Lessons in Cyclocross: Canton Cup Race ReportOctober 20, 2008
I finally did my first cyclocross race this weekend and it was freak’n awesome.
(If you are viewing this in a feed reader, click through for some video I shot at the race)
On Friday night before the race I went over to the local baseball field and rode around in circles for about a half an hour, just doing circles in the dark by myself, practicing my running dismounts/carrys/remounts. I was actually staring to get a handle of it. Big confidence booster.
Sunday morning, I headed down to Canton bright and early, and threw on a few extra layers to shake off the morning chill while I headed to the registration tent and did two laps around the course to actually start to build some confidence that I can handle this thing.
My new tires are awesome. They make my bike feel completely differently, but it still haven’t gotten used to the fact that I can power through tight dirt/gravel/grass corners without worrying about going down. I’m a little heavy on the brake into corners because of it, but hopefully that will pass.
Now on to the race…
I didn’t have very high expectations for my first race, but given that 40 minutes of all-out riding, switching up positions and gears often, sounds a whole lot like spinning class (something I’m very familiar with) I didn’t expect to be too awful. I’m a solid MOPer in triathlon, and sort of expected the same here.
I settled in to the middle/back of the pack at the starting line knowing full well that I had no business in sprinting for position in the beginning. I never even heard a gun or bell go off. People just started going. I followed.
People were going nuts and exploding up a short paved hill and about two or three went down and clogged up the whole works. I didn’t think that I was lagging that bad, until I looked back and saw only one or two people behind me. Damn…
Once we got into the first dirt/grass section, I was able to pass a few people and hold a decent pace to close some gaps. I was able to get over the first set of barriers pretty easily, and was in a good mood.
Slowly (very slowly) I was able to pass a few more handfuls of people to climb my way up the field. But for every guy that I passed, either some 14 year old (no exageration) punk kid or tiny little girl would come up and fly past me. I’ve heard of getting chicked before, but getting babied? These kids weighed like 80 pounds. WTF? I was at least able to have a little confidence boost when I was able to hold off one of the kids on lap 3 of 4.
Sad. Right? I know.
Now that my ego was sufficiently checked, I just settled in, stopped focusing on place and made sure I had a nice consistent effort level and kept the rubber side down.
My three goals for the race were:
- Don’t be DFL
- Don’t fall on my face
- Have a kick-ass time
All were done pretty well. I definitely wasn’t DFL, but it was pretty lonely in the BOP where I was for the entire 47 something minutes. I don’t have an official time/place, but hopefuly they’ll post it online soon. I’ll update this post if they do.
I definitely have a lot to learn, and my bike handling isn’t awful, but definitely needs some work. Most of all the things that I learned today is that cyclocross racing is COMPLETELY different from triathlon racing. But, I love learning new things, so I will definitely be trying my hand at another cyclocross race in the near future.
The results are in. But they say that I DNF’d! WTF IS THAT!?! I may have slogged my way through slowly, but I didn’t get lapped and I sure as hell didn’t DNF! I don’t care as much if my time isn’t right, or my place is wrong, but to not even pay attention when I cross the line and say I didn’t finish is a whole different story.
BOO Canton Cup! Boo to you.
According to my bike computer, I finished around 47 minutes. That only puts two other non-DNFers behind me.
Next time, even if I am dead last, I’ll just have to throw my hands up in the air and start making such a ruckus that everyone has to notice me and take down my finishing time. 🙂
Results are updated and I’m no longer a NDFer! Apparently I placed it says i was 47:19 (which sounds about right) and beat 5 people. Wooho! I guess the bar is set pretty low to PR my next race! HAHA.