I bought a used cross bike back in July which meant I had to actually had to follow though on my plan to do a cyclocross race this year.
I did some research on local cross races and decided on Riverfront Cross since it had a really small women’s field last year. My plan backfired and the field was much larger this year. I suspect that may be due to Cross Nationals being held at the same venue this year.
I got lucky, and they decided to hold a free clinic the day before the race. I’m not sure what I would have done without the tips on the long off camber section. It also gave me the chance to pre-ride the course when it was almost empty. Aside from the off camber, and a fun little hill around a tower the course wasn’t terribly technical. A couple sets of barriers (full UCI height barriers at that). The off camber section pretty much terrified me. You run up the side of a dyke and then ride across the top, drop down and ride back across the hill in the opposite direction, drop down and ride back one more time. Then shoot down a hill. The downhill also terrified me. I’m fine bombing down hills on the road, but a downhill ending in woods freaks me out. I felt slightly better after practicing. The park was pretty close to home, so I got to sleep in. It was also pretty hot which meant I didn’t have to think too hard about what to wear. I checked in and got my number, and a disposable timing chip to stick on my helmet (YAY lap times!) We watched for a little while. I got on to pre-ride the second half of the course. I knew if I went back to the off camber section with all the faster riders around I would probably bail on the whole thing. I got to the sand pit and tried to ride in an existing groove and went right over my handlebars. Someone on the side was laughing and said “I’m glad I’m not the only one who did that.”
After that I went back to the car and had a snack. I warmed up on the road and headed to the start. A few of the women from my shop where there. I think we were all hiding on the back trying to stay out of the way. They started all the women’s fields a minute apart. Which ment that the masters women where catching up and passing me right at the off camber section. I managed to focus on what I needed to do and tried not to get nervous about the women flying by. I did wimp out and run the downhill on the first two laps and then road it for the second two. Everything went by really fast, and I have waited too long to do a race report. One of the girls from my shop flatted out on the first lap. There was a section on the pavement, then you had a choice of running up some stairs, or hopping up a sharp stone curb and running up the grass and over a barrier. A lot of people flatted when they hit their wheel on the curb whilst carrying their bikes. I also forgot I had a big ring until the last lap. (Further proof that I should go for a 1x setup?)