California Cross, Lori Whynot, 9-24
Nice race report Cris! Congrats to you and Libby, too, on some great racing, despite the power-suck.
I have my own report from this past weekend here in southern california.
I decided to head northward into LA again- Palos Verdes estates- Horse farm country….to do not ONE, but TWO cross races Sunday. There are a few series going on and they put on W 35+, W 3//4, and Women 1/2/3 races each Sunday. The fields are pretty small, but it’s quite grassroots.
I had planned to do the 9:00 AM W 35+ as a ‘warm up’ (40 minutes) and then do the W 1/2/3 ( 60 minutes) at 11:30 to see how fast or slow I am right now.Let’s just say that it was a hard course on a cross country route in the woods. These people have some kind of penchant for mulch, too.
What I learned is:
1) I am a very skilled ‘cross racer compared to some people around here.
2) I may have skills but I’m not really fast as I start my training so late in the season.
3) Although I got over 1 hr & 40 mins of cross racing under my belt- I just don’t have the stamina or the power right now to be racing for that long! But what doesn’t kill me, I suppose will make me stronger?
It twisted around alot of dry, dusty 2-inch dirt paths and spots of thick mulch. Every hard corner had a deep pile of mulch you had to not skid out upon. We winded up and up along a dusty cross country trail, with ruts and sections of deepish dirt (can you say “DUST CLOUD”?) then into the woods where a barrier was set up before a run down into a shallow, rocky canyon and up the other side. Then a long dusty descent through tight shrubbery, with a left turn at the bottom (with views of the small ditch-like canyon on the right…. one false move or slide-out and you would go flying into the little canyon- yikes.)
The course was fast here off the descent, and twisted around another thick mulch-filled left turn (I missed the best line and almost hit a hay bale on one particularly fast lap)... then a straight push across the open field- lots of dirt, then a hard left turn (in more deep mulch) uphill and over a barrier, and more uphill (running of course). Here I would dismount after the careful turn in the mulch, lose my momentum, but pick up the bike and run the long run-up, over the barrier, then remount before descending back down a dry, off-camber descent with some scary little ruts that could really knock you off balance if you hit them wrong at such speed.
After this descent, which took us through a short tree-lined section, we were dumped out into the open again, with an S-turn (more mulch) and then the gradual uphill back to the start finish. Before the S/F there was a HUGE pile of fresh cedar mulch you had to ride up and over (squishy, leg-power sucking).
W 35+ 40 minutes 4 starters, Lori W. 3rd place:
The 9AM race I almost missed, because I got lost trying to find the course. I arrived with 10 minutes to spare (no warm-up). There were only 4 of us at the start line, and one woman was an experienced mtn biker, but this was her first cross race. Of course she ended up winning the race, by 2 minutes! I was in 3rd for the first lap, then spend the rest of the race playing do-see-do with the woman in 4th. My start was not very agressive, mainly because I had NO warm up and figured I would use this first race as a warm up. Plus I’m really at the point where I have to be racing myself into shape right now. I’m still suffering the effects of the sinus infection and bronchitis, with lots of prolific stuff in my respiratory system. It’s a bugger of a cold and won’t really let go so easily.
At some point in this race, after the first and 2nd place women were off in front by a good gap, I decided that it was important enough for me to finish 3rd and not settle with 4th. So, I poured myself into the last 2 laps, passed the rider who was in 3rd, and kept going. I was able to put almost 1 full minute on her by the end of the race.
In the 2 hours between races, I drank a recovery drink, and went for a road ride for 20 minutes to loosen up my legs. Then I took a short 10 minute nap!
Race #2: W 1/2/3 6 starters. Lori- 6th.
At the start line there were only 2 cat 3/4 women, but I had already planned to race with the 123s, where there were 6 of us, and the payout was cash… 6 deep.
This time I went out HARD and fast… was in the lead 3 people for one lap, before my legs and body told me it was just not up for a second race. ha! So I settled back and into my own pace, but slowly watched all the other women pass me in the next lap. I was really suffering and almost quit the race completely. But, I drove over 2 hours to race, and I really needed the practice.
8 Laps later, after going slower each time around the leg-sucking course, I was absolute toast. The only thing getting me through the hardest hour ever of ‘cross was the prospect of winning back part of my race entry fees. I was already in 6th place, last place that is. I finished up the race, covered in dry dirt from head to toe, and went home with $15 cash prize. I was SO exhausted after this second race, I had no brain power left. I ended up driving away without my front wheel and didn’t realize it until 2 hours later, when I arrived back home in San Diego at a car wash andI went to hose down my ‘cross bike.
SO, any suggestions on a good ‘cross wheelset? It’s time I get a new set anyway. :-
Have a great week!