I’ve gotten most of the dirt out from between my toes after a dusty couple days of racing down in Rochester, NY. It was a great intro to cyclocross – fun course, good crew, and tight racing. I say this is my first time really racing cross because that fly-by at Hardwood OCup a couple years ago was pretty random.
Rochester brought two days of racing; on Saturday I placed 9th, and on Sunday I finished two places better in 7th and only 2:09 back after being 3:00 back on opening day. Both days saw a solid women’s field of about 35 riders, which I did my best to pick my way through from the back row. Maybe it was luck, maybe legs, or maybe it was the different demographic of racers, but I wasn’t able to make up any consequential positioning off the line in either race, and with the immediate tight, winding nature of cyclocross courses spent the first few laps working through traffic.
This up-down section pictured below, where a little athleticism went a long way, ended up being the best part of the course. After spending quite some time practicing riding it fast and smooth before the race, I was (unsurprisingly) forced to run it on the first lap in Saturday’s race. What I discovered? Way faster. Continued to run up-around-and-down it all weekend.
This picture is too hilarious, and how hyped people were about this section was unreal. I have to share one Comment/Quote from someone who was watching the race because it made my day: “The girl on the left ran that downhill section holding only her top tube every lap. She was going so fast and on the brink of disaster every time. It was really impressive.” Cheers, thanks buddy 😂
I think all my passing on Saturday was on foot (sigh, shrug), but in Sunday’s race I was starting to get a better feel for the course and how to race it, improving my lines and cornering, andwas also brave enough to ride the barriers (baby barriers, a baby step), which all added up to a few solid on-bike passes. I think I made a lot of progress in my racing, CX abilities and aptitude in just one short weekend which I’m stoked on.
The added bonus to the racing experience is a few UCI points – which means I (probably) won’t be starting from the back row next time! It hurt my brain watching the leaders tear away with on the first lap as I stood and waited to walk around a tree with my fellow mid-packer’s. What I did enjoy about being in the middle of the race was that I didn’t know where I would stack up, but I always knew there were more people to try to catch. Racing hard just to race hard, not chase a specific person or result was refreshing and hopefully I can find more of that.
As a side, life note… After taking the past year off to work and contemplate life, I’ve decided to start back at school. I’m enrolled in Environmental Technology at Georgian College, full time, the whole seven courses (chaos) and co-op. It’s going to be a busy few years while I work through the program, juggling work and sport… but I’d rather be busy and have some certainty with where my life is going (and how I’ll sustain it) than idle and without direction.