11 October 2015

Cyclocross round #7

Round #7 and the final round of the season took us out to the Jodhpur trailhead at Kincaid park.
This part of the park is very sandy and as with a lot of Kincaid has a mixture of singletrack, ski trials and social trails.  The course took in a mixture of all of these trail types and also included the always fun sand dune (may not be seen as fun after lap one).  This year the race directors and course planners managed to secure the use of a new section of flow singletrack at the edge of the motocross track. 

Course description

The course started off on a grass field and made its way over a set of barriers and through a couple of hairpin bends, we then headed out onto some ski trails with a couple of short climbs.  After negotiating a small hummock into some singletrack we continued on singletrack past the motorcross track and into the sand dune. This was a run up this year and for me a run down.  We then hit singletrack again and through some great bermed corners out onto another ski trail.  The ski trail had a few undulations and more hairpin turns before a short section of singletrack back onto ski trails and around to the start finish straight.

Christina managed to put together a short video which covers most of the course so you can get an idea of what we ride.  I even appear in it a couple of times.  Thanks Christina, great tunes too!

Last Race Arctic Cross from Christina Grande on Vimeo.

The kids race

Once again the kids race was split into balance bikes and pedal bikes.  Fiona had a great race, her best of the season so far.  She rode more than she has done in any of the other races. The course was mostly on ski trails and was a really long one with a couple of longer downhill sections which she managed to negotiate without drama.  I was very proud of her today. 
Fiona coming out of the final singletrack - photo credit Bria Johnston

The open race

Following the kids race it was time for the grownups to race, today I managed to get much better start however someone ahead of me going into the first singletrack section got held up and fell off effectively blocking me and many others, frustrating but all part of racing.  Once I had managed to pass this person (in the first dune run) I had a really good race and for my first time ever in a cross race I didn't get lapped. 
The course today was a fast one and I was battling it out for the whole race with my usual cross racing friends.  I managed to finally pass David after he thought it would be funny to brake check me at the top of the rise into the first section of singletrack.  I had also been chasing Ryan hard from the start of the race when I was held up, once again and lucky for me Ryan misjudged a corner allowing me to get really close to him.  I passed him then he took back over me and I finally passed him almost within sight of the finish line where we had a great sprint for the line.
I was pretty tired at the end. - photo credit Nathan Able
Race data from Strava

Lap data, 1st lap is not a full lap so time is way faster than it should be

Season round up

With a seven race series (only 5 of 7 races count) spread over 5 weeks there really isn't much time to change anything as you go along.  If you get sick and you race there is a good chance you will not be able to recover for the following weekend especially if you keep racing, this is exaggerated even more so with double header weekends.  I was lucky this year I had no mechanicals and only a minor cold which didn't seem to affect my racing.  
I came into this season on a cross bike rather than a mountain bike and I am still learning how the bike handles and where I can push it.  My technique on tight slippery corners and over barriers (dismount/remount) definitely needs some work but I am improving.  I was faster this year compared to last year, (looking back at who I have been racing against) however it would seem everyone else also got faster too.  My early season goal was to manage one race where I didn't get  lapped.  I think if i had not had issues with my lights battery at round one I may have managed it there but today on the final round I did manage it.

Points going into the final round

Going into this race I was sitting in 17th place in the points, as I write this I have no idea if I will have moved up or down but I do know I have had a lot of fun racing against Chris Jung, Erik Mundahl, Kevin Postma, Oscar Lage and David Henke (he has been making it harder for himself by choosing to race a singlespeed bike).  See you all next year for a fun packed season.

Finally I want to say what a great community we get to race in, I would not have been able to race as much as did this season without the support of a great bunch of racers and friends who helped me manage Fiona whilst I raced when Amanda was away or working.  Thank you all, you know who you are.

Finally, finally,  a huge THANKYOU to all the course designers, timers and great people who are Arctic Cross, you really make the season and all the events fun. Even when it was cold and wet you were all there with a smile and a cheer for seasoned racers or the person out there trying this sport for the first time. I don't think we can say thanks enough for that. 

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