Charm City CX
So just because we don't always have a good race, doesn't mean the story shouldn't be told! Being my first UCI race I was quite nervous. I didn't know what to expect, I just knew that it was going to be a very hard race. Several big names in cx were there, including Helen Wymen, Joyce Vanderbeken, and of course our own Patty Buerkle.
The start was fast and hard and I found myself in the same situation as Tacchino, trying to pick everyone off. I settled down and was able to pull myself into top 10 or so. The course was dry and dusty, the sun blazed down on us. Still, my legs felt great and my mtb background was letting me slowly pick people off.
On the second lap, the stairs were moved a couple feet forward. Or another way to put it is that I waited too late to dismount and went straight into the first of 4- 1.5ft high wood steps. No time to waste, I jumped up and climbed to the top without losing any places. As soon as I remount, I notice my brakes rubbing and I lose a couple places trying to fix it while riding. I needed my pit bike. But I knew Chris wasn't there for a handoff and I didn't want to lose too many places to search for my bike. Through the natural barricades around U-Turn Tree, I saw Chris at the man-made barriers and asked, well told really, that he needed to get me my bike. By now a big group of five or so has already passed me.
In the pit area Chris and I fake our way through a bike switch. Wasn't too bad either considering we've never done it! My pit bike is different. The shifter hoods are shaped differently, its longer than my race bike, and it handles like a cruiser. It was like I had never ridden a mt bike before! Just after the stairs there was a sharp right turn that, with my pit bike, I leaned into too much. Coming off the bike I barrel rolled several times before getting back up and remounting. The extra 5 pounds that my steel pit bike has over my race bike is also a massive difference over all of the barriers! Because of all of these issues and not being confident on that bike I lost 15-20 places total.
My knee started to swell from my first crash, and the shifter hoods were giving me blisters on my hands. But Chris stepped up to bat and got me my race bike back running for the final 2 laps. The familiarity helped and I started feeling much better. Though a little too late. I only ended up making 1 place back and there was a massive gap to the other groups.
I still had loads of fun, and tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully with 2 less crashes and 1 less bike!