It was SO FUN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was chilly out, cloudy, a bit misty, and MUDDY. PERFECT! The race was in Hillsboro; we picked up the max (lightrail) right next to our apartment and it took us directly to the race. So easy!
Dan raced first. He started in the back of a field of about 100 riders (Cat. B) and moved up fairly well. I guess he had a bad crash into a wooden wall or gate on the last lap and was knocked off his bike. He ended up in the second half of the field. Poor guy, racing his trashed-after-riding-3000-miles cyclocross bike with an uncomfortable Brooks saddle, running a clunky-shifting 9 speed chain and cassette on a 10 speed group... yuck. He'll do better next time! Now that he's in shape, he surely didn't look as tired as I'd seen him after races last year. He was covered in mud too, and had a great time. 45 minute race.
I went next. Lined up toward the back of a field of about 50-60 riders (Cat. B) and gunned it on my 29er when I heard the whistle. I chased the leaders and got up toward the front of the pack. It was hard to tell where the front was because the masters women went before us, and some were dangling off the back toward the front of our field. If I went too hard at first, I was afraid I'd lose steam...but then I just quit thinking about that and went hard, because the worst is when you finish a race thinking you could have worked more.
That 29er is awesome! The course was muddy and flat; there were a lot of tough corners. My tires gripped the corners so well! I ended up passing a lot of girls on those corners, but losing time in the flat straightaways where the cross bike has a sure advantage. People kept yelling "catch the mountain bike!"...."don't let the mountain bike beat you!!!" and some people were cheering me on, which was cool because I was afraid I was going to have a serious disadvantage with that bike. There was one spot where there was a straight part that had a deepish trench, and a hairpin. Most people took the low line, but I stayed up high and was able to take that sharp corner quickly and pass people every time. There were only two barriers (two pairs) and those went better than I had expected also. I can't shoulder my bike, and my upper body is weak, but I managed to pick the thing up alright. Luckily, my dismounts and remounts when smoothly and fairly quickly. A cross bike definitely has an advantage on barriers though!
I ended up placing 7th, which was a whole lot better than I had expected! My fitness felt great. The course was fairly mountain bike friendly, as there were no stairs or huge hills where you have to shoulder the bike and run up, so I got lucky there. Woot woot.... It was soooo muddy! AND we raced 45 minutes also, just like the guys.
Watching the pros race is pretty amazing. They are so smooth. So good at bikes. Geeee......
Both Dan and I agree that it feels so amazing to be racing again. It's so satisfying--Dan's words. Really, life doesn't quite seem complete without racing bikes. It's fun to feel fast, to compete against people, to get caked with mud, and to be seriously tired after the race.
We'll race again next weekend in Astoria, Saturday and Sunday. It's Halloween so it should be a blast. We've rented a car to get there...it's my birthday on the 2nd :-)
So now, B.Chan and I are thinking about reinstating fastgrrrls !!!!!!