Cross Season is Here! Fort Ritchie and South Germantown CX

Before I get into my race from this past weekend–which is all set and ready to post–I feel like I need to go back in time to my last two races. So going back in time…

Fort Ritchie CX

I had originally planned on skipping this race, as it was the weekend after the SM100. But as the race approached, I figured “hey why not?” I need the ‘cross practice, and what better practice than jumping into a race? It was also a small field with some familiar names, so it was a less intimidating way to jump into my first Elite race after upgrading to a Cat 2 at the end of last season.

It was a small field, so they started all of the women together, which I liked, since it made for a larger overall field. Straight off the start, the Cat 1/2 race separated from the Cat 3 racers. I was a little surprised at how quickly we pulled away, as I expected at least one of them to  be on my tail. I stayed in my 4th place position for most of the race. By the last lap I was starting to pull back 3rd place, but I wasn’t able to catch her.

I finished 4th out of 4 in the Cat 1/2 race, and 4th over all for the entire women’s field. I was pleased with that because I at least felt like I was in the right race. However, part of me kind of wished that I had not upgraded last season because I could have taken my first ever ‘cross win in the Cat 3 race. But if I did that, I would not have walked away with $40!

South Germantown CX

South Germantown was new to the Sportif calendar for the year, so of course we had to check it out. The course was not my favorite, but they really did the best they could with what they had, which was was basically just a lumpy field. However, after a successful event, the park has given the race promoters access to more areas for next year, so I think the course will be much improved in 2014.

This race made me glad that I dipped my toes in the Cat 1/2 waters the weekend before, because today we had a more intimidating field of 10 women. Usually I think that more people not only equals more people faster than me, but also more people slower than me. That logic is officially dead to me.

The start was one of the more aggressive women’s race starts I have been a part of. Like every single one of the 10 thought they could be leading the pack, and most of them were probably right. I wasted some energy at the start trying not to be last, but I quickly ended up last anyway. I spent a good amount of time there, but then suddenly started to gain on the women in front of me who beat me last week. I stayed on her wheel for a bit and then found a good spot and blew by as hard as I could. The entire time, my high school cross country coach yelling in my head “pass her don’t pace her!” Advice that is actually more relevant in cycling than running.

After that I was gaining on the girl in 8th place and made kind of a dumb attempt at a pass. I raced this girl last year and I KNOW that she is one to pass back as soon as she is passed. We fought it out for a bit, but if she really wanted to be in front, then fine by me, I would just follow her. After that I couldn’t really hang on to her but she didn’t get too far away. I should have waited and picked a better spot. Next time perhaps.

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