Nov 7, 2011
Yesterday was my first CX race in Les Franqueses del Vallès, about 30 mins by train from Barcelona. There were 104 riders.
The course was dominated by a stream bed that we rode into and ran out of three times per lap. The circuit featured mud, grass, puddles, pavement, sand, barriers, and a steep climb into the woods. It was raining but this was my baptism so I was expecting to get wet!
Just before lining up racer no. 86 noticed my number (98) was pinned upside down. I jumped right into the pain-cave on the first straightaway which was grass; by the second lap my mouth felt like cotton. My race rig is a work in progress: I'm riding a Surly Cross Check this season with plans to race an IF frame next year. My gearing (53x39; 12-28) is silly for 'cross. The Cross Check is neither heavy nor light; the geometry feels more attuned to urban riding or touring than racing.
One of my strengths was running with my bike. Although the Surly was uncomfortable to shoulder I decided to lose style points and push the bike ahead of me as I ran the run-ups. I noticed I was faster than stronger riders in these sections. Since my fitness is not there yet I assume my longish legs give me an advantage.
I finished third-from-last out of 29 in the Masters 30 category. Honestly I wouldn't have been disappointed with last. The field was strong and it was a victory crossing the finish line. I don't think I would have given chase had Oprah and Stedman passed me on a tandem. I was just trying to stay upright, but I will definitely take this as motivation to pedal harder at the next race in Mataró on November 27.