For my second cyclocross season I’ve decided to make the step up from B grade to Elite. I know it is a pretty big step but I figured I’d like push myself in Elite and hopefully get stronger and faster.
First graded race of the season was today. I was doing well in the first lap, sitting on the tail of a couple of the elite riders, and even managed to pass one. But then I stacked it in the sand leading into the stairs and she got back in front of me.
The second lap I kept pushing, trying to catch her or gain on her or at least keep her in sight. I wasn’t totally successful as by the third lap my focus was more on keeping ahead of the B grade rider who was starting to gain on me from behind. She was riding well, and passed me towards the end of the third lap.
For the 4th and final lap, there was yet another B grade rider gaining on me from behind. She wasn’t so fast… but at one point where the course tape had been blown all over the place from the wind I got confused and started riding backwards on the course until I saw her coming towards me! I quickly got out of her way, turned around and took the short circuit back to where I should’ve been!
I managed to keep her at bay for most of the last lap. Heading out of the stairs in the last portion of the lap I thought, okay I’ve got this I just need to power out of every corner and I’ll beat her to the finish. Then the wind blew the course tape and it got tangled in my bike. I could feel it pulling me backwards and I had to stop and unwrap it from around my pedal. Miraculously the B grade rider hasn’t caught me by the time I restarted but she was much closer!
I smashed it out of the last corner with an out of the saddle sprint and the crowds cheering us on for an exciting finish. I finished ahead of her. Last in Elite but that just means the is room for improvement!
The things I took away from this race were:
- Countless bruises, mostly from shouldering my bike but I assume a few must be from my crash.
- I need to keep working on my skills. My bike shouldering has improved but remounting and clipping in with sand in my cleats was definitely slowing me down.
- I didn’t have my usual laser focus and didn’t push as hard for the last two laps. Not sure why exactly but perhaps some more sustained high intensity fitness training will help.