Ugh cross. That’s how I feel right now. I still don’t even know how I feel about all of this bike racing stuff. It makes me miss running and running races. I like riding my bike, I like the practices, I like pre-riding courses, I like the race atmosphere, but for some reason while racing I can’t get the thought of “why am I doing this?” out of my head. It seems like the simple answer is to stop doing it. But it’s not that simple. I hate myself and my lungs and legs for 40 minutes. I wonder if it will ever feel easier. But I know if I quit I would hate myself more. So that’s where I am right now. Trying to enjoy something that I don’t always enjoy but really do enjoy, and my thoughts don’t really make sense. I thought writing it out would, but it doesn’t.
But on the completely other end of the spectrum I completely love the community and everyone else I have met through cyclocross. I like lining up between really nice women and talking. I like hearing people cheer for me while racing. I like the post-race talk and how friendly the competitors are.
This past weekend we headed down to Baltimore to race Charm City Cross. I went down last year to cheer Eric on, but didn’t race. I pre-rode the course and felt confident. There are a lot of dismounts in the course, which are tiring, but dismounts/remounts actually seem to be somewhat of a strength for me. The runner in me comes out and I can get on and off the bike a lot quicker than others most of the time.
I got a front row call up, my first ever, which on one hand is awesome because there is no one in front of me to get in my way. On the other hand it absolutely sucks because I don’t want to mess up the start for others. But I wasn’t prepared for the start on Saturday. It’s a long straight away on asphalt that then turns onto gravel then quickly grass. I just wasn’t ready for the all out sprint and a ton of people passed me before we even made it onto the grass.
I felt like the rest of the race was just be trying to stay alive. My lungs hurt so bad. They burned. I was so tired by the 3rd lap. I am not aggressive enough or competitive enough. I mentally defeated myself. A Philly girl from a local team was right in front of me and I just wouldn’t pass her. My head kept telling me there was no point because I knew she would get around me and out sprint me. And while that’s true and she’s a stronger rider, I should have at least tried to pass her and stay in front, instead of just giving up.
I ended up 20th out of ~43 girls.
It rained the afternoon of Day 1 so when we got to the race for Day 2 I was curious how the course would be. Surprisingly not too wet, and pretty tacky. The course was mostly the same with a few things changed up. I pre-rode a few times and practicing riding through the sand (instead of running like the day before).
I had a front row call up again, but this time I was way more prepared to hammer out of the start so I didn’t get caught up in the turns. I actually held a good start position for a while, until a long straightaway when others started to pass. I traded places with some girls but eventually found myself riding by myself. I knew I wouldn’t catch the girl in front of me, so I tried to ride smart and open up the gap between the girl behind me. I ended up finishing with a Master’s Women.
Got 20th the second day as well, but felt a lot better.
I am bummed that my place was 20 both days, but I am trying not to let the actual number affect me and be happy that I am riding so much better than last year. I took away a lot of things from this race and have some things to work on the next few weeks. No racing for two weeks until the next double weekend.
Eric wrote a great recap that is a lot more funny than mine – http://ridethejawn.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/charm-city-cross-2013/