My friend, Kim (not a cross racer...yet), was curious about this crazy sport. She agreed to be my chauffeur. I thought that was very nice of her! We arrived about 2 hours early (right on schedule). First I had to see the lovely people at registration to give them my new timing chip number (first MFG race, my chip malfunctioned, and I was counted at a DNF). I went to get on the course to pre-ride, but had to promptly get off as another race had started.
Karen and I did some course reconnoitering. We watched a few spots, then came back because it was starting to "mist" more (not gonna call it rain). I donned my rain jacket, ate my sandwich, and then attempted another preride lap. This time I made it most of the way around before the next race started.
After getting off the course, I decided I may as well head to the start. The women were up next. There I found the rest of my OOA posse. Today, Jean, Karen, Cindy, and Chris (racing Masters) were also racing. Beth, from Starbucks, was also racing. I always enjoy seeing her, and we had a few moments to chat at the start.
I was near the front of the Cat 4s, but, as usual, after the call-ups, I was at the back. Karen was lucky and got called up to the front line! That was one of her goals--to get a call-up.
Then we were off! This course had a rather wide and lengthy paved start. I passed a few gals then. Once we were beyond the start, there were a number of turns that forced everyone to slow way down because, by this time, the turns were somewhat muddy. I wasn't able to pass anyone for awhile.
The only kind of tricky part of the course was the part where we had to go up a steep muddy grass hill, turn right, come down, turn right again, go back up an even steeper part, turn left, and go back down, around, and out. For me, the trick was to shift into a very easy gear, and keep my weight over the back wheel when I was going up. Coming down was just very slow so as not to wipe out on the corner at the bottom.
After that part, there was a long flat gravel stretch that allowed for passing, and also for dining on itty bitty rocks being thrown up from the bike in front of me. I think I was able to spit out most of them. Then we had to go up another hill (flat course???), and come down blistering fast (okay, maybe not blistering) on the other side just in time to make a sharp right turn. SQUEEEEEEL goes the brakes! Pedal, pedal, pedal, back to the finish line, and the beginning of Lap 2.
In the second lap I managed to pass more people. I passed Chris (but I wasn't racing against her), then Cindy (after the barriers), and after awhile, Jean. In the third lap, I found myself right behind Beth. I was surprised, because Beth is a fabulous road racer, and I never finish ahead of her. I was able to get by her just before the barriers.
The final lap was just more of the same. However, on the gravel stretch, another Cat 4 woman passed me. Well, I don't mind if Cats 1,2,3, or even Masters pass me. But, not another Cat 4! We came down the less than blistering descent, and into the last turn. She went wide--I cut it close...and passed her! YES!!!
So, I ended up finishing in the middle of the pack--23rd out of 43. My usual goals of not crashing, and not coming in last were achieved!