|Women's A Field at Natwick GP|
One thing I'm learning about the Bay Area - is that there are parks everywhere! Today was no exception as the race took place on the shores of the Bay, across from none other than Candlestick Park. (as a kid growing up watching Joe Montana and Jerry Rice -- Candlestick Park has a bit of a mythical stigma to it). As we pulled up to the race venue, my eyes started to turn into saucers, as this looked like no CX race I had ever been to before! Between the village of pop-up tents, massive blow-up arches along the course and the huge run-up-stairs, roll-down flyover - I felt incredibly out of my league. What had I walked into?
|Running up the fly-over|
The Women's A race set off at 1:30, with the Women's B race, so all in all, I lined up with over 75 of my new closest friends. I was terrified. I missed having familiar faces in the crowd to laugh and smile with, knowing who's wheel to follow and who'd ride me off their wheel in no time flat. Oh ladies of MABRA CX - I miss you!!!
I ended up with a 3rd row start - not terribly awful, especially considering there were at least two world-cup caliber racers in the front row (gulp!). As Matt would say -- I was a guppy in the ocean today! But you're never going to get faster racing against people slower than you, so when the whistle blew, I tried to put my self-doubt on the shelf and move forward with the mass of ladies. Admittedly I'm not used to mass-starting a CX race with 70+ racers. I know this is the "norm" for the guys - but it was a little scary when I'm used to starting with a field of typically 20-40 girls. I initially fell back in the pack but as things started to string out, I started to make my way back up through the field. I had no clue where I was - definitely not at the front, but not at the back either - so that was pretty good.
|It's a little brown in CA right now -- dry, dirty and dusty CX|
Back on the bike and chasing, my knee was not really happy with me, but hey, it's CX, it's supposed to hurt in almost every way imaginable. I slowly caught back up to a few of the girls who had flow past and tried to hang with them for the last few laps. The Canadian and Munchkin had come out to cheer - and trust me - when you know virtually no one in the "scene" having your two best friends there to cheer for you - makes all the difference in the world :-)
...the "slo-mo" on the iPhone6 came just in time for CX!
By the final lap, I was somehow feeling decent and made a pass in a straight-away coming in toward the fly-over. Then I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I ended up on my butt right in front of the fly-over, with several girls breathing down my neck. Angry Emily really kicked in, as I hauled myself and my bike up amid laughs and cheers, flew up the stairs and on the other end, somehow managed to out-sprint another girl ... for what I later learned to be 19th place. Hello cx racin' in California :-)
|About to fly down the fly-over!|
Now I ponder what's next (Levi's Gran Fondo or some NorCal CX in Concord??) as I play couch-potato convinced that I can't move because of a bruised knee and quad....more wine please?