Race Report - Mill City CX

5:15 AM

Creek crossing!

Just as I was lamenting the dearth of selective cyclocross courses in Minnesota and hoping for selective weather, I got both in one race: Mill City CX.  Hip hip hooray for sand dunes, rain, off camber greasy grass, un-rideable hills, a creek crossing, freezing temperatures, sand, and mud!

At this point, I’ve pretty much given up on performance-based goals – I just don’t have the form that I wanted to have this fall – so I made the decision to race at Mill City CX because the conditions were ripe for a fun race.  Saturday brought some much needed rain, and the promoters were kind enough to mention the creek crossing on the MCF message boards.  I always like a good cross race that puts fear into the roadie crowd.  Unfortunately, attendance was low – some of the best male riders were traveling to the USGP in Louisville, and the ladies…well…they are just not as committed to racing in inclement weather…

Always have to smile when you make it through without incident
The race was 50 minutes (yah, I know, my race is supposed to be 45 minutes…remember when I said I just didn’t have my form?) of pure, in-the-moment racing.  It was a great day where you were always forced to concentrate on the next thing the course threw at you: first the barriers, then a tarmac section that ended in a long climb, back down the hill through some slick turns, over a sand dune, around a pond where you had to trust your tires would hold, up a steep and bumpy hill, through a playground and some deep, wet sand, a loose and dirty hill that forced you to run, and then the drop down to the creek crossing with mud that deepened with every lap awaiting you on the other side.  Beautiful!

My podium was a nice surprise waiting for me at the finish – I lost the wheel of the third place woman in the first lap, and was trying to chase her down in lap two when the mass of old dudes who start behind us caught up.  In the chaos that they always bring I lost track of her and figured I was gapped.  Fifth place was safely behind me in an ever-increasing gap, so I put on the cruise control for the rest of the race.  Turns out third place ended up DNFing, so I got my second surprise podium of the season!  (The first I found out about four days after the race because that was when they actually posted the results…)

And with that, I head into a break.  Next week is Rat Tail CX, and I won’t be showing up at the start line (accomplishing one of my November intentions in the process).  Thanksgiving weekend is going to be nothing but food, reading and sleeping – the perfect preparation for the MN State Championships one week later…

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