New Year’s Resolution CX

It’s been tough staying motivated and focused leading up to Cyclocross National Championships in Madison later this week. The last regular season WCA race was a month ago, and the massive dumping of snow last month in Madison meant the end of outdoor training rides for the season. It’s never easy to get excited about riding my bike on the trainer in our dark, damp, cobweb-infested basement, and nor can it replicate riding on a CX course, but I’ve done a relatively good job of keeping a regular riding routine the past few weeks.

I really wanted one last race effort before nationals this week, so last Saturday¬† I drove to Chicagoland (or more precisely, Hilton Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale) for the New Year’s Resolution cyclocross race. I’m sure most of the riders there, including some big name pros, were in the same mindset, as the timing of the race made it an ideal opportunity to “fire up the engines” one last time as my friend Claire would say.

I was surprised to arrive to the race site and find green grass and sunny skies instead of the snow and arctic temperatures I expected. I hopped on the course in between races and did a couple practice loops, and then onto my trainer to continue warming up. I quickly shed layers as I became warmer and warmer under the mid-day sun.

When it came time to line up for the race, I was called up twelfth (staging determined by points rankings) and found a spot in the middle of the second row. There were 20ish riders in the women’s Cat 2/3 race. My only goal was to ride hard and strong, and hopefully gain a bit of confidence going into the week of nationals.

I had a good start, and few nice passes early on, and was surprised to find myself in second place early in the first loop. As always, I thought, surely this won’t last long, and sure enough, it didn’t. After a set of barriers, we came to a difficult section of muddy turns and climbs. I became flustered and got off my bike and ran through the turns, slipped and fell, and was immediately passed by a few riders. Honestly, I’m surprised I wasn’t passed by more riders then. I tried to hang with the three riders who passed me, and was able to do so for a while. We went back and forth, occasionally trading positions. One of the women just ahead of me slipped and fell at one point, and I was able to pull ahead into 4th place. But then, eventually, the same happened to me—I slipped on a corner and went down. She had been gaining on me, and my error was just what she needed to pull ahead.

After the fall I could feel myself becoming more cautious and timid on the corners and technical sections of the course. I was no longer riding fearless and smooth; in fact, I had become sloppy. The turns and long stretch of sand-traps were the worst. Although the sand was frozen and thus easy to ride across, the jumps into and out of each sand pit were steep and jarring. The woman ahead of me continued to build distance between us, but looking behind me, I was relieved to see that 6th place was not within striking distance. For the last lap, I focused on trying to hold my position. I was very happy with a 5th place finish. Most importantly, I had given myself the final race effort I felt I needed going into nationals this week, and the confidence to give it my best.

Category: Racing and Training 2 comments »

2 Responses to “New Year’s Resolution CX”

  1. shayla

    awesome stuff, Kristin! what time do you race this weekend? i want to come out and try to checkout some CX action!!

  2. kristin

    Thanks, Shayla! I race on Friday at 2:15 p.m. and on Sunday at 1 p.m. I’ll post more details soon!

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