So, it’s been a while since my last update, to say the least. Cyclocross season has already begun (believe it or not) and I’ve got my second race coming up this Sunday. Yikes, that was fast.
I didn’t get in any racing this summer like I had planned (triathlons, mostly), but I did just finish up the six race cyclocross time trial series put on by the OVCX every year, and I managed to catch a few road time trials in a local series, too, which are actually pretty fun. My original intent was to just use one to establish my threshold power (yes, I have a power meter now! Formerly owned by Chauncy, originally owned by Michael) but I wasn’t happy with my first attempt, so I went to a second, and now I really wanna break the 29 minute mark (my previous times were 29:40 and 29:14, respectively) for the 10.2 mile course, so I’ll be attending a third this Tuesday, which is sadly the last for the year. I’m also itching to try a time trial bike now.
I had a rough few weeks (well, closer to like, two months) this summer, where I was really burned out and not feeling confident AT ALL in my fitness or bike handling skills. Sitting in a chair all day at my new office job basically melted every bit of core muscle I’ve earned over the past year or so of sporadic core work, and honestly, sitting all day just in general makes you feel terrible. Add this on to my panic that I hadn’t done even a fractional amount of the off-road work I wanted to do this summer to prepare for cyclocross, and my total burn out on doing the same structured intervals basically every week for like three months, and I was seriously considering sitting the season out and just enjoying being a “recreational rider.”
Luckily, I talked to Chris (who is my coach) who told me to stop being pouty and overthinking everything, and to go ahead and just have fun and enjoy the process. Hate doing intervals? Fine, stop doing intervals. Do your races, have fun, get back to the training when you feel like it’s time to turn it back on. No pressure.
Oh. It’s that easy? Just… cut myself a break??
Anyways, now I feel great and love my bike and am having fun again, so, that works.
My insecurities coming into the season led me to not request an upgrade to Category 3. I figured if I was in worse shape than last season, why would I want to race against even faster people? My first race, however, went better than expected, and if I can pull off a repeat performance (or at least just a race I’m proud of) this weekend, I think I’ll request an upgrade, and finish out the season as a Cat 3.
Speaking of the first race! The first race this season was Commonwealth Eye Surgery Promotion Cross, with the same course as last year and everything. This was the second OVCX race last year, and the first time I dropped my chain. I remembered liking the course (nothing overly technical, because God forbid I have to use my bike handling skills) and with my new “let the chips fall where they may!” attitude, I actually was pretty excited to race.
So, I get there, pre-ride, yada yada, talk to Ellen and Krystal (it was Krystal’s first cyclocross race. She did it in Chacos, which is hilarious and like, legit), line up. The women’s field was small, so I’m pretty sure I had a front row call up, despite registering after the two week cut off.
I think my start felt better than last season. I’ve done a few one minute sprints over the past few months, and just getting used to the quick acceleration made a huge difference. Or that’s what I’m telling myself, anyways.
We ended up doing four laps this year, as opposed to last year’s three. When I came around and saw the lap counter after the first lap and a half, I probably audibly groaned.
Like last year, the course was basically a bunch of twists and turns on the side of a hill by a bunch of cornfields. I’m not great at turns (actually, I’m terrible at them, which is kind of a major problem in cyclocross) but I will say that I managed to actually gain ground on a series of four 180-degree S-turns down by the pit. That was my real victory of the day.
Besides the turns, there were a few straightaways, and a few more interesting sections, like an almost wanna-be pump track section in the back, and a few swooping turns leading into small, steep descents that were actually really fun to ride.
The race was a lot of chasing people down, sitting on their wheel, and then making a pass during one of the wider straightaways. It was a strong field, but I managed to spot and chase down several riders ahead of me. There was one other woman I could see that I just couldn’t span the gap to, but she ended up being a Masters 40+ rider anyways, so, whatever.
I ended up coming in first (!!!!) for my first OVCX win (I did win the state champ race last year, but that wasn’t part of the OVCX series). I got to stand on a podium, and I got twelve beers for my trouble.
Also, the girl who came in third asked me if I had raced the 15-18 age group last year and I was like “…No, but thank you.”