by Tara Coady
Sooo, I thought I'd do a race report from this weekend now.
I raced at Cannonball CX this weekend for the first time. The race has been going on for the last couple of years, but I was recovering from breast cancer surgery the first year, and I had a bad cold last year. Then this year, I finally got to race it. Yea!
It was a little muddy when we first got there, and I am a big scaredy cat, so there were several things I was afraid to ride. I pre-rode the course a few times and found the guts to ride a couple of the things I was initially afraid of, but not all.
There was a great group of women riders, with some strong talent from Minneapolis. There were also a lot of new Spin Devo women who were fun and strong too.
Now, I'm going to talk about the things I love about CX. Because, let's face it, I am never going to win the Cyclocross Olympics, or very many races at all for that matter. So people have asked me why I do it? Cannonball CX was a prime example of why I race cyclocross.
Like I said before, I am, as John likes to say, an overly cautious old woman. I have to fight myself again and again to get up the courage to do certain things. Riding down steep hills in muddy conditions is one of those things.
When I first rode the course, I was terrified to ride down the big, muddy hill. Every time after that on my pre-ride, I would think I could do it, and I would stare and stare down from the top of it for what seemed like three hours before I finally wussed-out and walked/slid down it with my bike in hand.
I started out the race okay and passed a couple of people before I got to said big hill, which I walked down. I was the only woman in the whole filed who walked down it. And because I walked it, everyone passed me and I was in last place of ALL the categories of women. I decided right then that if every other woman could ride down that hill, then I could too.
So, when I got to it on the next lap, I took a deep breath, sucked down my "what-ifs," and rode down it. Holy cow! It was so easy. Seriously. No problem at all. Derrrrr.
Then I spent the rest of the race trying to catch the other women. I passed some and the rest of them were way ahead of me. I even got lapped by a couple of them too. Which is fine by me, because it makes my race shorter and I am still in pretty crappy shape.
Toward the end of the race, I took a $2 bill hand-up, put it between my teeth, and came into the finish looking classy as hell...Or whatever.
I get so many things by riding cyclocross. I'm not winning many races, but I am conquering my fears, and taking myself out of my comfort zone, and meeting really fun people, and playing outside, and most importantly, I'm finding that I'm able to ignore (at least some of the) voices in my head that scream "I can't" at me.
It's also a double bonus that I have a partner/husband who likes to ride bikes in the mud as much as I do.
So, after FINALLY getting to race Cannonball CX, I rate it a raging success for me...By my rules anyway.
Reprinted from Tara's blog, Churlish Figure.