FurtherCross Race – 10/14

Last Sunday I raced in my fifth cyclocross race—FurtherCross, held at Badger Prairie Park in Verona. To say it was wet and muddy would be an understatement. I was there early to watch Larry’s race, and as the morning went on, the course conditions only continued to deteriorate. Soon, the course was one big muddy mess. A big part of me considered skipping the race, but ultimately I decided to give it a shot. It would be my first time riding in mud—an adventure for sure, and certainly a good learning experience.

Only four women toed the start line for the Category 3 race. Luckily, Larry had given me good advice beforehand. He told me to go out conservatively, and warned that riding in mud takes a lot of extra energy. He was right, it seemed 10x more difficult. Almost immediately, my breaks and gears were locking up from all of the caked-on mud. I tried to power through it and find the least muddy part of the course (not always easy). Running up a steep set of stairs (once each loop, five loops) was the most physically challenging part of the race. On my third time up the stairs, a spectator yelled, “You’re running up those stairs like a girl!” I wanted to yell back, “But I am a girl!” Did I mention that heckling is a big part of the culture of cyclocross? When I passed a few guys in the Category 3 race, the spectators sure gave those guys a hard time.

My friends Dano and Dione braved the cold and rain to come check out the race and cheer for me. Actually, Dano ran to the race in Verona from his house in Madison. That was a fun surprise! It was great to see their big smiles throughout the race, and Dano captured several great photos.

After the race, I huddled around a bonfire with fellow-racers to try to warm up, and also enjoyed a sample of Furthermore Fallen Apple beer (tasty!). Cleaning all the mud off myself was no easy task, but luckily Larry had the ingenious idea to take our bikes through a car wash. I wish I had pictures of that.

 

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