Wooohooo--cross racin' rocks!

Okay, so the "throwing a cross bike together" the night before a race caught up with me. I had some serious chain-dropping problems on the single chainring setup (alright, I had at least 5 instances where my chain totally dropped off the carrier and got stuck in the BB shell). But it was a friggin' blast! Check out the photos of me (wayyyyyy in the backround) and Kristen Wentworth/Holly Liske--
Kristen bombing over the sand-pit kicker


All in all, this race hooked me. It had just enough mountain bike features such as tight switchbacks, steep short descents, power climbs, and of course BARRIERS in the middle of the course! It's fun mainly because its so short and fast--only 40min plus one lap for Men's B's and Women's A's--so you can give it your 100% effort from start to finish.

I got off to a bad start because someone cut me off and took a digger right into the first course barrier, so the entire first two laps were playing catchup. After 2 laps, I made contact with the lead group of 4 riders including Matt Brandt, and I was feeling good. Unfortunatly, on the next downhill section I dropped my chain--and when I dismounted to fix it up, it stuck right between my BB shell and the crank arm. Wonderful. So one minute later I'm back on the bike, 5 places down from where I was in 4th.

The race is going well. I'm diving into corners and accelerating out of them faster than all the other competitors, fully taking advantage of my mountain bike experience. Beore I know it I'm back up to the top 5 positions again. Then--you guessed it--the chain came off again!

Now I was back quite a ways and I decided just to get to the finish without losing any more places. Surprisingly, all of the racers start fading on the 2nd to last lap and I am able to pass 3 more riders. On the bell lap, I'm feeling good, thinking that I can definatly pull a 5th place finish. But luck--and a rudimentary cross bike--were not on my side today. On the last barrier section my chain did the "break-away" dance from my chainrings. I fix it as quickly as I can. I jump back on the bike. The chain falls off again. I fix the chain, I jump back on, the chain falls off again.

Frustrated that I was just passed by the three guys I spent the last 3 laps chasing, I made sure that my chain was on the third time and powered to the finish for a secure 9th place. I caught a bit o' air on the sand-pit kicker near the finish, and stylishly pumped the arms across the finish line.

Maybe next time! Either way, it was a blast and I know what next off-season will be full of--cross ridin'! Now I've just got to give all the parts from the bike back to their respective owners...maybe when the weather warms up a bit...?

Time to study. Hopefully I get to the weight room tommorow in between studying, and studiying, and studying....

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