Well CX season is up and running here in Nor Cal. It’s been warm in the Sacramento Valley but it is CX time even if the weather doesn’t feel like it yet. My first race of the season was Sac CX #1 at Lagoon Valley Park in Vacaville. I am the MC for the series so I’m always a little divided in my focus. The good news for me is that my Cat C 55+ race is the first of the day so after getting to the venues, helping set up the timing arch and sound system and then doing the early MC work I can do my race thing and then jump right back into announcing. My coach, Heather Neilson, is always pushing me to get a longer warm-up but it’s hard. This first race was also hard because I had just completed my endurance XC season with a 24 hour race in Bend Oregon. I only had a couple of weeks to change my goal from long, slow races to short, fast ones. My legs, heart and lungs aren’t really sure what I’m up to but with my coach’s help I’m almost ready.
There is a tough climb in the course; loose, dry and steep! For me it was the best part. First lap I got stuck in traffic and had to run the last part but I managed to clean it on all my other laps. Yay! I did ok on the rest of the course and did as well as I could expect with “24 hour legs”. End of the race I’m 6th out of 10 and feeling pretty good about my race all things considered.
Next race is Sac CX #2 at Condon Park in Grass Valley. I wanted to go into this race strong but as life would have it I came down with a cold just after race #1 and had to dial back my training some. I do like CX training. In my coach’s version there is a lot of short intervals of different types, much different from the type of endurance training I’m usually doing. The course is just as dry as the last one (rain please) but has more climbing that is not as steep. It’s a good course for me. “I love to climb” is my favorite mantra. I’m second into the dirt off the start, feeling pretty good, two of my 55+ guys get by me and I dig deep enough that no one else gets by. So I’m in 4th and manage to keep 3rd in sight for most of the rest of the race but I just can’t close on him. It’s frustrating to see the podium spot and not be able to get him. I needed either just a little more oomph or to ride the trickiest tech section better than I did. I finished 4th out of 10 so I should be happier than race #1 but somehow I’m not. So close. But the progress is good.
It’s been almost a week and the weather is finally starting to change: high of 65 today with a few sprinkles so maybe it’ll feel more like ‘cross time next race. Sac CX #3 will be mostly fast and flat. I’m hoping that my legs will have figured out this sprint stuff and that the rest of my training will go smoothly. I want that podium spot. I do know my Grammo Paru will be ready to take me as far and as fast as my legs can go.
“Keep on Pedaling”