Monday, November 14, 2011

White Clay / Fairhill

With Race #10 in the MAC cyclo-cross series being in Maryland on Saturday, Art and decided to drive down on Friday so we did not have to get up in the wee hours and drive down the morning of our race. If we drove down Friday mid day, we could mountain bike at White Clay the day before our race. We had heard good things about White Clay, but had never been.

White Clay trails were not technical but twisted and undulated through the woods allowing bikers to swoop along like a bird. I was a tad bummed because I had a stiff neck that did not allow me to lift my head enough to ride fast, but it felt great to get out and ride on some buffed out trails. My home trails of Ringwood are so rocky that I do miss fast swoopy trails and the experience that comes with them. I think I may need to go back to this place again for a more complete test ride when my neck is better.

Art and I found a great restaurant for dinner that night, the "Blue Crab Grill". We had some fantastic crab cakes. I usually don't drink beer the night before a race, but Arts Troogs Java Head Stout looked so good, I had to have a taste. Well, it was yummy. So I did not need any arm twisting. I ordered one too, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was half hoping it may help my stiff neck, so that I would feel more up to racing the next day.

It's amazing the affects of a good beer.... Although not completely gone, my neck was much better in the morning, and I was thrilled to find a fairly dry course in the morning. Things were looking good and I set out on course to take a lap. The lap was really fun so I took another lap just a little faster and the course only got better. There were some momentum sections that crossed a ravine and a mini table top ... so cool! After the last few cold wet mud slogs, this course was just what the doctor ordered for my spirits.

The race got under way and things heated right up. I ended up holding 2nd place for most of my first lap and all the fun parts of the course were even better at speed with a tight mix of racers. Three of us stayed close and battled it out back and forth the entire race. I ended up fourth, but gave it all I had and put up a good fight. In so many races women get spread out and it is hard to keep motivated, but this day was not at all like that. It was a fantastic and exciting experience like cross should be. The Mac series is really the premier series for competitive women in the northeast. I see now that I may need to practice passing in turns, as I never seemed to have enough gas on the straights. I hope to have more close racing in my near future.

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