Friday, December 9, 2011

Chicago Cross Cup, Wrap Up

Face the Pain!



Huge thanks to Ali Engin for taking amazing so many amazing pictures! Check out more at they make muddy painful CX look artful!

Cyclocross season started 6 days after I did the Vegas 70.3 World Champs and has been a whirlwind of racing finishing with the CCC finale at Montrose Harbor this past weekend. I am super happy with finishing 5th OA in the series after a sluggy, slow start racing early with TT legs, a flat and 2 missed races due to island travel. It took some hard work on the bike, in the rain, dark to convert myself back into a cyclocross racer, but each week I felt stronger and eventually started having some decent results and began to crawl my way into the top 10. With more girls in the women’s 1,2,3 field the competition strong and I learned more each week about racing in cyclocross. Being low on points I raced every week to scrounge up as many as I could as my goal became to finish as high in the top 10 as I could.

Montrose is typically freezing and snow covered for the last race which always throws a big twist to the race. This year I was sweating as I was warming up and it was nearly 50 deg. I haven’t worn my super cool BH thermal suit yet and its Dec! Wind and sand was the factor, with some mud from a full day of rain the day before. The wind blew sand all over and the course had way to many sandy sections for my liking. As the horn sounded I took off as hard as I could and and had a great start (that was 2 in a row!). My legs were there and I was happy with how I rode the sand for the first 2 laps. Sand is typically my weakest part of cross racing but I managed to stay on the bike except for the deep section I had planned to run through. At the start of the 3rd lap a guy wiped out in the sand in front of me, causing me to take a bad line and I went down and dropped my chain. I fumbled with it with frozen hand and gloves that kept snagging …This let more than a couple girls get by me…but once rolling I caught a few back. The sand and mud made it a slow course which was frustrating as I felt strong and wanted to go harder, but my favorite section was coming out of the muddy trees and attacking up the hill into the wind. I ended up 8th, but with enough points for 5th OA in the women’s 1, 2 3 field. So thanks to all my coaches who put up with me, and to all the women in the 123’s for so much great racing all season. I have to thank Adam too for putting up with me racing every weekend. I missed his awesome IM FL race where he was leading ALL the age groupers for most of the day, because I stayed home to race Woodstock. He'll just have to do it again at the next time so I can see!

Some most memorable moments of this CCC season are:

1. how bad race 1 (Jackson Park) felt 6 days post Vegas; come on its only 45 min!
2. racing in a vampire costume at Campton Cross
3. racing in extreme mud at Carpentersville, and having to stop to rinse off the bike (I need a pit bike, but our garage couldn't handle it)
4. finally getting good starts coming close to a hole shot at Teds’ Double track
5. keeping the wheels down (mostly) and riding the sand at Montrose

Even though the CCC is over, there are still some huge races including the CCNY event at Indian Lakes. This is a UCI race, with very big competition on New Years weekend. Its so special that I need a special license LOL, and will be toeing the line against some of the big girls. I have 0 UCI points so will probably start almost last in line, but I am looking forward to getting some experience at this kind of race. Nationals will be my last CX of the year and will also be hugely competitive and racing in Madison in January will be adventuresome.

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