My First Cyclocross Race

18 09 2007

After a long season of endurance-focused training that culminated two weeks ago at the 24 Hours of Triathlon, the time has come for something new. ‘Cross races are only 45-minutes long, but man are they ever 45 ‘suffer filled’ minutes!

Yesterday was my first race in Breckenridge, and pretty much my first real workout since 24 HOT. I raced in the Category 4, 35+ Division, which had about 50 participants, and although this is the right place for a beginner my age, the field looked pretty fit following their full summer of bike racing around Colorado.

At the start I tried to just blend in despite my rather unique Spot Brand belt-driven CX bike, but one of the guys commented and then everyone wanted to know more about it… so much for anonymity. Fortunately the starter began his countdown and soon enough we were on our way. I felt great right from the start, and settled in to about 6th place. The tempo was quite comfortable as we approached the first of three obstacles that would require dismount/ remount skills that I pretty much did not yet own. The first one was a 15-foot mound of sand, rocks, and dirt, which made for a dismount, shouldering of the bike, then a scramble up and over with loose footing, then a remount on the other side.

I managed to hold my position while not exactly remounting all that gracefully, and headed on toward the next obstacle… a 12″ wooden barrier that came at the bottom of a speedy descent, followed by a tiny remount section before plunging back down into a gully. Successful mount and dismount achieved, thanks to following the lead of the guy in front of me, then on to the last third of the course, which saw a good amount of fast cross-country riding, and a decent climb that fortunately matched well with the single-speed gearing on my bike.

After that climb, we descended swiftly through a tunnel, then quickly dismounted before a double barrier section, then were faced with a pretty steep climb that could be ridden or run, depending on skills, strengths, fitness, etc. For me it was simple, just run as fast as possible to the the top of the hill, where remounting would be far easier. On this first lap, I managed to move up from 4th to 2nd by running faster than the others, and even drew some cheers from the crowd for my “nice running”!

The below clip captures my “big move”… I’m the one in the obnoxious green and brown Sports Garage kit, which later would help hide all the dirt and blood.

I stayed comfortably in the top three until about midway through the race, when approaching the 2nd obstacle I waited too long to dismount and got tangled up in the barrier. I got back on fairly quickly but lost two spots and moved back to fifth.

I was working my way back up late in the race, and actually started to pass a few lapped riders, which gave me a nice boost especially considering it was my first ‘cross race. Unfortunately, while attempting to pass one of these riders, he failed to yield and actually cut me off in a narrow section resulting in an ‘endo’ and some unwanted contact between my body, the ground and a twirling bike frame. Two more guys passed me before I could get going again, and fortunately I had enough adrenaline going to overcome what would later be some fairly painful bumps and bruises.

I gave it all I had to try to catch back up to the leaders, but I simply lost too much ground given my two novice crashes and had to settle for 7th overall in my division. I’m really looking forward to working on my ‘cross skills and then hopefully mixing it up for a podium spot in several races throughout the fall.

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3 responses

18 09 2007
bolderinboulder

EPIC!

i think you are a natural.

what’s 45 mins to a 24HOT contendah!!!

18 09 2007
coloradosahd

Scott, I showed you where to remount, but I guess I forgot to show you where to dismount at the 2nd barrier. oops! See you in a couple of weeks on the starting line.
http://markwoolcott.exposuremanager.com/p/brecktobercross_2007/_mg_663451

28 11 2007
Cyclocross Update « FastForward Sports Blog

[…] 25 11 2007 Well, it has been a while since my last post about my ‘cross season, so the time has come for an update. As I’ve just returned from […]

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