This year I’ve taken a different approach to cyclocross opposed to last. Last year I was pre-cross season committed to go at it, then a hurt knee and too little fun at the first race kept me content on the sideline. This year after mountain bike season came to a close I didn’t jump the gun and say; “yeah cross is full on!” I took some time off, did the big Fondo ride, and took it easy while the true crossers were hammering intervals and making a mess with tubular glue. This time of year I’m now more focused on getting my aerobic training in for the upcoming mountain bike season. But, throwing in some cross here and there has been just what I need to fill my racing desire. It’s really hard to not compete all winter long.
The first race was pre back on my bike training and it was tough to say the least. For starters I was back in the pack on the start grid and the temperature was high! I didn’t have a great result (22nd), but I did pull my way up quite a bit from a 50-60th starting position. As I look back on that race something that really sticks in my mind was how slow the minutes were ticking away. Rarely do I look down at my stopwatch and feel the way I felt in this race. I remember seeing 30 minutes on the clock and thinking, are really are only have way done with this madness? The next two were much easier to get through, maybe because I’m back training again. Anyway, the first race of the bay area super prestige was hard, but the races are now more manageable.
You can’t really say a race is easy unless you are winning, and that I am not. But at this rate of improvement it’s bound to happen, right? One a shot or two left! One week following the super prestige race I was back on my bike beginning the longer rides. After a week of riding again it was time to throw down another cyclocross effort, plus a post race ride back up north. The Stafford lake race down in Novato was great, probably because Marin Bikes was a sponsor! Good crowds out there and an unfavorable long run-up. Beside the long hill/stair run there was a monstrous barrier on the run-in to the finish. This barrier was more of a wall than anything. Unlike Brian Astell, we normal people had to step up to via hay bale and uncannily descend the other side. Astell would take one stop on the front bale and take the leap of faith over the whole thing; pretty amazing seeing some of the photos after the race! This race was a bit smaller than the first race, but had the nice local atmosphere.
Following the Novato race I headed back down to the bay for the race I was most excited about all season. The Bay Area Super Prestige night race, who doesn’t want to race under the lights? The last time I race under the lights was in the short track stage at the old NORBA National in Arizona back in 2007. There’s something about racing under the lights that just makes you want to go fast. Since the staging at this race was based on results from the previous I had twice as good a spot on the grid. I felt like I had a solid race coming in 9th place, an improvement at least over the first race of the series. The darkness of night brought out tons of fans and obnoxious hecklers. It’s fun racing when there are lots of people yelling, screaming, and blasting a megaphone in your ear.
With short hard cross races here and there on the weekends my training during the week looks a little different. Most of my rides during the week are out on the open road as well as one or two long mountain bike rides. I will be doing another cross race this coming weekend, maybe my last! Since its Thanksgiving weekend hopefully everyone else will be slow because they ate too much.
I finally complied some footage I took mountain biking in the offseason! I know it’s a bit shaky at times, and this was the smoother of the stuff I captured. It’s rocky and I was on my hardtail, enjoy!
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