picture by Ron Grucela, rongrucela.com
This Saturday, I tried something new and maybe something crazy...I pulled a double at the local cyclocross race. This was the second year that I raced the HoliCX course at the Holimont ski area, and as usual it was a mud fest. How could two races in a day be a good idea?
The idea to do two races came when I got a text from my buddy John asking if I was going and could drive our mutual friend Adam to the race. Adam races Cat 5, so I figured I might race the Cat 4 race because I would have to be there early anyway.
Now the way they schedule here is that the single speed, Cat 4, and Cat 5 go off together about 30 seconds apart. Since moving up to and enjoying the masters races, I have not missed the log jams up ahead when people are forced to dismount and the ensuing horde of Cat 5s charging at us from behind. It is always the biggest field of the day. It is more frustrating for me than the small masters' field that takes place later in the schedule every week.
When I looked at the registration numbers, both the Cat 4 and Masters 50+ fields were pretty small. So small in fact that the race predictor actually had me predicted as the winner at one point. LOL. I decided to give both races a shot and had a simple strategy...race hard in the Cat 4 and if a chance presents itself to podium, I would go for it and figure out the Masters race later. If nothing else, it would be a good course preview and warmup.
The Cat 4 went pretty well, I think a 5 out of 6 finish, but I was having fun, and so I just kept going hard. And did I mention it was a total mud fest? The race course is at the bottom of a ski hill, so it makes sense that the water runs downhill, and the course is always wet. The thick thick mud was brutal and continued to wear me down as the race progressed. I just kept turning the pedals. I was very happy that for the second race in a row, I rode the course cleanly for the most part. Nothing really phased me.
There was one area where there was a quick downhill into a rutted up area right next to a little pond. I lost traction the first time and went down on my right side laughing the whole time. I had almost got the line, but I decided that I could run it better, and so I did for the rest of the day.
When I was getting lapped by a Cat 2 in the masters' race later on, he rode it and I ran. I was just as fast running as he was trying to go through the mud, and it gave me a little break to if I can be honest. Committing to a line or strategy no matter what the crowds of hecklers want is a good idea.
Go see the gallery at rongrucela.com, and you can see lots of good riders on their faces, sides, and asses in that very spot. It's great!
I made sure that between races that I stayed loose, ate a bit , and drank lots of water. The Master 50+ race went exactly the same, as I took 5th out of 6 places. My laps were a little slower, but I rode clean, and I did not quit. The legs just kept turning. I learned that I was not a quitter even though I am learning that I am not quite as fit as last year.
Two races in a day was a lot of fun. I made sure that I kept moving afterwards by walking the dogs, and I took a nice and easy recovery ride on Sunday. I am sore, but not necessarily crushed.
Now here is the most important thing I learned. After posting an Instagram pic of the race, a friend and fellow racer commented on how badass the two races in a day all was. Now place wise, I really do not think doing only one race would have made too much of a difference. If I am not going to podium, but I can great a killer day of exercise and fun and now be a member of the two races in a day badass club...that's a good thing.
That's a very good thing.
See you next week. I promise I am going to try to post every Monday from here on out. I hope you enjoy the posts.