Monday, October 26, 2009

The fast and furious land of DCCX

We missed DCCX last year.  We were mountain biking in Spain that week.  I didn't know what to expect, but was really excited for this one.

I was gunning for this race - it's a big race in the MABRA series - which for me meant a large Cat 4 field (44 starters!) and perhaps a chance to win (I didn't).  I did all my prep right - some hard rides this week, an off day on Saturday, pre-rides and warm-up on the trainer while watching teammates in the elite masters race, all the right food, etc.  The course was great - some flat sections and a lot of sweeping turns that just really flowed fast and if you had the bike handling skills to rail them, it was all good.  A few three-pedal-stroke hills and two longer gradual climbs on the road at the start and finish.  Pre-riding it, I thought it was a course that would favor the roadies a bit.

They say that cross is all about the start.  I took the hole shot (again), as I'd wanted to.  The uphill start on the road quickly funneled into a left hand turn up and around some trees on the grass - lots of previous races had gotten bottlenecked early there and I wanted to stay out of traffic.  Proving that the start is killer important - here's partway through the first lap - the top three podium places are in this picture - all mountain bikers by trade, so I guess I was wrong about the whole roadie thing.

I was ready to turn myself inside out for this one and was trying to get away early.  I knew someone was sitting on my wheel on the long flat straightaway into the headwind on the first lap, so I intentionally slowed enough that she had to go around me.  I realized immediately I was not going to catch her wheel as I had intended (nor was I going to see her again).  She probably finished 2 minutes ahead of me if I had to guess and (according to the announcer) well into the elite field that started about a minute before we did.

The rest of the race I was just pounding on the pedals pretty much solo. Christine W. and newcomer Natalie were beating up on each other about 15 seconds back for much of the ride.  The cheering section by the barriers was insane.  I know there were a few people up there I knew - I'm also quite certain there were a few people that learned my name during the race as the yelling (Eric) was so loud (keep pedaling!).

I passed a few elite riders who were flagging early, went back and forth with an elite rider who was dropping me on the road only to get caught in the off camber turns, went by Tracy L. a bit later, and tried to be super nice to every lapped rider I came across.  That always made a big difference to me last year - lots more fun to know that even if you're not winning, others recognize you're working your bum off to be where you are in your own race.

I wound up with a sweet bag of prizes after taking second on the day (including Belgian chocolates!).

As a testament to how hard this race was and the energy I put out, Shea met me at the finish and asked what I wanted.  Normally I want water, my protein drink, or something equally healthy.  But yesterday, I wanted the beer that was on tap and I'd been jonesing for all morning and afternoon.

I promptly started hacking up a lung as punishment for drinking cold fizzy things immediately after racing.

Props to Jess who, in her third cx race was in the top 20, which means top 50%!  Rock on chica.


  1. Nicely done! I think the woman who won is a Cat 1 MTBer by the way.

  2. great race and report becky!