Just One of Those Days

October 14, 2007 · Print This Article

Central California Cyclocross, Race 3
By Beth Welliver
Pacific Grove, California

Today was CCCX #3. The third local ‘cross race of the season; the third ‘cross race of my very short ‘cross career. Having won the first two races, I was excited at the possibility of winning another race. Of course, I hadn’t been on my mountain bike for a week and a half, but I did have a few road rides, so fitness should be okay…let’s go win us another race.

Perhaps I should have taken notice when, during my warm-up lap, I did a quick pull-over to the side of the trail to let some racers pass and a pesky little scrub oak lurking under the long grass jabbed into my leg hard enough to knock my foot out of the pedal. In hind-sight, this was a sign of the things to come.

The course was fast and relatively flat – no huge climbs (good for me) and no long descents (not good for me and my 30-lb mtn bike). At the starting line I noticed a few new faces in the C crowd…new, very fast-looking faces with very nice, very fast-looking ‘cross bikes. Perhaps another sign…

Whistle blows and we’re off. Up the little climb at the start, and I’m right at the front…until one of the very fast new faces rolls by and cuts in before the start of the single track – good move, I have a race on my hands…we get to the first set of barriers, and that’s when amateur day really got started. I was so excited/nervous/freaked out to be actually racing with someone that I totally botched the jump over the first barrier and slammed my bike into it. And with that, the race was over because very fast new face girl #1 was off.

But, I think to myself, there’s still another very fast-looking new girl behind you, so get on it. So the next 3 laps was a panicked ride complete with more bike-slamming barriers, horrible remounts, dragging (literally) my 30-lb mountain bike up a run-up, stupidly attacking on pavement even though I had knobby tires, and a near-fall on an off-camber turn.

The crowning moment of amateur day was on the 3rd lap – my final time up this relatively short, but slightly steep and very sandy hill that I had ridden every time in warm-up and the first 2 laps. Apparently I spaced out during the approach to this time and didn’t shift. So half-way up I got stuck and had to hop off…no big deal, I can run pretty fast.

I get to the top, a guy on the side says “nice grimace!” (lovely, b/c I know what that face looks like), and try to hop back on my bike…but for the 500th time during the race, my feet and my pedals were repelling each other like water and oil…and then the swearing started. Well, it was just one word in a very loud voice, and as I finally got back on my bike and pedaled away, I see the 12-year-old kid along the side of the course…oops. Oh well.

I managed to hang on for the final lap and hold onto second place. It turns out that very fast new girl #1 is an expert mountain biker and a speedy road racer, too, so I didn’t feel so bad about losing to her. Wish I could have kept it a little closer for a bit, but it was one of those days. Still holding on to first place in the series, so no damage done.

More photos, courtesy of Terry.

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