Sunday, October 2, 2011

race report: cross crusade 2011/alpenrose

The weather never got quite as sunny or as warm as the weatherpeople said it would. Which was a good thing.
In fact, about half an hour before the womens' race, it began raining, steadily and lightly. Which was an even better thing.
More rain meant that a formerly hard, fast and tacky course ideal for roadies became, in seveal important spots, a slower, muddier, slicker course better suited to off-road riders. I was happy.
I was slow, but very happy.

A few photos of the course, showing the morning racing (mostly C Men and Clydesdales):

The off-camber run-up behind the velodrome:

cross crusade alpenrose 10-2-11

This got a lot slicker and sloppier by 2:30. In fact, by then, most of the women opted to run the length of the section including the short run-up. I rode as much of the section as I could each lap, but was forced to get off and run the incline because there were just too many women on the course to allow me to keep up any momentum. (Sigh.)

The switchbacks at the opposite end of the velodrome:

cross crusade alpenrose 10-2-11

cross crusade alpenrose 10-2-11

I took the switchbacks a little too hot the first time and nearly collided with another racer cornering out of a descent. Watching my speed the following laps meant that I had to kill my own momentum because there were simply too many other women close by for me to really open things up and muscle up the other side of the switch.

The long run-up was back, and I suffered it each lap; enough said. The long stretch of singletrack behind the velodrome was also back and I really enjoyed bombing down it -- but was surprised, and brought up short, by the women in front of me who rode their brakes the whole way down. (Whaaaa...?) More momentum-killing. Arrrrgh!

No Team Slow men raced today. We were represented on the womens' side by me (Master Women 45+), Erinne (B Women U35) and Kristin (Beginner Women). I never saw Erinne on the course but assume she did well; Kristin lapped me about halfway through the race and I never saw her again, either; but she looked strong. On my first and second laps I passed women (!!!), in the same spot each time (coming out of a short descent, into a turn and heading out along a singletrack straightaway to a little "bump-up" behind the velodrome). Both times I saw someone flounder because of lost momentum or a bad recovery from the turn, and I simply said, "passing on your right", and passed them all the way through the singletrack and up and over the "bump-up". A satisfyingly mountain-bike sort of feel to the passing move each time. Of course, they passed me later on down the road, so we were even. Still, it was thrilling to pass someone in a bike race.

In spite of how slow I felt, and having finished dead last in my category (results not posted yet for the combined womens' race but I'm pretty sure that's where I ended up), I had an awesome time playing in the mud. I'm so glad it rained.


Rob said...

sorry to have missed you at Alpenrose today, Beth!

I've been under the weather with a head cold that I picked up during a week-long bikepacking tour that I took right before Cross Crusade. very ill. was woken this morning at 1:30 AM and proceeded to spend the next several hours with a fever, cold sweats, and being sick in the bathroom sink. yikes. so no racing today for me at Alpenrose. :(

will hopefully be back in action sometime this week to get some races in under my belt. if I'm feeling better, I'm planning to try and make the Blind Date, Heiser Farms, and Rainier. by the time PIR rolls around in two weeks, I'll look for you and catch up.

best, - Rob A.

bikelovejones said...

Rob -- sorry to have missed you too. Rest up and feel better soon!

jjfantastic said...

way to go beth! you looked great out there! it was fun to watch a race for once, but i did have pangs of wanting to be out there with everyone else. i'm glad i didn't though - my soccer game last night would've been impossible after that, and we only had one sub so i had to run for the whole 40 minutes of the game. see you out there at PIR i hope! -jj

bikelovejones said...

JJ -- thanks so much for cheering me on! Great to see you, albeit too briefly.
Your soccer club should come watch you race 'cross, they'd have a newfound respect for your athleticism.
Happy autumn and see you at PIR --b

Bicycle Kitty said...

Wow. I am in absolute AWE of you and all the other gladiators who rode that race yesterday. It was an inspirational THRILL to spectate and cheer. Power on!

J.D. said...

Beth, always heartened to hear your race reports. sorry about the momentum killing logjams, but that's a part of racing... well at least the "Not Elite" racing we do! Keep at it, we're rooting for you from Ohio!

bikelovejones said...

JD -- meet Judi LoPresti:

Judi also races in Ohio (road and CX) and is an all-out-there, tell-it-like-it-is, fantastic human being. She flies Drunk Cyclist colors at races and is easy to spot with her braids. Find her and make friends.

Maybe one of these days I need to find a way for me and Stompy to make it to Ohio for a cross race...


...or you need to come out for Cross Crusade.