It was always going to be a no-brainer to go to the “local” CX race in Van Nuys. The race was nestled deep in in the San Fernando Valley and was nudged up against the 405 and 101 freeways. With that said it seems you can still put on a pretty challenge course as long you have a plot about the size of 2 football fields and lots and lots of tape! This was that course.
With Becca’s Ironman behind she was game to blow the dust of her new to her Surly Straggler and so we got there nice and early so she could attend the 30 minutes CX Clinic which stated at 8:30am. The idea was that she would try the clinic, this was immediately followed by a Beginners One Lap Race. My Race Men’s C was around 11:00am. Of course she placed second in the Beginner Lap came off the course ready and wanting to sign up for the Women’s C race, you can read all about it in her race report.
So as mentioned the course was is a fairly compact space. That said the designers had managed to cram in just over 1.5 miles per lap. A large portion of this was taken up with a Pinwheel which spiraled you down over a series of many right turns, turned you on a dime and reversed you out with just as many left hand turns!
There were the usual hurdles to jump and a new obstacle. Laid down fence posts, these were about 3” high and the three of them were about 6’ apart. Too big to just roll over and just enough to slow you down. You had to approach them with some caution and respect. Other than that the course was linked with some fast straight sections and some meandering through trees.
The Men’s C race lined up and I found myself at the front, then I realized I was in the wrong Category and moved myself back two groups! As per all season the goal was to not get lapped. I’ll spare you the edge of the seat read and say that I was lapped with about a quarter of a lap to go. The odds are somewhat stacked against you as the better riders get up to 2 minutes head start so to not get lapped becomes even more challenging given this disadvantage.
With that said and as usual I found myself in my own sub race within the first couple of laps. I was passing people and actually pulling away. There is no doubt that the TrainerRoad CX plan has improved my ability to do this. When I passed someone I was focused on bridging up to next person. When I reached them I would sit in to recover a bit, pass when possible and repeat this tactic. Yes tactic! I even put in a sprint finish with one guy who had caught up to me.
I was passed on my 5th lap. In reality this put the leaders roughly two miles ahead of me. But this race felt like it all came together something that was reflected in my Lap Splits. When you look at the HR data it’s very evident I was working. In fact I maxxed out my HR nearly 10 beats higher than I have ever done before!
For next season I would be really nice to have a Power Meter. Not that I am going to be looking while riding but at least to see the data after the race.
The results posted I was pleased to see that I had come 12/19 a substantial improvement over the season where I have usually picked up the Lantern Rouge. This was the last race of the Prestige Series so effectively my CX Season is over. There are a couple more races I could go to in a different Series but so far nothing has been signed up for.
It’s been a ton of fun. Both Becca and I agree that this is the Ultra Running of cycling, people are laid back, there to have fun and don‘t take themselves too seriously. Ths year I managed to get to four out of ten events and raced some 9 times. I’ll definitely be back next year and with some planning will be able to get to more events.