranging from 100-200. I anxiously waited for the official to pull out my numbers and was stoked when she pulled out #12 for Saturday and #13 for Sunday. This was the first cyclocross race that I actually got a "real" call-up instead of drawing a number out of a bag all the while crossing  my fingers that it would be somewhere in the twenties. But this time, I would get a second row start both days!

Saturday's race, called the Colorado Cross Classic was held at the Boulder Reservoir. The course had some long flat sections, quite a few natural log barriers and a natural run-up from the beach. The dirt was nice and tacky thanks to an early Autumn snow storm that Boulder received earlier that week. The chicane turns were a bit rutted out and the sandy beach section was packed down too and completely rideable. The temperature was mild, but during warm-ups the wind was incredible. The course tape was blowing far into the course causing a definite threat to grabbing handlebars. I kept telling myself that I needed to stay in a group during the race if I wanted to survive the wind gusts. But, the cyclocross gods where nice to the girls. The winds calmed down and the sun came out for a short time just as the race was beginning. The course had a section of winding turns and barriers shortly after the start line and I found myself in a good position, but on the first long flat section, the lead group formed quickly and they immediately gapped the chase group. I found myself in a group with Amanda Carey, Sue Butler, Chole Foresman, Alice Pennington, and Heather Irmiger. Sue and Amanda didn't wait long before they too separated themselves from us. With 3 laps to go I decided to make a move and separated myself from Heather putting me in 7th place. The long straight aways created gaps and everyone seemed to be riding alone with 30 seconds or so between each of us. With one lap to go, there was not much left to do except for ride the lap clean and not give up my position. Amanda was too far ahead of me to chase. I crossed the finish line in 7th, very pleased with the ride. I had not made many mistakes and felt great throughout the race. Goal accomplished!

Check out the link below for a short video of the race!
Women's Race Colorado Cyclocross Classic 2011

Sunday's race was a the newly built Valmont Bike park. I had no idea what to expect from the course so we showed up a little early to scope it out. I was really excited after seeing the mountain bikesque course. There were 2 sandpits, a long stair run-up, and a long mud bog! I made a quick loop on the course and quickly realized that it was going to hurt waaay more than the day before. This course required power and lots of it!

Start of the Boulder Cup
 I had another second row call-up and was in really good position until half way through the first lap when I bobbled on an off-cambered mud section and had to dismount and run. I lost quite a few positions and hurried to get back on the back of the chase group. After the first lap I was still in the top 10 but knew the girls behind me were close. The second lap through the sand and mud burned a lot of matches! I knew I was in trouble. I held on as best as I could, but my tired legs were not having any more suffering! I watched as a few more riders pass me and the gaps in front grow bigger and bigger. I was holding on for dear life on the last lap then to make matters worse, the mud had finally taken over my front derailleur and I could no longer shift to the big ring. I finished in 13th place, disappointed that I wasn't able to hold on to the top 10. Lesson learned: I can't be "great" at every race, but I'm capable of being "good" at every race.

Check out the link below for the race highlights!

Unfortunately I wasn't able to follow up my 7th place finish with another top 10, but I feel like I have proven to myself that I have the ability to finish there consistently. After 2 months of racing, I finally think I am understanding the ebbs and flows of a cross race. Continually progressing each and every race until the season finale known as National Championships on January 8th is key. Big shout out to Chad Davis and Trevor Greenwood! They were both a huge help with race prep and in the pit. Its always nice to have your friends cheering you on while you are suffering!! Also, thanks for coming along to entertain Brandon on his birthday! I know he would have much rather gone brewery hopping with you guys instead of watching cross races for 2 days!

Next up is the third USGP, the Derby Cup in Louisville, KY in 2 weeks. I've heard rumours about the stacked start list! Its another chance to accomplish my season goal of a top 10 finish at a USGP. And, I'm taking my dad along with me to Louisville! This will be his first experience at a true cross race. According to Brandon and Jacqueline he's a bit nervous to be in the pit  :)  My dad is a funny guy, he's sorta like a double agent! He's a redneck Wyoming guy part of the day and a country club golf pro the rest of the time. So here's my advice for you dad... we need to mix your personas together! Throw on your Carharts and irrigation boots along with your golf umbrella and fancy golf rain gear and you'll fit in just fine!! Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. You are a fabulous writer and an amazing athlete. I follow on a few blogs, but yours is on top of the list! Good luck in KY