Friday, September 21, 2012

Race Report: CrossVegas

It was finally here--Vegas, baby!  My first elite race.  I've been waiting for this race since I catted up in January and bought my UCI license.  Time to pit myself against the "big girls". While I had no delusions of granduer, I wanted to make a decent showing and not being totally outclassed.  Yeah, right!

The course for CrossVegas was tough but fun.  It was just at two miles.  The race started with a "hot lap" that looped around the upper field before taking a right down into the lower bowl.  There were no real technical pieces, the turns were smooth and fluid.  There was one set of normal barriers, up hill with a turn after, and three sets of 'stairs'--short barriers, four in succession, uphill with sand holding them in place.  The bottom half also had a hill that was brutal.  It was a long grinder, not to steep, just thick energy zapping grass.  The top section had a flyover ramp.  I loved it because you actually up and over the ramp.

I pre-rode several laps on Wednesday morning and got a good feel for the course.  I knew anyone who could ride the stairs would definitely have a time advantage, but that wasn't going to be me.  That's a skill I still need to develop.  I went back to the course around 4:30 to get my number and hang out.  It was fun to watch the USAC and Wheelers/Dealers race.  The temperature dropped a great deal once the sun went down.  I warmed up on a field adjacent to the course.  I did a few sprints and dismounts/remounts while spinning out my legs.  When the course opened I did another lap and then just rode around the hot lap section until we were called to staging.  Being as I have no UCI ranking, I was way in the back for the start.  I wasn't worried.  My goal for the night was to not be pulled, not be lapped and not be last.  We got the green light and took off.

Got greedy! *photo credit:
I've been in large cx races before, but this was craziness.  I was timid navigating the hot lap trying to get around ladies. We headed off onto the course and I felt better.  I passed a few ladies.  We hit the barriers and I felt smooth through those and the first set of stairs.  I lost a little ground on the switch backs climbing up the back side.  I finished lap one and headed back out.  I was to the barriers the second time and the camouflage guy jumped out . . . cash handups.  I thought about it and decided why not.  Well, he was a bit too close to the barriers and my dismount was a wee bit late.  I got off the bike but was carrying too much momentum and hit it.  Back wheel up, body forward, but I did not fall.  I stood up and smiled at the crowd, getting great cheers.  I hopped the barriers and remounted to realize my chain was off.  I put it back on and took off.  I had been passed by several girls and it was time to make up ground.  The rest of the race I concentrated on doing just that.

I was able to bring back two girls.  I rode well through the course, I just didn't have the go that the top ladies have.  I got better on the long hill each time, I think through endurance and finding the right body position on the bike.  We did five laps in all, each one was very fun. Having that large of a crowd cheering and heckling was an experience like no other. A lesson learned though: I need to be more aware of feed zone rules for cx though.  I know I could have taken a bottle at sometime, I just didn't know when and didn't want to chance it.  I was DRY by the time race was over.  While I didn't make a stellar showing, I met my goal for the race--I wasn't last, I wasn't lapped, and I wasn't DFL.  
On the line, waiting to go.  *Photo credit:

Hot lap -- see me in the back! *photo credit:
Will I do CrossVegas again?  Absolutely.  It just remains to be seen whether or not I'll do the UCI race or the USAC race.  Either way, it's an experience not to be missed!

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