3rd Cyclocross Race: Seattle Cyclocross Evergreen High School
I competed in my third cyclocross race yesterday. It was the season opener of the Seattle Cyclocross series. From my extensive cyclocross experience, I’ve got to say the crew at Seattle Cyclocross runs a well oiled machine. First off, they have a season pass that saves you time and money. You end up getting 7 races for the price of 5-6 races. Then you don’t have to wait in any lines like my MFG Cyclocross experience at Rad Racing. I just showed up in the pouring rain, got my set of numbers and ran back to my car to pin them on.
Once I had my kit on, I donned my rain gear and headed out for a couple of practice laps. The course was pretty long and the rain combined with my extra low traction tires accentuated the technical challenges. With a few minutes till the race, I headed over join my new friends from cyclocross practice at the Recycled Cycles tent where I ditched my rain gear, water bottle cage, light, and saddle bag and headed to the start line. It was a huge field of Cat 4 and Cat 4 35+ masters. I started out near the back and by time the race started there was another row or two behind me.
And we’re off!
The course started out on the running track, so were were up to speed fast and mud was slinging everywhere. Then we transitioned to some winding turns on the grass, then up a hill around a bend and down a hill onto pavement, hairpin turn onto dirt/grass, then a giant loose dirt/sand hill climb where my new shoes kept wanting to come off. Then the technical part of the course began. Wet dirt, not quite mud was canvas for a steep, off-camber twisty descent ending in a hairpin turn with another little hill climb that was easy to pedal up if you grabbed the right gear ahead of time. Then it was a lot of long, relatively flat runs with tight, slippery turns until you passed the finish line and head to the uphill barriers which brings you back to where you started on the track. Rinse and repeat three more times.
I only had one mechanical this week and it was my chain falling off at the top of the running hill climb. The only reason I think that happened was because someone I was chatting with at the start line said I should get one of those chain keepers…
The cool thing about starting in the back of the pack is that you have a pretty good idea about what position you are in the race. I’m sure my memory isn’t working, but the only time I recall really getting passed was during my mechanical. While I’d like to think it was my massive power and technical skill it was probably the fact that most of the fast people start further up in the pack and I was just rolling with people my speed or slower.
Another cool thing about our friends at Seattle Cyclocross is that they post race results minutes after the race is over. The results come off this great invention called a printer so you can actually read them plus they include all the data you could ever want like your position and time. What a difference than last week’s results, but at least MFG admitted they screwed up.
I ended up 44th out of 77 racers in the Cat 4 35+ masters race. I cross referenced the my time on the regular Cat 4 results and I would have been a few spots above DFL. So that makes me a solid Cat 4/5 racer!
Another awesome thing that Seattle Cyclocross does is that they have a Tikes and Trikes race for the little kids. Amanda and the kids came down just in time to enter Thomas in the race. Here’s Thomas’ cycloross debut:
And an after shot:
Amanda and the kids headed home and I rejoined Tyler from the Recycled Cycles team to watch the Cat 1/2 race. We paid special attention to the lines the elite men took–they slid through the turns like a hot knife in butter.
After the 1/2 race, I tried to grab a snack at the Kaosamai gourmet roach coach, but they ran out of food so I had to call it a day at the races and head home for food.