Monday, November 7, 2011

Seattle Cyclocross - Steilacoom

This is the second time this season that we have raced at Steilacoom. Several days prior to the race, we all received an email from Seattle Cyclocross predicting wet weather and lots of mud. They wanted to duplicate the conditions at Enumclaw. It was not to be.

The course was dry and fast with plenty of climbing to thin out the field. I got a faster start than usual, worked my way around the barns and started passing 45+ aged back markers on the first climb on the tarmac. After a narrow section of single track, the course designers placed three barriers further apart than normal on an up hill section that forced everyone to run the entire length of the barriers. I lost a lot of time in this run-up stretch because of all the traffic. A right turn sent you down a short down hill followed by tight turns around trees and then another longer climb up a gravel road and around a large water tank. By this time in the race, I was totally out of breath but had to negotiate a narrow loose gravel down hill path with my eyes watering from the cold. I love doing sketchy down hill sections, at speed, and blind.

Following the descent you were greeted with a wood chip path and then the remainder of the course on grass and tarmac. 

I sprinted for the finish but did not catch Rick, who was 2 seconds in front of me. 

In the end I got 6th place out of 26 in the Cat 4 55+ age group on a course that required a lot of power and endurance. 

A little math fun: As we lined up for the start the officials told us that the course had changed since the pre-ride and would be a little longer. Then, during the race, they added another lap to the race. So, as you crossed the start/finish line on lap one you heard "two laps to go". Then at the end of lap two, you again heard "two laps to go" at the finish line. Some of us were questioning the officials math abilities, but what the heck, this is cyclocross, you just go until you drop.

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