Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Late Cross Report

So I left off taking a break post-Gloucester race, oh so long ago... and well, the Coach said "if I want to keep racing cross this year, I had to take a break for a couple weeks." So I did. Well I got a head cold post-Gloucester and really needed a break then. So I proceeded to get lazy and fat...and slow.. I was pretty focused there for a few weeks on trying to find some sponsorship for racing next year, but that has proved to be fruitless thus far. I guess I have to be an "world cup" status rider, which I'm not...and don't really want to do that kind of racing scene.

After a couple weeks off from riding or training or racing, it put me at the New Glocester Maine races. That Saturday the weather was cold, icky and very wet, so I decided one more day off might not be a bad thing for the head. So I went to Maine and raced in the nasty thick mud on Sunday, but at least is was a nice day out. It definitely would have been nice to have a pit bike for this race. I actually started pretty well but fell back into 7th for a while, until the second to last lap when I picked some bad lines in the woods and got stuck and passed by a couple other riders. I finished up 9th questioning the purpose of this kind of racing. I haven't quite figured out what is so fun about it -- suffering for 40 minutes. I just don't want to work that hard. Anyway, 9th got me a couple UCI points, woo hoo... (it really doesn't matter at this point).

So the following weekend I raced Sunday Nov 1st in Putney, VT. The weather was spectacular and no rain the day before so the course was dry. The field was pretty small but definitely some great racers there. Again, I started well and then fell into 4th place. I was going back and forth with 3rd for awhile and 2nd had a gap on us that we weren't closing very fast nor was it getting too much bigger. I was feeling pretty good for this race, rested, etc., but still totally thinking I'm retarded for doing this as it hurts so much. It's just so much suffering condensed into 45 minutes. You would think from the 100s I'd have the capacity to suffer for a long time, but it's so much different. Anyway, I decided it was time to chase down 2nd place even if all I accomplished was getting on her wheel, so I dug deep and reeled her in and dropped the other rider. Now it was coming down to the last lap and the last run up to try to pull off 2nd place. I came out of the cornfield and just hammered, whatever hammer you have at that point in a race isn't much, and dropped her but she caught back on before the runup so I thought I was screwed since I just blew everything I had on that attack. I felt like I was going to fall down the hill trying to "run" up it. the legs were swearing at me... but she stayed right behind me so I knew I had a good shot for taking 2nd and just hopped on my bike and told my legs to get moving and held her off... phew.. That was kind of fun, not at that exact moment when it hurt like heck and my heartrate shot through the roof. Funny, cooling down after the race chatting with 3rd and 4th place ladies, they were like "i love cross" it's so mellow, blah blah blah.. and I'm like "what!" mellow?! you're kidding.. this is so intense coming off 100s. Anyway, it was a good day racing, I still am not convinced I like to cross race but for some stupid reason I keep doing them.

The following weekend I raced the next Verge series race in Northampton. This time there was a pretty stacked field. I only raced Saturday as I had "better" plans for Sunday and it made no sense to me to suffer two days in a row, well not this late in the season... On my drive out there, I knew I was feel so so and certainly not motivated to race. I was wishing I had my mnt bike and probably would have easily convinced myself to go mtn biking instead of racing. But I raced. And it went kind of like I thought it might giving how I was feeling. I just didn't have much of a punch in the legs. My start was so so, not bad, not great. I fell back some again. Perhaps I should just start sucko and then use that energy to move up, but that doesn't usually work out very well in cross racing, well certainly not if you hope to hang with the top dogs, but hey, I'm not hanging with them all that well so I shouldn't be so concerned about that. I battled it out mid-pack absolutely telling myself that I don't like this. But stuck it out to finish in an all out sprint for a couple hundred yards - that I actually held off the woman drafting me which was probably the only highlight of this race for me. I finished 14th.

Then I took a weekend off on a trip out to Pittsburgh. Did an absolutely beautiful ride on Saturday 11/14 out there - mid-70s and sunny. It was great, no watch, no heart rate monitor, just playing. It was nice. I realized some of my not loving cross this year was I had set myself up to want to get to the world cup in Belgium which I knew was a completely lofty goal but I thought it was a possibility, until I found out the requirements to get in which there was no way I was going to qualify unless I was winning or at least top 5 every Verge race which is just silly not having focused on training for cross. Doing the 100s is such a different ballgame and I think I knew that intellectually, I just thought I could make the switch over better - not that I'm doing bad, just not as good as I had hoped so post-break, I've been trying to readjust the expectations and try to have some fun racing cross rather than taking it so seriously, which I admit fully, is tough for me to do.

This past weekend, I raced Shed Park, Lowell race which was a decent field, but a lot of the top riders had gone down to New York for a UCI event. The course was a lot of fun and the weather was great for mid-November, 50s and mostly sunny. I started pretty well and was leading for a lap and then got passed and just hung in 2nd the rest of the race. I didn't have a lot of zip in the legs, just some ability to maintain a pretty high output but not top notch. I actually felt better racing Sunday which kind of surprised me. I went to my mnt bike sponsor's race, Beer Cross, put on my Danielson Adventure Sports. I knew the fields were going to be small given the UCI race in New York and another race out in Easthampton that was part of series had unfortunately drawn most of the local riders. I went to the race knowing I'd race with the 'boys' for a hard race. The field was pretty small, but I had my boyfriend to beat, and couple other friends I ride with (or have ridden with a lot in the past) to beat... I was a bit concerned about this, beating them, and this having to beat them,.. was going against what the coach and I had discussed about not focusing on "outcome"... hahhaa.. anyway, the course is a blast..I highly recommend everyone come race Beer Cross 3 and 4 Sat/Sun 12/12-13 - it's a lot of fun, grassroots, good for anyone wanting to try out cross as well as some good competition on a great course - really good mix in it - I of course love the single track sections, but there's a track start and lots of flats, a small climb and decent run up that forces you to get on right away at the top... so I took off and lead the boys around the first corner and then got passed by the winner pretty quickly. I battled in 2nd for a couple more laps and then got passed by 2 and 3 and stayed there the rest of the race, although my friend who beat me at the mnt bike time trials back in the early summer was closing in behind me. I was getting pretty worried he was just getting smoother on the course and was going to overtake me, but he didn't close up the gap enough and going into the last lap I put the hammer down, well at least for the little climb in the beginning that I was figuring was hurting him more than me by this point since to his credit, he had raced the mens-4 race that morning...and put a larger gap between us. And since two cross races in one weekend wasn't enough, a couple women showed up so I raced with them as well, and on a victory lap around the track drank my beer for Beer cross !
Really, this is a great race - go race it in December - lots of fun, totally laid back. I can truly say I had fun at cross race finally! It's not sanctioned so you dont' need a license to race it and mtn bikes are ok.

So a few more weeks of cross racing.. a few more weeks to have "fun".. hahahaha
and then short rest and back then back to serious mode for the 100s next year ! no more drinking, eating ice cream, and other totally fattening foods... (um right)

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