C race, 8/65 overall, 7th C1 – 2nd best finish of the season
Malte WON! first place in the C race. He led the field from the 2nd lap on (out of 5 (6?) laps total). He’s the Cyclocross rider of the year, and now state champion for the C race. Excellent season for him!
30° and breezy, a really cold day. I wore my usual (for this season) longsleeve wool shirt, wool jersey, lightweight longjohns and the Gopher shorts + wool socks and warm gloves. I hit the start ok, probably top 15 or so heading up the hill, but ran out of steam a little by the first barriers. It was the cold, it really took me about 2 laps to warm up properly (despite a preview lap and some general riding around), then made good progress after that.
This course was tougher than last year, with more hairpin turns than last year (that seems to be a popular course design feature this season), but the C racers didn’t have to do the creek crossing (A & B did), so we missed out on a little slop and one natural barrier there. It did feature the usual loose gravel and the Very Long staircase runup that i always at least part-walked, but i generally regained any lost places pretty quickly after that. There were two semi-sketchy descents – I hit a 30mph max speed, probably on the big downhill out of the woods. It’s a rough course, especially through the grassy stretches and lots of washboard on the road, though the washboard really smoothed out during the race. That’s one thing the B & A races had a bit easier. Had my first dropped chain of the year, on lap 2, at the double barrier. Luckily, i was able to get it back on the ring and back on the bike without losing a place – it probably too 5 seconds, but seemed like a solid minute.
The general race setup was nice, with a couple of tents set up at the top of the hill, music playing, and some good food; chili, coffee and beer. The only real gripe (and it was aggravating at the time) is that nobody knew when they were giving out medals. The officials did a great job of getting the results posted, and since a couple of people said they would be awarding medals as soon as the results were official, we hung out for a while. Well, 45 minutes after the results were official, no medals, and i couldn’t get an answer on it, so we bailed, freezing our tails off. Happily, Benita stayed a bit longer and picked up Malte’s medal, which was incredibly nice. I just wish the race announcer or somebody would tell people when awards were happening. It’s just not cool to have people hanging out in the cold with no information, bad for the racers, bad for spectators who are with the racers.
Anyway, by way of end-of-the-year CX wrapup, i was very happy with my race season this year. My barriers were better, but i need to practice high speed remounts. My fitness was better than last year, and i felt strong through the end of almost every race (minor bonk on the last lap at Powderhorn) – if anything, i could have pushed harder than i did.
I LOVE racing on the Surly. After the first (maybe second?) race, i switched it to a single chainring 8-speed setup as i’d originally planned. That worked out great. I had only one dropped chain all year (today), but i do want to try singlespeed racing next year. If anything, i noticed that i rarely shift to more than 3 different gears during a race, and then pretty much only the lowest 3 cogs. Singlespeeding would probably mean some runups where i’m riding up now, but i do need to get some running miles in for next year, and it would mean a lighter bike and no chain drops.
I had fun! Can’t wait until next year.