Greetings from WI Cat4 land.
What a wild experience it was - my first ever cross (or any bike) race turned out to be quite a ride for me. The weather could not be more “perfect” for cyclocross. Yup, that 45 degree September rain in Wisconsin turned much of the course into mud soup. I have to confess that I almost chickened out when I looked at the sky when I woke up. But I somehow convinced myself in thinking that ‘hey, this is what real cross tastes like.’
This weather introduced a new challenge for me. I had never biked through any mud, especially the slippery kind. But this is cyclocross. So it’s supposed to be hard.
I talked to few fellow cat 4 riders, all of whom were experienced (some were too experienced to be in this category, IMO). They asked me what my discipline is: I honestly thought about answering “engineering.”
So these ladies were racers of one discipline or another, and there I was trying to put my best game face on. The whole thing was nerve racking until the starting gun went off:
This race taught me more than few things. Among the most notables are:
1. Anyone can race and have so much fun
I didn’t podium (not even close). But hey, I kind of podiumed in my mind. It was exhilarating experience to say the least, despite of the unfavorable weather. And, to my amazement, I could lap around the course twice without killing myself. If someone is wondering if he/she is ready for the race, the chances are that they are perfectly capable of finishing one. Right. Now.
2. Getting in the favorable position at the start is important, even for cat 4!
At some corners in the beginning, I was stuck behind people who had trouble turning. I could have taken these corners a lot faster than the ladies who were in front of me!
3. Race is a lot different from practice.
I know, ‘duh,’ right? But until I experienced it myself, I had no idea how much adrenalin would be running through me during that 30minutes.
4. #2 is true, but practice does make things perfect. Or at least, for me, knowing the basics probably saved me many seconds. And made the difference of being third from the bottom, not the second (super important).
5. Spectators are awesome. And they gave me lots of riding advice as I mowed through the course.
6. Shimano is really cute.
-Race Report by Mio Suzuki AMR Racer.