As the cyclocross world turns,I was off to Providence Rhode Island for another 2 days of UCI caliber cyclocross racing last weekend. If I wasn't turning the pedals, I was snapping some pictures.
I raced both days in the women's 3/4 race which was unusual for me in that I have never raced back to back. If you play your cards right in your recovery, (go straight to the beer tent and chow down some pizza) and you are fairly fit, you can race just as well if not better the second day. Another bit of drama I got to experience was my very first mechanical issue(s) in the 4 years I've participated in this sport. Pretty darn good odds I'd say, so I was DUE. But 2 days in a row????
I snapped a spoke on Saturday just riding along and then on Sunday I skidded on some gravel and bent the hanger on my derailleur falling on the right side of my bike and smacking down pretty hard but not enough to kept me from pedaling on allbeit a crippled bike. I am now "one of them" the countless racers I see either carrying their bike or wheeling it through the course to get to the pit area, what I like to call *bike triage* Get the massive blood flow to stop, do some quick surgery, and back out you go.
On Saturday's spoke surprise, I stopped quickly to "get the stick out" and realized, sticks aren't metal and within seconds, I had a spoke in my hand while left standing, jaw hung open wondering what I should do. I quickly wedged it in between my teeth ( exclusively for sympathy purposes) and pedaled gingerly over to the pit to exchange the wheel. I contemplated dropping out feeling as though at that point, all the other women were so far ahead convinced I would either get lapped or pulled by the officials. The Shimano mechanic suggested I get right back out there after slapping on a spare in seconds,so I did just that. It was a good workout,I didn't get lapped and I had 1.5 laps remaining and I'm even happier I didn't DNF. The course was fun but tricky and just another opportunity to sharpen my less than desirable skills and get in a good workout. 64 out of 78.
Day two brought a different course layout and after a solid 3 lap warm up, my legs felt snappy, (thank you Harpoon beer tent!)and not at all trashed from Saturday. The course suited me better with less hilly twisty sections and I was looking forward to a mechanical free day and a better placing. During the last lap when things start to come undone, and my not-so-pretty-skills look even scarier, I went down on some loose gravel I hadn't thought twice about the 12-14 times I had gone over it the day before or Sunday yet there I was, feet up, bike DOWN. Call me Grace. Unbeknownst to me, I had bent the hanger on my rear derailleur. Fun! Think single speed for the remainder of the race. If I shifted, my bike said, "screw you" and (bonus) the chain would fall off. Super Fun!! 3 times I stopped to put my chain back on and had to run my bike up any hills (ok, even mini inclines) I couldn't manage in the gear I was left with. Doh! 62 out of 72. Another race, more experience, calories I'd otherwise not be burning so I can have my well earned margarita on ice with that yummy salty rim. Thanks for stopping by!