Monday, October 12, 2009

Spiral of delight at Iron Cross Lite

Iron Cross was this weekend - 62 miles of cross racing. some 238 people finished it.  I was not one of them.  I didn't start it either.  So good for them.

I did race Saturday for 'Iron Cross Lite' - which is a regular cross race at the same venue.  Known for it's "spiral of death" - a feature similar to those huge blue and yellow lollipops with flat concentric circles.  You ride in, flip a little tight turn and ride out.

The course was similar but better than last year - a single barrier log in the woods section removed ambiguity about whether to hop or dismount and the climbing was broken up into two sections.  Improvements in the sand pit configuration also affected a lot of races (read as, a bunch of  people, none of which were me, wound up lying in the sand under their bikes and, in all cases, were causing other racers to wish they'd had a better start).

Saturday's field was a combined women's field 1/2/3/4 - ouch, I pity the PA-based Cat 4's.  But I wanted to race with the fast chicks and see where I stacked up, so it was a perfect race for that.  18 starters, including at least several other Cat 4's. After a mediocre start, I climbed through the pack on the first hill, working my way up to about 7th or so - I was encouraged, this was my first not front row start all season and the start and subsequent passing went well.  A rider crashed in front of us in the first (rideable) sand pit, so we were off our bikes and running early on.  Betsy was off the front by about 2 minutes into the first lap - I held with the lead group for a bit, then had a terrible barrier on the backside (in the woods) - I ran into a bike/rider next to me.  Oops.  Gotta get the bike under control with hand on the top tube.  After a long pull coming back up the start hill, I bridged up and was back in the top 5 but in pain.  My only thought as I passed Shea yelling his head off was that I was in last lap pain at the end of the first lap - not a good sign.

I held on pretty well for the second lap as well, and was probably 7th after it.  Had a phenomenal write-home-about-this-one downhill barrier in the woods that time.  Perfectly done with a (non-double-hop) remount.  Yay!  Shortly thereafter I was surprised to see EH, who I expected to be in the top five - she'd dropped a chain and was working to get back up there.  The spiral was treating me well - I was spinning it in my big ring and not losing speed to other riders as I did last year.  I love that never going to stop turning feature!

Three laps to go... But, I burned too many matches on those first two laps and faded quickly into 9th.  I'm actually really pleased with that - top 50% in a combined field is where I hope to be right now.

Next up - another double - the infamous Granogue and Wissahickon.

Sidenote - we forgot the camera again, so no pictures til I can find some online later this week.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comment on my blog. I was at the start with yellow arm warmers, but took them off. Sorry that confused you! :-) What confused me is that a Tara finished behind me. I thought people were cheering for me and I kept thinking "who the heck are those people?" ha ha