ABD Sunrise Park, Chicago Cross Cup #3.
Heeellll Yeah! That was fun, brutal but fun. My goal was to but in a good effort, not crash any barriers and to finish. Mission accomplished.
Pre-race. Things started badly. I had wanted to get to the venue by 9:00 and then have plenty of time to pre-ride etc., but I left late, got a little lost and got there at 9:30. This meant I didn't get to ride the whole course before my 11:00 race. A quick survey of the course revealed that it was mostly flat and twisty, 2 sets of barriers both uphill, and one sharp up. So, I registered and then did the barrier sections first as I had yet to jump an actual barrier. As long as I unclipped my right foot early enough, I could get over them fairly easily. I then did the sharp up to see how that was, I could ride it, but in traffic, running it might be faster. The rest of the course would be a mystery as I discovered I had a flat. Crap, you gotta be kidding me!! It is 10:35. So decision time- just use my pit wheel or go back to the car and change the tube. The lot where they had us park was about a 5 minute ride from the course, walking slower. I decided to change the tube and save the pit wheel and so I ran to the car, changed the flat and rode back, stopping to do the barriers one more time.
The start I lined up in the back of our 2 rows as I didn't want o be anyone's way at the start. I figured I could start at the back and then gauge my progress. The whistle blows and nerves, whatever get to me and I miss my clip in. This surprised me as the start was just like a mountain bike start and I was on MTB pedals, which I've been clipping in and out of for over 10 years. Anyways, I finally clipped in and got right onto the wheel in front of me. First corner, everyone backed up, anothet turn, down, turn, then the first barrier and I was good to go.
The race. 45 minutes. Since I didn't get a chance to pre-ride the whole course, much of it was a surprise. Eventually, I got into a group of about 4 or 5 and we kind of just passed each other for the first 3 or 4 laps. I ran the up the 1st 3 laps because of other riders and then rode it the rest of the time. On the 5th lap the guy in front of me hit one of the barriers pretty hard and bent his bars over. Then I raced by myself, which is always hard for me. I got lapped by the 1 and 2 finishers on the 5th or 6th lap. Then it was over. I have no idea where I placed. Since some guys DNF'd I didn't come in last. I was pretty wasted at the end.
Lessons learned. Most important: I can do this. I was way too tentative on the first couple of laps, way too much brake in the corners etc. Once I got a feel for how the bike rode, I was able to go faster on each lap. Technique on the barriers and run-ups is as important as speed on the bike. Since was only my second time riding the bike, I can only get faster.
Next race is Saturday, November 3, 2007 and I will be there.