Trek USGP of Cyclocross Planet Bike Cup Day Two Race Report

5:48 AM

Racing the double weekend is standard practices for our local crossers, and I’ve never quite understood why.  We actually have several racers that will sign up for multiple events in one day (second race is $10), and then will still come out the next day for the double (or do we call that the triple?  Quad?).  I’ve done a double twice in my brief cross career.  I didn’t enjoy either weekend.  The second race found me sloppier on my (already sloppy) remounts, lacking in any serious hole-shot power, and fading in the final laps.

Suffice it to say that when I woke up on Sunday morning for the second day of the USGP in Madison I wasn’t exactly springing from the bed in jubilant anticipation.  More like slinking to the floor and wondering if it was a good idea to eat that half of a pizza the night before.  Plus the two glasses of wine.  And the leftover pie from Friday.

A part-grimace-part-smile at the finish
As we drove to the venue the one thought that kept me going was that maybe the course would be more technical the second time around – more technical means a slower race that leans more toward my skill set (some of those roadies really don’t know how to drive the CX bike).  The course turned out to be shorter (cut out one of the climbs) with more open sections and less twisty stuff.  Whereas I lined up with excitement the day before, I stared out at the opening sprint with something less than anticipation.  Perhaps something more like dread.

The start horn exploded, the women shot off, and I immediately began to lose spots in what was the fastest start I’ve ever participated in.  I would almost describe myself as disengaged during that first lap – everything was just happening around me as I observed.  But then something changed around lap two, I’m still not sure what, but I suddenly felt scrappy and ready for the rough-and-tumble chaos of a cross race.

I started picking people off.  Attacking after the barriers.  Sprinting out of corners.  My sore muscles from yesterday’s race were forgotten as I charged up the run-up with newfound energy.  In the end I placed one spot better than I had the day before.  This was a bit of a bummer, but I had to chase down a lot more women on day two than I did with my better start on day one.  What really lifted my mood was when the Spouse did some of his data-hunting and figured out I actually beat five women who had finished ahead of me the previous day. 

My second trip to the USGP of Cyclocross solidified my desire to keep this weekend as my cyclocross season opener – I only hope that financing in the future continues to grow and become more stable.  There is nothing better than a weekend of good racing, good food, hanging out with CX friends, and getting the most USA Cycling points I’ve every earned in my rankings report!

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