Monday, September 17, 2007

The Wait is Over

Yesterday was the first cyclocross race of the season... Brecktobercross. Always a pretty good race, with a tough, bumpy course, angry run-ups, and the thin air at 10,000 feet up. Plus this year the race was back to the same weekend as Oktoberfest right down the hill in Breckenridge, which is always a blast.

Last year we had some snow showers at this race, especially since it was later in the year. This year, there were off and on showers throughout the day. Not bad though. Till the thunder started just before the open race of course. Our race had a steady shower through the whole thing, along with wind and cool temps in the 50's. You have to love fall in Colorado. The rain was just enough to make the course super slick, and getting worse ever lap; but the challenge just made it that much more fun. I was even happy to see that the course had 3 dismounts, which sadly, is starting to sound like a high number for courses in Colorado. Plus, I should have been jumping the first one, but I just couldn't build up the confidence, during this first race of the season.

So the course was pretty good, better than it seemed like it was going to be when I walked it beforehand. Mostly downhill first part, with some twisties thrown in. Those were more challenging once the roots got exposed, and covered in rain. A short paved section which was slick, and quickly back into the woods. An angry, nasty, steep and sandy run-up was sure to get worse every lap. The fast single barrier (which I should have been bunny-hopping), more super bumpy, fast single track, then an uphill double barrier section, with a decent run after it to keep the speed high. You could get back on the bike right after the barrier, but definitely for me, it was faster to run further, then remount. And finally, a shallow climb to the finish, that was just steep and fast enough to make you cross-eyed. There wasn't a lot of room for recovery, especially with the thin air.

My race went okay. I had a slow start, as I figured I would, as I was standing shivering on the start line in the cold rain. But I built up speed and was looking pretty steady. I was getting pissed though, losing several seconds per lap, as I had a chain that kept bouncing off the big ring in the bouncy sections! GRRR! It's been working fine up till then, with no issues, but then I guess I really hadn't been going full-on race-pace, into those really choppy sections. Just something to tweak before the next race. I think I've been spoiled by racing single speed last year, with their 45 minute races (which DID feel short last year), because this first race of an hour in length, sure felt more like 1.45!!! I was dying! It didn't help that there wasn't a lap counter until 3 to go, so it was hard to judge the effort. Once I saw it was 3 to go, I felt better, and was able to pick it up again, and finish strong. I was really trying to keep my pace as consistent as possible, though I know the uphill after the final run-up, was getting a bit more sloppy.

All in all though, a decent start to the season. I finished up in 9th, in a field that was pretty impressive for the first race of the season. Hopefully the next course will be a bit less bouncy, and have a solid 3 dismounts again!