Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cyclocross Through Photos

My life has been ALL about cyclocross these days! I have raced almost every single weekend since I started and have been getting in trail rides multiple times every week with friends. It is the most fun training I have ever done. It's actually the most fun racing I've ever done as well! I have no desire to do a blow by blow for all of the races I have done since Harris Hill (which would be Cobbs Hill CX, Colden CX, and Parma CX) but they were all different and were all fun in their own ways. Cobbs Hill was probably the worst race I've had, Colden was the muddiest conditions I have EVER ridden in, and Parma totally played to my strengths because it was flat, however I had a huge crash on gravel on the 2nd loop which was (and still is) painful. So I am just going to post some photos because 1) they make me look cool and hardcore, 2) it is so beautiful outside, and 3) it's just easier! :)

Cobbs Hill CX

Cobbs Hill CX Women's CAT4 Podium (2 - Ari, 3 - me)

muddy as SHIT at Colden CX (south of Buffalo)

covered in mud after Colden CX
Ryan officiating the race (Ari and I ride with him all the time but this is the only photo I have)

SOLVEIG did her first race at Parma!!!

my battle wounds after crashing in the gravel

Monday, October 1, 2012

Harris Hill Cyclocross

Sunday, I raced cyclocross at Harris Hill in Big Flats, NY. This was my 3rd CX race in the books. Well.. 3.5 cross races if you want to get technical about it.

Last weekend, Ari and I had the brilliant idiotic idea of racing both the CAT4 Women's race (45 minutes) because we are both CAT4, and then the Open Women's race (60 minutes) for the experience. 45 minutes later. You could do an extra race for only $5 more dollars (and the entry fee for one race was only $20 anyways) so we figured it was a steal, especially since we were driving 2 hours to get to this race.

pit stop @ the Dandy Mini-Mart (classic Southern Tier)

We left from her house with our bikes on the roof of her car at about 6:30 am, and it was raining. As we drove south, the rain lifted but the fog remained. It was still really chilly out. Since this race was so close to my parents' house, they were driving up to come watch, and the Wineglass Marathon was also going on (route was from Bath, NY to Corning, NY) - so it was a busy day in the Southern Tier!

trying to stay warm between races!
Once we got to the race we got our numbers, put some layers on (including new knee warmers that I got on Tuesday using the gift card I won at Victor Apple Farm CX), and hit the course for a warmup lap. It wasn't bad at all.. it was an uphill start on a gravel road, went through a short, flat section of rooty woods, then around a corner and over 2 barriers, and then it twisted through some zigzags with one uphill barrier (ew) that you had to shoulder your bike for. Then  the course straightened out for a big, and then you hit a sandpit (which we decided to run through due to me falling over in the sandpit during my warmup lap), and then went through some woods, through some more zigzags, and then wove back to the start! It ended up being a little bit under 9 minutes for a loop for me.

beautiful fall foliage!
Our first race started right after the Master's men's race, and I believe there were 7 of us. I met 2 people that actually knew my brother because they had worked at Ride Brooklyn (I race in the RB jersey). I had never done a 45 minute race before so I was expecting it to be interesting! The first 2 women got pretty far ahead early on, but myself, Ari, and a 3rd women (Helene, who knows my brother) were all near each other. I ended up between Helene and Ari, and switched back and forth with Helene a few times before settling pretty comfortably into 4th place. Things were going well, I was doing well on the barriers, was (mostly) controlled through the corners (albeit, slow) and was able to pick up the pace out of the corners and on the straightaways. However, I continued to run through the sandpit because I didn't know any better and I didn't want to fall over again. And that was a HUGE waste of time because you had to run through the pit and then up a hill, and then somehow find the energy to re-mount. It was the worst part of the course for me. Turns out, everyone else was just riding through the pit because a packed-down line had formed - whoops. Anyways, I think on loop 5 (out of 6), I ran through the pit, tried to jump on my bike, and dropped my chain. By the time I got the chain back on and got going, Ari had passed me. I followed her through the woods and then once we hit a gravelly uphill section, I started sprinting up alongside her. Since we are both competitive, she sprinted right back and we were neck and neck, and then we had to go around this corner where she tried to squeeze me out of the way (which is totally a legit move in 'cross and NOT shady at all, and I think it's awesome that she did it), but (and I actually can't believe this) I was able to hold my line despite her being RIGHT next to me and me being right against the tape, and slipped around the corner first. Then I had to drop the hammer the best I could for the last lap to make sure she didn't pass me back!

I ended up in 4th place (just out of the money.. boo) but it was great! I would rather get 4th in a more competitive field than just be riding off the front by myself with no one else to play with! We also saw my parents out on the course and my dad was taking photos and videos. After the race, I got to explain to my mom what "DFL" was "code" for (seen on my brother's facebook page about his last cyclocross race). Thanks Grant.
CAT4 Women's start!

the double barriers
Helene with me right on her tail!
my terrible shouldering technique at the uphill barrier
GREAT photo of Ari! she is so photogenic!
 After we finished the first race, we had about 45 minutes to change our race numbers and try to stay warm before our next start (which was at 11:30), right behind the Open Men. Luckily, I have some body fat, so I was chilly but not too bad, however Ari was shivering. Sometimes, it's a good thing to have a big butt! :) We chatted with my parents and then we lined up in a field of 6 (including us). The minute the race started and we had to ride up the long gravel hill, the other 4 women were SMOKING us. We weren't even through the 1st lap when we started getting lapped by the men. It was embarrassing and I felt terrible for being in the way. Even though the majority of my races are longer than both of these 'cross races combined together, riding at threshold effort and having to jump on and off the bike and concentrate on going around tricky corners really wears you out! It became very clear that the next 60 minutes were going to be awful. Ari and I were riding along at a "leisurely" pace (i.e. as fast as we could go after already racing) together, chatting. On the 2nd lap.. I told her that I was thinking of dropping out (mostly due to being in the way of the men who were really racing, but I was also really tired). She agreed, so once we got to the finish, we stopped. Then, for the next 10 minutes we were heckled by the people doing the scoring, and they actually got Ari to go back out there and finish the race! Me - not so much. I was A-OK taking that DNF and I went back to the car and changed into dry clothes. But I give her a lot of credit for going back out there because that shit was hard after 2 loops! This was my first DNF ever.. so that is a little embarrassing but it just wasn't worth it - what if I went down due to being tired and caused a crash with the men that were actually racing? Or what if I made my knee even worse (which has flared up again since taking a spinning class 2 weeks ago)? Not worth it to me at all.

Lesson learned - I will never do 2 races in one day again! Worst $5 ever spent (I totally could have used that to buy a piece of pizza as my last meal, and then put some bullets in a gun and shoot myself because that would have been less painful probably)! I also was being RIDICULOUSLY F-ING DELUSIONAL about wanting to move up to CAT3 ASAP (10 points or 10 starts). I think I need to ride in CAT4 for a looooooooong while.

Ari and I leisurely riding and chatting during the open race

After the races were over, we went to lunch with my parents at an Indian restaurant in Corning, which just happened to be right behind the finish line of the Wineglass Marathon! Too bad I didn't see anybody that I knew.

I haven't really talked to my parents since they got back from their cruise to Alaska, so it was awesome that they came to cheer for us (and took us out to lunch!). My mom also brought me back a souvenir from Alaska! The charm on the right is a Forget-Me-Not which is the state flower of Alaska! Thanks Mom and Dad! (Also, thanks to my dad for many of these photos, and the other ones I found on the Corning NoTubes at Harris Hill facebook page after scrolling for over 400 photos looking for ones of Ari and I - yes I am a cyber stalker).

And because no race report would be complete without something weird/insane/ridiculous happening.. I have a story. A penis story. As we were racing our first race, I was pretty focused. I was looking ahead at where I was going, scanning the ground for rocks, roots, ruts, mud, trying to ride good lines, etc. At one point, somewhere on the course (I can't even remember where), I happened to look down and saw a curved stick and 2 pine cones positioned to look like.. male genitalia. In the MIDDLE of the trail. I kid you not. I saw it, laughed to myself, cursed myself out for thinking of such trivial things during a RACE, and then never saw it again. I actually wondered if I had somehow imagined it, because how could it have not been run over by the 30+ men that were all ahead of me on the course? After the race, I was telling Ari about it at the car, (loudly, obviously, because that is my only volume) and several of the people around us that had also done the same race overheard me and said that they saw it too and also thought it was hysterical! I am glad I am not the only perv. out there. :) Good times.