It’s been literally a year since my last cyclocross race, but today I reentered the fray.
It was also my debut race with my new team, the Sweetpea Ladies Auxiliary. Sorella Forte has been a great club to be part of, but I was lured by the opportunity to hang out more with the coconspirators behind Ladies Aux, Natalie Ramsland and Heidi Swift, who happen to be two of my favorite people.
Last year I went into cross season the fastest I’ve ever been after training all summer and riding Cycle Oregon.
My ‘training’ this year consisted of three rides on my road bike early in the summer, a 10 mile per day work / school commute and 5 days of riding upright Dutch bikes in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago and countless hours sitting at my computer.
I skipped last week’s infamous opener at Alpenrose, which I felt bad about, since they kind of made me the poster girl for that race. But I was still jet lagged and needed some serious chill time after graduation and a whirlwind trip to Paris and Amsterdam for 10 days.
Today’s race was at Rainier, which is pretty much the hardest course in the entire Cross Crusade series, with an evil, soul destroying hill leading to the finish of every lap.
There was really no way that things were going to go well for me, where ‘well’ = placing anywhere but the back of the pack.
Fortunately, winning is not one of my primary goals in racing. Mostly I just wanted to have fun in the mud on my bike, not get hurt, ride a ‘clean’ (i.e. not fall down) race, and have fun hanging out with my new teammates (and say hi to my old ones).
I’m happy to report that all these goals were achieved and, if I do say so myself, the back of the pack has never looked better. I was especially pleased that I rode all the short, steep, muddy hills that many women around me had to walk or run up. On one such hill in lap three, Jess was standing on the sidelines cheering for me, so I decided to show off, weaving through two stalled riders on either side and muscling up the rest of the hill in the wrong gear, before blowing her a kiss and riding off.
Slow, but slow with style.
I got the thrill of passing a few folks through the barriers as well, before they would inevitably pass me back, because they actually had some fitness.
Sadly, I’ll have to miss PIR next weekend. PIR was my first real muddy race two years ago and has always held a fond place in my heart for delivering ridiculous mud and epic puddles, nay, lakes to ride through. But the week after is Washington Country Fairgrounds in Hillsboro which will be a totally new-to-me venue.
I’m also pretty excited to revive this poor neglected blog. Look for some European vacation posts and pics coming soon.