After racing Kruger’s Kermesse last weekend, Cross season started in Seattle at North Seatac with a good turnout. Cyclocross is like the United Nations, or the Justice League, of cycling with roadies, mountain bikers, urban, and track all intermingling and racing each other. We see faces we haven’t seen before, families, and tailgate parties. They all come out to participate in the event for fun or race it seriously.
The women’s field all looked very determined on this short, steep, descent section. I told Sandrine McFadden she caught the men with her compression socks.
Mahan was there to transition from road to Cross and went into his zone at the starting line.
Jeff Elston won the 45+ field for Cycling Northwest, a club Bike Hugger sponsors.
Pam loves Cross. She really does.
Really? Yes. As I wrote last week, you dispense with the roadie head games and just ride the course at your own pace and skill level. For most racers, it’s a technical dirt TT with no lap of shame for those that get dropped. In the beginner categories, racers stop before the barriers or runups, get off and walk, then back on. Some even rest a bit each lap. No deal to the racers around them because they’re doing it as well.
The community isn’t going to question your fitness post race if you get lapped, dropped, or just suck. They’re just glad you’re out there having a good time with them.
Running and Barriers
There is too much emphasis on the runups and barriers. Sure for the elite categories and those who take the sport more serious, that’s where races are won. For the lower-level categories and beginners, that’s all part of the fun. The only way to get good at the technical aspects of the sport is to race and think of it like braking in a crit or knowing how to drop into a trail on your mountain bike.
Skills that likely terrified you at one time will come with practice. Watch Cyclocross DVDs or the World Cup on Universal Sports and notice how the Pros focus on speed. They’ll cowboy, tilt the bike, and run with it. You won’t start out that fast, but it’ll come. Think about it, do they have crit cornering clinics? Nope. You just go race and figure it out.
I took this weekend off and will race again at Cycle U Kick-off Cross. Our coverage will extend to the Elite races, Masters, and Single Speed.
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