Sunday, November 24, 2013

Crossing Over

After 11 weeks recovering from a sprained ankle, I am finally able to race cyclo-cross. I gave it a few experimental tries in October, but came up short and felt like I needed more time to recover enough to handle the basic off the bike part of cross. As it turns out, this forced time off of racing has almost been a gift. The weather this fall has been so wonderful, and this free time has allowed me to do some great mountain biking. I did so much mountain biking that I could almost say I was getting tired of riding. I have a hard time admitting that I could be sick of riding my mountain bike, but yes, pixy needs a break from her favorite thing now and then, and that is where cyclo-cross fits into the plan.

I took my lack luster attitude on the mountain bike as a sign to do something else, and signed up to race CX at Fair Hill. Fair Hill has a really fun course and Art agreed to ride White Clay on Friday to make for a worthwhile drive south. I nearly fell asleep on my White Clay ride, and I feared that CX would not go well. However, that was not the case. I had such a good race, that I decided to race HPCX the next day. Somehow, I fell right back into racing like I never missed a beat, and somehow I was back to racing every weekend.

Yesterday was Supercross Cup: The 3/4 women had an 8:45 start and were cut to 30 minutes. It hardly seemed worth getting up at 5:00 am to do 3 - 7minute laps, so I checked my options. I had never raced with the men before, but I decided to race my age group with the men, as it would be a better training option. This would mean I would get a full 45minute race. It also meant that I would be out there with Art. Art was second to be called to the start, and before the front row was full, they called my name. I was a little flustered as I assumed I would take the back row, but I ended up right next to Art in the front row. Art looked to me and said “I don’t think I’ve ever gotten to do this but” and he raised his hand to high five me. As we did our high five, I heard “15 seconds”, and we were off!

Amazingly, I held onto the whole group to the bottom of the first hill, then a few, including Art, got away, but I still had a few in my sight in front as well as a few already behind me. Not a bad place to be, I thought. Then I clipped my foot on the barriers, nearly tripping myself. The barriers were a tad tall for me to clear on the up hill with my short legs and weak ankle. From there on, the course got fun with twists, roots, holes, ups, downs and even the stupid curbs. I can’t say I liked the cubs, or even felt comfortable jumping them, but I made the most of what I could do with them, and made it work in my favor somehow.

As much as I love racing the ladies in the Mac series, I enjoyed the lack of expectations that came with this day of racing with the men. I felt a certain freedom with it, and of course one of the extra perks is the heckling and hand ups that do not always take place with the women’s B races. I managed to grab a cookie on the run up. My heart rate was so high that I did not want to eat it right there in fear of puking, so I stuffed it in my skin suit. Instantly, it started bouncing in my bra and driving me crazy. So in between technical sections, I managed to dig it out and stuffed it under my pant leg.

Later I rolled in with 5 very consistent laps (ranging from 7:31 to 7:42) to take a mid pack 6th place. I took a cool down lap and ate my yummy ,warm and now, salty cookie. By the time I found my way to finish line, Art had taken 2nd place. ….A good day all around representing our age group.

Photo by Christy Perkins

Photo by Christy Perkins