Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bubba #6: Bellefountaine

I had fleeting thoughts of "it's almost too warm for a cx race" as I headed out for my warm up laps on Sunday. 70+ degrees in November in the 'Lou--unheard of! No way was I complaining about it after all the rain we had. This was a twisty, bumpy course for Sunday. It had longer laps than we've seen in the previous races in this series and incorporated gravel and a switchback. What more could a girl want!I made sure to position myself at the front of the pack for this race. I looked around and wondered what the heck I was doing lined up against the Cat3+ women, but thought, "What the heck! Let 'em pass if they can." They did. The whistle blew and we were off. I held my position in the front until the C-racers (I really believe that C is for crash because these boys went down like bowling pins) bunched up. I got passed like the bread basket at Thanksgiving dinner. I forged ahead though. With a two longer climbs and a couple of little steep ones, I knew I could wear down some of the field. Slowly but surely I began to pass the girls who got away. There wasn't much notable about most of race with the exception of the boys crashing and my catch of the 10th place girl in the second to last lap. By that time, I knew Alice probably had too much ground on me for a catch, so I focused on catching Soli. I had been trading positions with a rider from Big Shark for a lap or two. We were on the beginning part of the course before the long climbs and off camber switch back. I jumped on his wheel and told him it was his job to help me catch her. (He had been looking a little beat by this point.) He responded to my challenge and I held his wheel up the climbs. I let him take me to one of the paved sections where I stood up and took off. It was somewhere in here that my HR popped 190+. I caught her at the barriers and didn't look back. I finished the rest of that lap and the next one comfortably for a 9th place finish. My goal was to stay upright for this one and I did it! We're supposed to see more rain this week/weekend so Sunday may be sloppy again. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bubba #5: CC Park in the daylight

Today's course was much faster than last night. We were in the same area, but the course was more spread out and avoided the uphill muck that caused me so much trouble.

We again started with single speed and C men. That meant our total field on the course was about 60 riders. I lined up poorly today; I was in the back of the women. The whistle blew and we headed out on pavement. We hit the first set of turns and the field bunched up. From there we moved into tall grass that actually had solid ground underneath. My goal today was to finish in the top half of the women's field (there were 17 of us). I knew there were about four or five that I passed off the whistle. I was trying to keep two girls in my sites because I know I'm strong enough to beat them. We hit the railroad tie barriers from last night. The ground was pretty messed up there. Over those with no problem and back into part of the course from last night. The same tight turns, but at least I could see them in the daylight. The back grass straight from last night was all mud and ruts today. I took Klucker's advice, picked a line and pedalled steady and easy. It definitely made a difference. From there the course had larger turns and came up to the traditional barriers. I knew they were coming, I talked myself through getting off the bike, but my left foot would click out. Down I went, on the same hip that's been getting abused. I grabbed my bottle and bike, hopped the barriers and remounted. My hip hurt. I tried not to cry because there is no crying in cyclocross. I let the "go Mommy" cheers urge me on and I let out a primal yell on the front paved section. I kept going somehow.

I cringed everytime I had to hop barriers, but I've promised myself I will not DNF a race. I never caught the girls I was after and don't think I made the top half of the field, but I wasn't last either. I finished hard and was ready to keep going.

Bubba #4: Fun in the Mud

Last night was a rough race. It's been raining all week...we've had a record setting, wet October and the course was next to a huge lake. I knew the course would be soggy, but that doesn't even begin to describe it. I'm glad we raced in the dark because I think I may have backed out had I been able to clearly see what I was going to ride. We got there and got our costumes ready.

Being as it was Halloween, those wearing a costume were staged first. Klucker went as a blood doper and I was a pirate. It was a little chilly during my warm up laps. The course was almost completely flat with lots of turns, three paved sections and some large gravel. All-in-all, pre-race it seemed do-able.

Because of the late start, they staged Men's C, Single-speed, and women together in that order. At the whistle I tried to take off, but it was a mad house until the second set of pavement. I didn't like my field position and worked for the next two or three laps to move ahead of the women in front of me. All was going well and I was riding great. Because the course was flat, my heart rate was in a great range. Then there were five laps to go and it went south. By this time the course was a mucky mess, what grass we started with was beat down or gone. I was making one of the 180 degree turns and lost my back wheel. Down I went, muddy and wet! I got back on as Alice passed me and took off. I made it past the barriers and saw Cristel and Cory. I passed them on the back asphalt and started to the third-to-last lap. I made it through the turns and into the slime. I guess I tried to power through too much, didn't gear right, or just was completely crazy, but sploosh, mud bath number two. Cory and Cristel passed me as I hopped back on and I worked to chase them down again. I made it past them in the front half of the course and navigated the turns successfully and upright. Back to the mud and back on my butt! This time, after they passed me, I couldn't catch them. I got lapped by the men's leaders as they were finishing their last lap and got the all done signal as as I passed the start finish.

I was over an hour for the results but never saw them. I need to work on riding in the mud and not letting my frustration get the best of me when I struggle.

I found out today that I finished 12ish...after someone reminded them that I actually raced. Oh well, all in the name of fun!

Bubba #3: JB

Sunday was the perfect day for a cross race. It was overcast and low 60 degree weather. I had run several 5K races at this venue, so I expected hills for this race. I got out on the course to warm up, and found my assumptions were correct. It was going to be a fast course, lots of level changes, long and spread out. I had enough time to take two laps and get a good feel for what I would need to do.

The start line was on an uphill. For the first time this season, the women actually were given their own start 30 seconds after the C race. There were about 15 of us at the line—a few new faces to our pack. Larry blew the whistle and we were off. I had a good start position, about sixth off the line. By the first turn, Teresa passed me. I knew I should be able to hold off the rest of the pack, so I planned on just staying as close as I could to the leaders. The first section of the course was roling, with an off-camber climb and quick turn. From there it had a few long sections with 180 degree turns. We then headed to a very brief pavement piece with a quick off camber hill, a few technical turns, back across pavement, a down hill turn to the nasty hill. The nasty hill was short but STEEP. Some of the stronger riders, women included, took a long angle on it and rode up and down. I chose to view it as a run up. I decided to be more brave than I had been at Faust and remount for the downhill. Amazingly, I made it down that hill each time without losing my bike tire at all. From there it was uphill and turn again before the long climb. The long hill wasn’t steep, just taller grass that seemed to go forever. A few more sharp turns and a steeper, mid length climb followed. The back section of the course was much faster with three or four turns downhill to the barriers. After the barriers, came a bit of tall grass and turns and the gravel road back to the starting straight away.

Somewhere in the second lap, Soli passed me. I had finished ahead of her in the last two races, and my pride hurt when she went ahead. I was determined she would not finish ahead of me in this one. I kept her in sight for the next two laps, and got my chance to catch and pass her on the long hill. This was a long course, and a long race (I was on course 57 minutes) and I don’t think a lot of the girls have the endurance to go so long. With three laps to go, I started lapping some of the women. I was on the back half of the course heading towards the barriers when a girl on a mountain bike didn’t hold her line. I was trying to pass and stay out of her way and, whoosh, down I went. Of course it was my left side that still is the color of eggplant from last week’s slide across the parking lot. That hurt! I got up and back on as Carrie passed me. She told me to get at it—only a few more minutes to go. I caught and passed the girl at the barriers. Two laps to go! I was so looking forward to hearing “Go Mommy!” by the run up hill; my leg was throbbing at that point, but my cheerleaders weren’t there. I kept going and just concentrated on holding my ground. At one point I saw Kate K. close behind and I knew I needed to hold her off. The barriers were really tough the last two laps, it hurt to jump them. As I was heading to the start/finish for the last lap, I heard my cheering section and let that motivate me to push through. Chris and Amy lapped me on the last lap. I held onto Amy and think I actually edged her out on the line.

Once again, I had to protest the results. Girls I passed and who were pulled off the course were ahead of me. In the end I think I was 7/15.