Thursday, September 23, 2010

Photo by Jeremey,

First race in the Chicago Cross Cup series - SUCH an excellent series! - Jackson Park. I raced the women's cat 4s along with 51 other women! A HUGE field.

My goal was to finish in the top ten so I'd get a call up at the next chi cross cup race. I had a pretty good start, but once we hit the trees, women started shooting past me. A LOT of women. Not good. But I rode a clean race -- didn't fall, didn't get tangled up. I'm slow over the barriers, but pretty fast on the straights. I worked hard at catching the racers ahead of me, passing them and dropping them. It was super fun! I ended up 11th -- so didn't quite make my goal. Something to work for.

And really, not good enough to upgrade. Yes, this is my third year racing 'cross as a cat 4. I've never won. Last year, I don't think I broke the top five. I would love a longer race, but I've seen too many women cat up and spend the rest of their race days fighting as hard as possible to be 'not last'. I do that enough on the road -- I want to have FUN in 'cross. That said, catting up's not out of the question. We'll see how the season goes.

Photo by Vladimir Istomin.

I got a call up to the line in the men's 4b race. It was CROWDED up there -we were shoulder to shoulder. The whistle blew and I started sprinting and [I later learned] the guy next to me unclipped mid-stroke and fell into me. I crashed in the middle of 75 guys in a mad dash for the hole shot. These guys will ride over you -- I covered my head until the bulk was by. Then I leapt up, jumped on my bike . . . to find my seat was sideways. Off the bike, pound it with my fist until it's straight, jump back on and CHASE. The back of the pack was in the willows by the time I was off.

I caught up with the back and started passing guys. Hey -- Flannel Mike has a cross bike! I would ramp it up in the straights and speed past, trying to go fast enough to break their will to chase me. Coming through the start/finish, the lap counter says '2'. RATS! Only three laps to make up ground. I was counting on four.

On my last lap, I passed an unattached guy in a blue jersey. He did NOT like that. He got right on my wheel and at the first set of barriers, passed me back. I got by him again after the baseball diamond, and he once again glued himself to my wheel. At the second barrier, he got around me, but I passed him immediately on the straight -- I knew I had to put some distance between us before the third barrier, so I hit the S curves hard, powered back across the lawn to the little hill. Rode through the off-camber maze -- couldn't stop for the money monkey -- pushed super hard and could see that I was gapping him. I rode harder, and it worked -- I got to the third barrier, got over and back on my bike. As I started to pedal I could see him in my peripheral vision just beside and behind me, so I sprinted away, took the curves as fast as I dared and when it opened up into the start finish, stood up and rode as hard as I could and I beat him! I hear him say "I can't believe I got beat by a girl!" Dude, you got beat by a woman who gave you a whole minute head start. Heh.

I ended up 50th of 75. I cannot wait for the next race!


MarcellAS said...

Hi there, I wanted to direct you to a pic that my man friend shot at Jackson Park. I thought you may like to have it. Oh and I'm a fan of your blog too :) Good luck the rest of the cross season!


(Let me know if the link doesn't work)!/photo.php?pid=2135328&id=1036778466&ref=fbx_album&fbid=1560403883480

P.S. If you do ever use it for anything, it would much appreciated it you credit the photog - Jay Madden - he's a pro always looking for extra work :)

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