I did my first race since October 2008 today, the Big Ring Rumpus. It's a mt bike race with a cyclocross category. Several of my Hup teammates came as well. The forecast looked awful (thunderstorms, tons of rain), so Ed and Elliot stayed at home. (Despite the name of the race, I did not use my big ring once!)
Chip, Hup New Belgium coordinator, set up a tent with his Lion of Flanders flag.
(photo by Chip)
My new Hup bottles! (photo by Chip)
There were 5 women racing cyclocross. The start was pretty fast and I did my best to hang on to the wheel of Christine from Quad Cycles. I was having a hard time staying on but went to the front to take my turn toward the end of the first 4-mile lap (of five). The course was super flat and fast (perfect for 'cross bikes) and the mud didn't slow things down much. Although we had gotten clear instructions beforehand that the finish chute was to the left and the way to to course for more laps was to the right, in my anaerobic state I went left (as did some mt bikers) and lost a lot of ground to Christine at the start of the second lap. I burned some matches trying to catch up and was with her for a little while, but it was only a matter of time before she rode me off her wheel. I kept getting passed by mt bikers from the sport category and hoped that I could hang on with one, but I didn't find any good candidates until halfway through the last lap. I got a little complacent sitting on and got passed by Michele from ECV very close to the finish. She had already raced the novice category on a mt bike earlier in the day! There was a twisty cyclocross-style chicane at the finish to make it easier to pick finish order, so as soon as Michele passed me I counter-attacked to stay ahead. There was no point in trying to cat-and-mouse the twisty finish (especially since I have no idea if I can sprint -- my sprinting muscles are TINY now). To my surprise, I stayed ahead of her and finished 2nd. Super fun and a great course!
(photo by Chip)
All my stuff was muddy, of course. As I spent an hour cleaning everything up and moving my things in from the car and trying to find something to eat (I was ravenous for the rest of the day) I remembered why we don't do this so often anymore. Racing is sooo much fun, but takes sooo much time. :)
I miss it though. It was so awesome to see many old friends (Jeff G, Eric M, Carl R, Mike/Cathy, Thom P, just to name a few). To get an idea of how fast the course was, check out out the second video in Thom's race report.