Yep, thats right, tonight I actually entered my first sanctioned bike race so I need a license and all that jazz. However this was not a road race as most of you might think. No, no, if you saw my previous “Tire Teaser” post you might have an inkling. I pinned on a number for a cyclo-cross or CX race. Now if you don’t know what cyclo-cross racing is, well, it’s hell on wheels that involve, barriers, stairs, running, carrying the bike and sometimes also includes mud, snow and all sorts of foul weather. If that isn’t a good enough description for you here is a video that summarizes it well. Thankfully our course was dry and it’s way to early in the year for snow.
I used my Tricross for this race, as it is a cyclo-cross bike. When I bought this bike several years ago it was with the intention that I could ride it on the road and then hit some dirt roads or fire roads if the mood struck. Now with my CAAD10 as my primary road machine the poor Tricross was collecting dust and I decided to treat it to a proper pair of CX tires so I could give it a good flogging.
The race I entered was a CX training race, #1 in a series of 4, so there were a bunch of first timer/Cat 5 racers there with me. We were able to pre-ride the course and then had a skills clinic with retired Cannondale Pro, Tim Johnson. Once that was complete we were able to watch the Pros race and then it was show time for the “B” race which consisted of Cat 3, 4 and 5 racers.
The race certainly met expectations and much more. The race was 40 minutes long and you needed to be on the gas the whole time, quite a bit different than riding on the road. There is no pace line, no shelter in the pack, no long downhills to recover on. It’s full gas all the time. I knew this going in but I really didn’t know what to expect. Now I do!!! My sustained power needs a little work, I’m used to soft peddling on the flats at 19mph to recover from a hard effort, not happening on a CX course! With that said, I think my biggest fault was my tire pressure, I had a low pressure around 40psi, but I need to experiment and go lower as I was getting pretty beat up bouncing around on parts of the course which was extremely fatiguing by lap 3. I didn’t really notice it when I pre road the course because I wasn’t at race pace which just intensifies everything.
While I didn’t win the race (HA!), I didn’t finish last either, but I did finish 2 laps down on the leaders. But in any event, I had a blast, it was a nice atmosphere, everyone had fun and I can’t wait to do it again!