Finally got my first cyclocross race of the year in this weekend. Yes, it did involve flying all the way to California. Yes, it did hurt. Yes, it was my first foray into the world of racing with the A's, time trial world champions, singlespeed world champions, multiple national champions, pro mountain bikers, and the rest of the lot. Daaaammn, these girls are FAST! Yes, I did finish DFL both days. But at least it was fun! Day One my goal was not to get lapped. The course at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds was hot, dry, and fast, fast, fast. Let's see, I hung in tough for all of umm, one lap. I was comfortable and relatively quick through the technical sections, but there was this ridiculously long road section where everyone just rode away from me. There was this crazy little uphill that we had to grunt up every time (see the pic courtesy of Terry), so that's what I looked forward to each lap. Otherwise, nothing to interesting to talk about besides me being much slower than everyone else. I actually did a little victory dance in my head when I got the one-lap-to-go sign because I hadn't gotten lapped by the speedy leaders.
Day Two...more of the same. The course was a little bit different today, and there was a nice little run-up, which always makes me happy! My goal today was to hang with some of the girls that I knew I should be able to hang with. Terry told me I looked good through the first lap, but by the time we got to the road section on the second lap, I was done once again. So I suffered along as best I could, and stuck it out the whole time even though I really wanted to throw in the towel. Once again, I didn't get lapped, so I guess I'll take that away as my small bright spot in a weekend of crazy cyclocross suffering. My new Ellsworth Roots ride was great (except for the creaky seat post I have to fix!), and the Williams Wheels were awesome.
I am disappointed with how my races went this weekend, but I also know what I have to work on through the rest of the season. Living in a place that doesn't have much of a fall racing scene and no cyclocross makes it a little tough to check where I am. I can tell that I didn't have the track to help the speed and fitness this summer, and I could definitely tell that I didn't have the "race fitness" that the rest of the field that has been racing since early- to mid-September did. And I know where I stood fitness-wise last year at this time and I don't think I'm in the same place. But, I know what I have to do to get to where I want to be...and the goal wasn't to be there this year anyway. Patience.
It was great to see all the NorCal folks I'd missed all summer. I doubt I'll be back here anytime soon, so it was great to see everyone at the races, and to those I missed...you know how to get in touch with me.
Next race...Ft Worth Cyclocross next weekend...I'll get to see how Texas does 'cross. Perhaps BBQ rather than burritos and tamales afterwards.