The answer is yes: albeit kind of clumsily and awkwardly (at least in my case).
- Date: 05/07/2016
- Time: Balls early o’clock for the beginner race, 3pm-ish for the EnduranceCX race
- Race: Bear Brook Classic p/b State 9 Racing and RideBiker Alliance
- MonsterTruckers: Allison (Cat 3 Women 19-34), Grant (Single Speed) and Valerie (Cat 3 Women 19-34, EnduranceCX Women under 35)
Valerie’s race report (sorry I meant to write this like a week ago)
I rode my sweet new obnoxiously-green MonsterTruck all of about three times prior to the Bear Brook Classic and it had been raining for most of the week, so to say “this is going to be interesting” was a bit of an understatement. I hadn’t done any preriding, unless you count watching Grant’s awesome course recon video multiple times. Allison gave me the sound advice of at least trying to pre-ride the switchback at the beginning. Both times on my preride, I ended up hopping off because I still apparently don’t know how to turn my bike, but I made it through still in the saddle during the actual race (albeit very slowly and riding the brakes most of the time much to the chagrin of anyone who was behind me at the time, though I think I was off the back at that point).
My only goals in the race: don’t break myself and try to stay on Allison’s wheel.
Instead of trying to push my way to the front like I do at other races, I hung out at the back of the start line. There was little to worry about since all of us managed to stay together and then spread out after the first bump. I was way behind everyone after the first switchback, but I used the fire road descent to catch up. Allison and I found ourselves behind a junior who got caught in an uphill rut (which we both also managed to hit) and he politely let us pass once the trail widened.
Then we reached the Alp sector of grindy turny climbs. Despite Allison being the team climber, I actually managed to stay on her wheel. Another descent of cautiously riding brakes and even one part where we got off and walked after seeing that others had done so as well. We played an interesting game of leapfrog with a couple of cat 3 dudes and juniors (including a junior and his dad who were brave/nuts enough to do this race on drop-bar CX bikes, so props to you both for doing that). Despite my caution, I ended up slipping and falling to the left onto a large wet rock re-bruising the bruise on my left leg from NBX that was re-bruised after going mountain biking the first time at Blue Hills (and had also resulted in a cracked rib). However, it was a slow, soft fall, so I got back on the bike with little difficulty.
As for the “don’t fall into the river” segment, I avoided that fate by more or less walking most of the way. I apparently ride my bike the way cows walk in that it’s impossible for me to go in a straight line (and yet I still have difficulty turning). At least the view from that stroll was lovely. I eventually caught up to Allison again and misheard someone on course and thought there wasn’t much left to the one lap, so I floored it, passing Allison and one of the 35+ women racers. However, they both immediately caught up to me and passed me on the next climb after I gassed myself. Note to self: look down at cycling computer for mileage to make sure that it actually is close to the end of the race.
However, once I saw the fire road with the bump up to the sandy finish line, I knew it was time to gun it. I passed the 35+ women cat 3 racer and Allison (because I’m the worst teammate) again at the finish. I was pretty happy with this despite the fact we were about 20 minutes behind the lead rider since I accomplished my two goals: stay on Allison’s wheel and don’t break myself.
- Place: 4/5 (Women’s cat 3 19-34)
- Avg. speed: 7.4 mph
- Max speed: 20.8 mph
- Avg. heart rate: 169 bpm
- Max heart rate: 184 bpm
- Number of couches I set on fire: none
- Naps taken after race: 1
I ate my leftover pad thai and hung out with Allison while we waited for results/watched the men’s cat 2 race get ready. Grant was on his single speed and my legs automatically felt phantom fatigue at the mere thought of only having one gear to climb the Alp section. I managed to change and grab a water bottle in time to hand it to my boyfriend (Dan from GLV) who had lost his after the first lap. After that race, I ate some sweet potato fries and took a nap.
Pictures of/from teammates!
What can I say about the enduranceCX race? Imagine a usual cyclocross course of about 1-2 miles and then multiply that distance until you get around 6 miles just for one lap. Then expand the single track bit out to being pretty much the whole course with a couple of fire road climbs. Oh yeah and then throw a barrier at the hole shot and then a series of fallen logs up one of the climbs, sort of like if Donkey Kong were throwing logs instead of barrels at you. Endure all of that three times (or in my case, two because they were already tearing down the course as I hit the finish line). Me internally every time I got to the “don’t fall in the river” section:
And by “lie down” I mean “begrudgingly walk through stuff I should by all rights have no problem riding through except for a fear of heights and perceived inability to ride in a straight line.”
The enduranceCX course, while shorter and omitting the Alp climb/descent, was still beautiful and fast … at least for people who can actually ride fast and not people like me who just kind of toddle around like:
Despite feeling like my legs were ripped off well before the finish I was glad I did the enduranceCX race and I really hope enduranceCX races become a thing (kind of like how garbageball is the new bike polo). As much as I like gravel grinders and adventure rides, I kind of feel like I still need a racing component (just please, don’t ask me to do road racing because if I can be a disaster at 10-12 mph, I’m an even bigger disaster at 20-25 mph) when I’m not getting CXy.
Thanks again to State 9 for hosting such a rad race.
- Place: 3/3 (EnduranceCX women under 35, DFL as a whole, but podium by default is still podium)
- Avg. speed: 7.4 mph
- Max speed: 19.5 mph
- Avg. heart rate: 145 bpm
- Max heart rate: 168 bpm
- Number of couches I set on fire: negative couches (all of my couches were on fire)
- Naps taken after race: ALL OF THEM
- Pizza eaten after race: HALF OF IT (Thanks to Mike Wissell for tweeting about Sal’s so Dan and I knew where to go for post-race noms.)