Sunday, November 22, 2009

Whitmore's Super Cross Big Weekend

Going to the beach in the “off season” can be quite special. The sky is bigger, the water is bluer, the shadows are longer, and the beaches are windswept and free of crowds and clutter. Four Campmorians, four cross bikes and a mom settled in at the beach to eat and rest for a big two days of cross racing.

Art enjoying a moment of victory.

Tasting the gold.

My race, Day 1: This was my sixth cross race, but the first race on my brand new cross bike, or any cross bike for that matter. To add to the excitement of the day, the course was really awesome. Steep ups and downs, off cambers, real double track trails in the woods and a few bermed turns. It was a mountain bikers dream of a cross course. I pre-rode a lap in the morning and the bike felt comfortable, like we were meant to be together, and I went to the line confident to race.

I got off to a good start, sprinting to mid pack from the back row. Going into the first uphill, Rock, my main competition for the day, and who coincidentally wears a pink skinsuit and is famous with the announcer, passed me. Traffic would eventually force us off our bikes. I kept tight with the flow of traffic during the next half a lap, and I should have noticed that I kept jamming into traffic on the descents and would almost run into anyone braking ahead of me, but the excitement of the start had me so fired up. Logic was not in my thoughts at that time. When I reached the hump, which was rideable, I was forced off again with traffic, but was swift and threw my leg over and rode down the steep descent barely on one pedal. I did try to grab some brake as I dodged a juniors leg who was mounting at the bottom, but a blink of my eye, and I was riding away. That was reminder number two, that these canti brakes do not work well.

Next was the single track berms. These were so much fun! I came in full speed, riding the berms, assumed I could dump enough speed to make the turn in front of the tree and found myself 10 feet into the woods riding over sticks. Big ooops, a nice laugh, and rode back on course, now registering in my brain that these brakes have some limitations. All this happening and I still have Rock's wheel close, and notice she struggled on the climb. I hang tight behind her for a lap and get myself together a bit. Before the climb on the next lap, she steadies up and I go. I sense a small gap develops, but keep pushing. I get a little too fired up and push the limits of my brakes, nearly going down on a off camber descent, but just manage to keep it upright. After that each lap felt better than the one before. This was the first cross race that I did not wish for the bell. It was a good day indeed, and my little bike did me well.

It was a big weekend for Team Campmor cross section. Laura finished 1st and 2nd, Art, 2nd and 3rd, and Tara finished strong each day with a smile on her face. It was great to hear that big laugh around us again. It was good times to hang out and cheer and heckle. Besides big racing success, we saw a big duck and a big cauliflower. It was a big fun weekend!

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