Monday, September 14, 2015

Nothing Wrong With Her That $100 Won't Fix

It was a two race weekend for us. On Saturday, we did our first Cyclocross race of the season.

 I tried a lot of different things this year, and I'm still not sure what the results are yet. For cyclocross, I'm trying a few different things to get better. I'm generally either last or second to last in my races, so no matter what, I don't have much to lose.

1.) I didn't race that much during road season. Normally, I race almost every weekend from the Spring through the Summer and about halfway through cyclocross season, I am totally fried from racing. We'll see how it goes this year, when I only did  a few races over the Spring and Summer and did a lot more training.

2.) My two biggest problems for cyclocross races are fitness and fear. I thought I'd work on the fear part by trying to race with BMX pedals and not clipless pedals. That way, I hopefully won't unclip and ride on the tops of my egg beater pedals, which gives almost no power on hills.

3.) Being an older person, it takes a lot longer for me to warm my legs up than the younger ladies, and since cyclocross races begin with a sprint, I am usually spat out the back at the beginning of the race. So, I'm going to try and bring a trainer to most of my races and spin on it beforehand.

John raced first this time and won his category. He started out by crashing into one of the posts that holds the caution tape and getting it stuck in his spokes. He watched as every guy in his race passed him. He got back on his bike and said he used it as a big reminder not to spaz during his race. He must have learned it well, since we went on to pass all of the guys back and win. Go, John!

My own race went pretty well. they had a master's women category, which I always appreciate. I started out okay. There wasn't a long sprint, so I wasn't able to tell how much riding the trainer before the race helped.

There were two women in my category ahead of me at the start. I was right behind them when we hit the Dutch letters. It's a crazy spot where you have to ride your bike up and down a hill at tight turns. I've never been able to ride it before. On my first lap, I only mad it on the first part of the Dutch letters, when I had to get off my bike and run the rest. The two women gained a lot of time on me by riding it.

One of the women died after the first lap. She is normally much stronger than me, so I got lucky there. I passed her and another woman in another category and got pretty close to another woman in a different category than me, but I knew I wouldn't catch the leader in my category and none of the other women in my category were close enough to catch me, so I didn't go quite as hard as I normally would. I had a duathlon to race the next day and it didn't seem all that smart to kill myself when it wouldn't gain or lose me a place.

I won a t-shirt and bike cup.

So, in the end, I got second in my category. I was able to ride the Dutch letters the last two laps, with just a foot dab on the last hill and I rode more of the tricky parts of this course than I ever have before. My take-away, is that for now, I'll continue to use the BMX pedals and try to spin on a trainer before races and change it if I don't think it's working later.

Since they were one of the race sponsors, we got a free beer coupon for Peace Tree Brewing Company in Knoxville. Some other racers stopped in and we all talked ad nauseam about our races.

They don't serve food at the tap room, but we were able to order Mexican food and bring it in. I had chicken mole for the first time in forever and it was lovely.

On the way home, we stopped in Pella for some real Dutch Letter pastries for my daughters and encountered this Iowa version of a traffic jam.

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