Plymouth Cross was this weekend. This was race #7 for me in this wonderful wacky world of cyclocross. I should be getting my groove on, stickin' to a wheel or two, zipping over those barriers, ya think??(Insert laughter) This time I was determined to stick with some of these chicks no matter what. This was a CAT 4 only women's race so I couldn't fall back on my safe excuse that all the women are much more seasoned and have loads of mountain biking skills.
It was frigid and super windy. Instantly, I found another excuse AND to add insult, someone inadvertently attached a cement mixer to the back of my seat post. Ugh… I knew something wasn't right on my first warm up loop. 15 minutes before the start, I pulled out of my warm up to jump in the truck blast some heat on my cold hands, and eat a bag of Cliff Bloks with caffeine washed down with 1/2 bottle of water to try and clear out the cobwebs after a laborious warm up.
During my warm up, I mentioned to Paul that I thought the course was a bit too tame. Lots of open grassy sections and only one technical part that was well, way too technical for my liking. This included multiple tight turns going down a trail that was rocky and had exposed roots and sand and was narrow. The perfect recipe for me to chicken out and want to walk my bike down. Want and did are two different things. During warm up on the first loop, I went down dropping my chain to boot after picking a poor line to get around a big exposed tree root smack in the middle of the narrow trail that had a sharp left downhill turn. "HTFU", I told myself. Some nice dude caught the whole experience and kindly threw some advice out while skillfully maneuvering around it.
"Better to stay to the left" he said. I was too miffed to thank him trying to gather my trail-side yard sale and mumbling under my breath about ripping yet another pair of tights. Good advice and I took heed to it for the remainder of the warm up and race. The race itself was uneventful. Start was open with no hole shot to try and scramble to. Usually I'm last being polite and letting all the other chicks go through a narrow start or tight start if there is one. Like every race, slowly the women in front of me got further and further away. I managed to stick with one woman who I knew but I observed 2 things that are becoming a pattern that I need to try and work on. #1. Any screw up on a turn or bobble on a barrier dismount or mount and bingo the person I was trying to stay with would gain 3-4 bike lengths. #2. If I let any Jr. riders get in front of me especially in a wooded section, I would be content and settle in behind instead of trying to go around and stay with the woman I was trying to stick with then, I would realize (too late) that joe jr. was petering out and I'd go around and poof, there would be no one in sight anymore in front of me. I had no one to work off of for 2 laps but didn't give up. My quads were BURNING but I felt like I was going nowhere in the wind and grass. Oh well it was a no energy day for sure. Just didn't feel good. Maybe I shouldn't have done a hard trainer ride on Thursday followed by a skills ride at Delany on Friday with a race on Saturday....
I'm sooo bummed that Sterling is Thanksgiving weekend. No way can get out of coming back early from a trip to NY with the inlaws for a Saturday race. Any and all excuses to somehow manage this and still save face for attempting it are welcome.