Monday, September 17, 2012

Nittany Lion CX

A full year gone by, and cross season is here once again. I do love my long, lazy, warm days of summer filled with mountain bike rides. Each year I am sad to see summer fade, but then cross racing puts a smile back on my face. Short, intense and somewhat social craziness, cross racing has just about the right percentage of each ingredient that I need to put fun into my bike world this time of year. If you have not been to one of these events, you owe it to yourself to check one out.

log riding options, for those that like to please the crowds

...or not, if you prefer

as long as you are having fun and go really fast!

Going into this weekend, I was a little apprehensive if my lack of preparation for cross season was good enough, but this is cross, the awkward 40 minute stepchild of road, track and mountain biking, and anything goes, right? ... So there I was, anxious, and at the start line with dozens of other like-minded ladies, ready to let it rip!

Gun goes off, I encounter a slight delay in pedal engagement, but then, like a canon, I am shot out of the pack to the front. Before I even know where I am, I am driving into the first turn and passing. It took me all last year to find a place to do one of these passes, and it was the last turn of the last race, last year. Here I am doing the same move in the first turn of the first race, this year. I don't know if this means anything, but I suppose I could have subconsciously dreamed about it all summer, who knows? I certainly do not think I am an aggressive racer, nor do I want to be known as overly aggressive, but it’s nice to know I can get the job done when needed. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and all it’s cornering opportunities. I chased and got chased. It was a fun day, and I decided to go back the next day for some more.

Sunday’s course had an interesting up to a log that many of the ladies were talking about. I did it twice on the warm up and decided it was not a big deal, but I never felt smooth on that part, or the barriers that day. During the first lap I had some minor contact with a woman who was trying to pass me and then I struck the wheel of another woman in front going up the hill to the log. Luckily we all kept it upright and seemed ok with the miscues. On my last lap I found myself in what I thought was 4th place with 2nd and 3rd right in front of me. I was chasing hard and then noticed that the woman I thought was the leader, was now behind me chasing me. …Say what? This was just the motivation I needed to push me even harder. It was a battle right to the end. Another fun day and the weather could not have been more pleasant.

Bring on the cross season! Next stop: Charm City

I think this little lady bug was enjoying her day as well.

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