Because I’m not doing XC this year, I’ve been on the hunt for other races and events to do. Last Wednesday, I went down to Proctor Academy for a high school mountain bike race that is part of a series I’m hoping to continue all fall. It turned out to be quite a learning experience; they started the girls (all 9 of us) with the 60 or so category C boys on to a tight 3 mile singletrack course. I realized that girls race a lot differently than boys. Boys fly out of the start, elbowing and pushing for the lead whereas girls prefer more of a “I’ll give you space, you give me space and we will see who gets there faster” approach. The race was a lesson in aggression for me but I still had an awesome race – it felt good to back racing. I ended up in second for the girls, behind Erin Donohue, an old riding buddy and 10th place in the C boys.
This Tuesday, in an effort to continue finding ways to keep my fall exciting, I headed down Paradise Sports in Windsor, Vermont for their weekly tuesday night cyclocross training session. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the sport, Cyclocross, according to Wikipedia, “consists of many laps of a short (2.5–3.5 km or 1.5–2 mile) course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike whilst navigating the obstruction and remount.” It was a pretty low-key scene down there; a core group of middle-aged guys intermittently raced around the course, pausing to rehash the last lap every once and while. Being my first time riding ‘cross, I just rode around the course, practicing the barriers and corners while trying not to humiliate myself to badly. Towards the end, I was fortunate enough to receive a bit of expertise on the barriers from some of the experienced riders. I definitely improved a ton over the hour or so we were riding and I’m hoping to go down again next week.