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Tried something new - race report(2 posts)

Tried something new - race reportAlex-in-Evanston
Oct 29, 2001 8:13 AM
I thought I would share the experiences from my first ever cross race. I’ve been looking forward to this Rockford series for a while, putting in mostly off road miles for the past two months. I’ve got a Gunnar single speed that I set up with a 36/18, a gear that felt way too small on the warm-up laps and then much too large on lap 7 of the race.

There was a single speed class that raced with beginners and the women’s class, but since I hiked all the way out to Rockford I thought I might do the longer race with the B’s. It was a 40 minute plus one lap race with what I think was the biggest field of the day. I believe I was the only single.

I can’t speak with much comparative experience, but the course was dry and fast, with some wicked steep run-ups and very sharp downhills with barriers right where you would want to put your momentum to good use. Unfortunately for me, the race began on a paved section and had a long paved descent toward the end of the lap. I got my butt handed to me on both of these sections, as I couldn’t spin fast enough and got passed quite handily. Otherwise, the single speed wasn’t much of a disadvantage, as most of the climbing is done on foot, and nobody pedaled the grassy descents. It required me to stay in a gear too large for comfort during the doldrums of the 5th and 6th laps, which probably helped, although it fried me.

I was right on top of two riders from XXX Racing for the whole race, with a large gap behind me, and the two leaders well out in front of all of us, so it felt like a three man race. I passed them for a very brief period on the fifth lap, but was promptly overtaken on the pavement. That was the end of my contention for third place, as I started to fade and eventually finished about twenty yards behind them in fifth place.

The type of exhaustion you feel in cross is unique. I was expecting to feel as one might during a points race on the track, where you have to sprint and recover, sprint and recover. I quickly found out that there is no recovery in cross. When I was watching the masters’ race before mine I was a bit surprised by how slow they seemed to be going, and how they were stepping over the barriers like they could hardly walk. Well, soon I found out why. The combination of running and jumping and accelerating and braking turns you into jelly in a hurry. You would hardly believe an 18” barrier could be so difficult to get over, but on lap 7 the barriers are demoralizing.

To sum up, I really enjoyed it. If any of you are at the Rockford series give me a hello. I’m on the blue Gunnar single. Same goes for Chicago supercup, and this coming weekend’s cross race outside of St. Louis (Clayton I think).


you have my respectDog
Oct 29, 2001 8:19 AM
Cross racers have my respect. I hate getting muddy, wiping out, getting on and off the bike, carrying the bike, all those things. Cross races seem to take place in the worst weather, like that's an essential part of it.

You guys are tough. I think the roads are tough enough, without someone intentionally throwing in barriers.

Go for it. If there ever is a nuclear holocost, and some survive, I'd bet the cross racers will be the only ones riding. :-)