Sunday, November 22, 2015

CX Race #12--The Finale With Sunshine, and a Little Crash

MFG #6, the final race in the series, took place at Woodland Park in Seattle. We were missing two of our usual women, Sarah and Karen (both not feeling well), but Chris, Jean, Cindy, Monica, Jen, and I all showed up for what was rumored to be the most raucous party of all the MFG races. The rumors were not wrong. There were tons of spectators, making for lots of loud noise--bullhorns, cowbells, and even a gal dressed up as a cowbell yelling, "Ding Ding Ding"! There were hand-ups, everything from whiskey shots being handed up by a guy in a horse head, to dollar bills and donuts.
WHISKEY! GET YOUR WHISKEY! (Photo by Dave Molenaar)

There were several people riding in costume, with Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat making another appearance on their tandem. There was also a gal riding in a chicken costume.
Look at that calf muscle! That ain't no bony chicken leg! (Photo by Dave Molenaar)

This was one of the most fun courses. Since it was sunny, and had been for a couple of days, the course was not sloppy with mud. There was quite a bit of climbing (that's where those hill repeats come in handy), and a moderate amount of pavement. There were, sort of, 2 run-ups (for most of us anyway--some could ride them). The barriers were at the bottom of one of the run-ups. That one wouldn't have been a run-up if not for the fact that you had to get off to go over the barriers, and then  lost all momentum. Overall, the course was very fast. 

We managed to get in a lap and a half of pre-riding. At the appropriate time, we headed over to the staging area for our start. There were at least 46 starting in Cat 4 (there were 52 registered--44 finished, 8 DNFs). When it was our turn to go, we took off, and there was promptly a big pile up. I thought I was going to make it through, but at the last moment, someone took out my rear wheel. I already had one foot down, so I just kind of stumbled and landed with both hands on the log on the edge of the road. I quickly grabbed poor Hal, lying in the road, and got back on. I saw Jean was right in the middle of the pile-up, but was working to get back on her feet. Fortunately, she thinks she landed on someone, thus cushioning her fall, because she wasn't terribly injured. That's a good thing, because pavement is not a forgiving surface to land on! Anyway, I felt pretty lucky. 

Back on the bike, I passed a couple of gals pretty quickly on the first little incline. Passing is so much easier when it's not muddy! Up the run-up, over the barriers, up the other run-up, and then it was the two longer climbs on the gravel. This is where doing the hill repeats with Karen at Millersylvania State Park the last two Wednesdays has really paid off. I was able to pass people going up the hills! Back down, through a couple of tight turns, onto a stretch of pavement, and back to the dirt, I caught up to Cindy, and passed her. Then, on the second go up the long hills, I passed Chris. She was riding her new, most awesome, Threshold! The photo below was not taken where I passed her.
Isn't that a pretty bike??? She doesn't have a name yet... (Another by Dave Molenaar)

The third time through the finish, it said 2 laps to go. Fortunately, Monica (the lead 1/2 racer) caught me not long after. She passed me so fast it felt like I was standing still! Then I knew I only had one lap to go. 
And here comes Monica right behind me! (Photo by Tom Middleton)

I finished 23rd--my usual middle of the pack finish. And now, my cyclocross season is over. In fact, my entire race season is over for 2015. I did a total of 21 races this year (9 Road and 12 CX). Now I will convert Hal to a gravel bike, and head up into Capitol Forest for some gravel riding! The fun never ends!!!
Today's most awesome crew of OOA Women! Winner Winner Chicken Dinner Monica, Cindy, me, Chris, and Jean. By the way, despite her crashy start, Jean managed to work her way back up to a 27th place finish! Pretty impressive, if you ask me!

Thanks again to Tom for all the great photos this season, and allowing me to post them here on my blog. Also, many many thanks to Chris and Tom, and Karen too, for hauling me to the races. I couldn't do this without you all giving me a ride!

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