Lessons from CX

This weekend was the first two cyclocross races in the local Bubba Cyclocross series. Saturday’s night races were a blast: a good crowd came out and cheered all the races. The course was mostly flat, but the light and dark made the course challenging. This weekend was more about “getting in the groove” so I started towards the back and just tried to hang in. I felt good on the barriers and the log jump, but a few of the cornering pieces were a bit difficult still. On one gravel-to-dirt 180º turn, I took the turn too sharp and went down knocking the right brake hood in. Spent part of the lap trying to muscle/beat that back into place. Think I may start some clandestine cornering trials soon.

Sunday’s daytime race was all about seeing how I could (or could not) handle two races in one weekend. For the most part, I felt pretty good and battled it out with a few guys (admittedly towards the back of the pack, but felt still good). I was able to usually pass some guys on the paved hill and felt my descending was a bit better too — although the descent was narrow and fast so it was not really a passing zone. My big issue came in the last lap (after we’d been passed by the singlespeed leaders). I had been trading off with a rider for a while: I’d pass on the hill and he’d pass on the pavement or turns. On the last lap, I saw an opportunity so I passed him and gunned it for the line. But unlike Saturday’s race, they had placed a barrier in the final turn and I now came flying at the barrier. I hadn’t practiced barriers at this speed. Unclip foot and swing the leg around. Good. Coast a bit. Ok, that barrier is coming fast! I better start running. Not good. My feet were not ready to start runnig this fast. Too fast! Going to hit barrier! Divert! I managed to lift the front of the bike and jump the barrier, but had to let the rear wheel slam into barrier. This caused the bike to bounce around, a pedal clipped my leg, but I was able to control it and find my way to the finish.

It’s good to be back in cross season and I’m looking forward to a more. Next up, though, 56 miles of singletrack and gravel road for the BT Epic. And the weekend forecast shows a chance of rain. Should be awesome.