This video from XXX Racing-Athletico‘s Relay Cross this weekend is too good not to share:

2014RelayCross from rachael gatto on Vimeo.

Brief race report:

I am lucky enough to have many friends in Chicago who are extremely generous with their bikes.  So, I planned this trip to see many friends, and as a bonus, get to start off the cyclocross season with Relay Cross!  It is just what it sounds like.  (Providence Festival of Cyclocross is doing a similar “Madison” event on the Friday this year.)  You enter with a partner, and take alternating laps.  Themed kits and costumes are abundant.  My friend Desiree graciously volunteered to be my partner for the Women’s Open race.

Photo by Warren Cycling

Relay Cross has a LeMans start, where the riders race from the start/finish line to the transition area, pick up their bikes, and head out to the course.  Desiree took the first lap, and then tagged me in.  I jumped the initial barrier from the transition area onto the course, and immediately knocked my chain off!  Rookie move, luckily I got it back on rather quickly, hopped on and took off!

HR data
HR data

Given that you are only doing 1 lap at a time, with breaks in between, you can go all out.  So I ripped around the course as hard as I could for about 9 minutes.  The course was in a primarily flat, grassy park, and had about a million turns.  There was a single barrier, followed by a turn to 3 more barriers.  There was a small off-camber down/up section by the lake, which I elected to hop off and run (a decision that kept me out ahead of the people behind me).  Conditions were surprisingly dry, considering that it had poured sideways rain the afternoon before, but there were some sticky/tacky sections in the middle of the course that slowed me down a bit.

Photo by Cycle-Smart

Thanks to my weekend at Cycle-Smart Cross Camp earlier this month, I had much more skill than last year.  The remounts were fast and smooth, my shoulder/carry was quick and I could keep a running pace throughout.  Desiree was a total animal and got us a great position, and I did everything I could to hang onto it, and I think I did well!  I picked good lines through most of the turns, and didn’t get passed by many people at all.  In fact, there were only 3 people that got around me, all friends of mine, and all racers who are faster, stronger, more experienced, and higher category than me.  That’s a pretty good day!  I was on an amazing bike, loaned to me by a friend.  However, I was somewhat unfamiliar with Sram shifting and a single front chainring.  But given how flat the course was, it all worked out just fine.  Final result was 12th out of 35 teams, my best cross result ever.

The season is here!