Weekend Wrap Up - Red Barn & Fridley CX Race Reports

5:16 AM

What did I do this weekend?  I lived and breathed all aspects of cyclocross, accidentally raced another double, and actually got paid to race!

Running the mini run-up at Red Barn CX
Saturday was Red Barn CX, one of my favorite races of the year.  It really doesn’t look like my kind of a course – flat as a pancake through a tree farm with one miniature run-up of about 6 feet and one proper run-up – but the course designers always do a good job of twistifying the course with some interesting turns, plus the bumpy ground seems to take some of the air out of the power riders’ legs.

Because of the Spouse’s work schedule, I lined up with the men’s category 4 field.  My goal was to be more aggressive at the start so I could actually go fishing in the later laps.  It didn’t come off quite as well as I would have liked, as one of the front-line 4s crashed himself and took out two other riders on his way down.  I had enough warning to get around without incident, but I had to one-foot it to avoid the mess. 

From that point on I just had fun.  The nice thing about racing with the category 4 guys is that while they can definitely out-power me, they generally suck when it comes to bike handling and cornering, and this course had enough sketchy corners to keep me connected.  Also, they tend to lack endurance, so when I drilled my last lap I was actually able to pick off three guys – definitely a confidence booster.

Picking up my first CX tip!
I wasn’t planning on racing on Sunday – the Spouse’s bike team puts on the Fridley CX, and we rolled into the parking lot at 6 in the morning to start setting the course up.  The morning was full of running around, sinking posts, running tape, and helping to lead-out the kids race (I was a little worried there – those kids can really move – but thankfully they also lack endurance, and I was able to stay ahead through the finish).  I knew I had a free entry into the women’s race because of my volunteering, but by the time I lined up to race, as I explained to a friend, “I’m just going to ride around the course with a number on my back…nothing else.”

Of course, I can’t do that, and my real goal was to race without taking a lap off (when I am able to get lap times for a race I notice that I tend to take a lap or two off somewhere in the middle…).  I got spun out the back in the second lap (oh, long straight stretches, you will always be my nemesis), but because my strength lies in just going, going, going, I was able to pull myself back up to spitting distance by the end.  It’s strange to feel awesome about getting second-to-last, but I was happy with my effort – I was strong on the hills, smooth through the barriers, and even had some nice off-camber re-mounts.

Oh, and as for getting paid to race, I collected my first dollar hand-up on Sunday – Woot Woot!

After the race there was more fun spectating and then working with the clean-up crew.  In the end I spent 16 hours of my weekend involved in cyclocross stuff…no wonder I got to Sunday evening and wished for a weekend…

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