Sunday, September 18, 2011

Charm City CX

Report by Ava

Ava charging through the sand

Julie H. at Charm City CX
A late start from Newport News left Chris and I arriving to a 'not so comfortable hotel room' at 2:00am.  Roughly 3 hours of sleep and it was time to head out for the race!  Weather conditions for day 1 were "perfect cross conditions"...low to mid-60's, overcast, and the threat of rain. I broke out the embrocation cream, knee warmers, arm warmers, and thermal cycling cap for the first race of the season! On the start line, everybody was feeling the drastic change in temperature and were trying to shed layers at the last minute. For call-ups, the Women 3/4 lined up in rows of 8. I was in the 4th row and Julie H. was 2 rows behind me. At the whistle, there was the traditional sprint, vying for position into the first corner. Everybody typically goes straight, unfortunately 1 girl 2 rows in front decided she was going to go towards the course tape. Whether she couldn't get clipped in, or she was losing her balance, we'll never know. What we do know, she cuts in front of several girls in the 3rd row and runs directly into the girl in front of me. Five-ten yards from the start line I'm already trying to avoid a crash! Having started 26th back, I lost about 15-20 more spots.  Julie H found herself about 10 wheels in front of me.

The first half of the course had slick, off-camber, 180 degree turns making maneuvering around other riders challenging.  The sand pit offered a nice opportunity to out-sprint (as in dismounting and sprinting on foot) some of the riders trying to ride through (which was much easier to do later on as the sand got packed down). More slick cornering, a short fast section, mud, stair run-up, more mud, and another fast section allowed for me to jump up a few spots.  The natural barricades and the man-made barricades put me in a much more comfortable position where I could settle into a rhythm before starting another lap. Julie and I stayed fairly close together for the remainder of the race until the last lap. The penultimate lap (word of the day!) I took an off-camber right turn a little too quickly and slid out. Luckily I had a big enough gap that I was able to keep my position. The last lap however, Julie took that same corner just 50 feet behind me and wasn't as lucky. She slid out the same way, but unfortunately suffered a broken collarbone in the process. Hopefully this one will heal as quickly or quicker than the last one! I finished in 7th overall out of 60 starters. And had Julie been able to finish, she probably would've finished right behind me in 8th place.

Thanks to Julie for the support during the race and I hope you're not on the injured list too long! Thanks also to Chris for cleaning my wheels and bike in the hotel courtyard this evening with a trashcan, ice bucket, and a cut-up milk carton as wash buckets! Good luck tomorrow to Erin & Patty, both of whom raced today in the Elite 1/2 category. Charm City CX Day 2 tomorrow!

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