Monday, September 10, 2012

CX season is here! Tacchino & Ellison Park

Rohrbach's Ellison Park CX, UCI
Patty went to Rochester, NY this weekend and placed 3rd and 5th!! Thanks kind of a big deal. Nice job Patty!

Tacchino Cross 2012 
(Also congrats to teammate Morgan, and new husband Steve!)

The Women's 1,2,3 field had an awesome turnout for Tacchino Cross this year.  Over 20 starters, I got a place in the 2nd row...behind a girl that for some reason decided to start in her small ring.  Obviously slowing my start and making me chase the lead group from the whistle.  The start took us through the 2nd half of the course, all the while trying to pick my way into 10th place overall.

For the first full lap, there was a small group of us trying to catch the leaders: myself, Jen Pope (Velocita), Sam Rynas (NCVC), Jen Tillman (Kelly Benefit), and Lyndsay Bayer (XO Communications).  The five of us stayed together through about a third of the second lap.  The long finishing straight brings us up to the announcers tent and pavilion.  Through a few tight technical spots, the barricades came immediately after a 180 degree left turn, only to bring us into another short technical spot before opening up into a power section.  Coming back around to the pavilion, we had a couple more tight spots before the group split even further to myself, Jen Pope, and Lyndsay.  We were able to put a small gap between the other girls before the second half of the lap.  The backside of the course had some tighter, technical sections, and it was also slicker from the rain the previous evening.  Down a straight, fast decent, the course brought us to a slick uphill with 2 logs strategically placed so that only a select few could actually ride it.  Dismounting and running up the hill and over the logs, Jen Pope and I pulled away from Lyndsay before the last couple switchbacks and back into the finishing straight.

The third lap, Jen lost a little time on me through the barricades, and I took a little time to try to allow my heart rate to recover.  This gave her the opportunity to catch back up right before reaching the backside of the course.  A few encouraging words passed between the two of us (gotta represent Hampton Roads!), we stayed together until shortly after the hill run up.  A short singletrack section gave me an yet another opportunity to stand and push a little harder.  This time to open up a gap before starting our final lap.

Until the backside of the course I maintained no more than a 10 second advantage.  I opened the gap a bit more through the tighter technical section before botching the hill climb.  I dismounted too late, running my front wheel into the first log.  The gap started to close.  Feeling a slight bit of panic, I slipped just as I was grabbing my top tube to lift it over the log.  The mud, though tacky, was about an inch deep, and my left knee sunk in very quick.  It seemed like my recovery took much longer than it should have...the seconds seemed to tick by and I knew Jen would pass me at any moment.  I picked myself and my bike up and over the first log.  My legs felt heavy running up the hill and over the second log (not sure if I was moving fast enough for that to have been deemed a "run").  As soon as I remounted I pushed as hard as I could, knowing that the short singletrack and a few switchbacks gave me a slight advantage.  I crossed the line in 5th, barely making the podium.  Jen crossed shortly behind me in a well-deserved 6th place.

Cross season has officially started!  The first race of the season is always bitter sweet.  The tension (at least for me) is slightly higher than normal since I'm unsure how I'll fair for the first race of the season, I almost forget what the race dynamic is like (especially after coming off of road season), and I DEFINITELY forget how much it hurts!  I stayed in the red zone for the entire race, and my legs are extremely sore while I lounge on the couch writing this race report.  Sounds terrible, I know.  But Cross is an unbelievable amount of fun and everybody should try it!  For those who don't...Jen Pope and I feel sorry for you!

See everybody at Charm City!!!

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