I did my first true cyclocross racing this weekend at the 2-day ABRA CX Series Monstercross Races in Morgantown, WV. After doing mostly 4-8 hour endurance races this year, I knew that the switch to racing cyclocross would be a big change for me. Well, after doing three cross races this weekend, I can certainly say that my legs were not ready for the short, full-out effort necessary to feel prepared for cross.
Some years ago I use to really look forward to cross. I would start preparing in August by getting my cross bikes all set-up. I would also add some hard cross intervals into my training and shorten-up the miles that I ride. By mid-September, I was in full-on cross mode and traveling all over the mid-Atlantic to race. Over the past few years, it seems as if cross has been getting pushed back later and later for me. Not because I don’t enjoy cross racing, but probably because I enjoy endurance racing more.
The social aspect of racing cross and the fact that the weather usually starts becoming kind of nasty makes racing cross at this time of year a good thing, but I have never been a fan of going around in loops multiple times. I like going out on long epic rides, which leads to new sights and adventures. The lure of riding into the unknown is much more appealing to me than dialing in a course and learning the best lines.
My racing actually didn’t go too badly this weekend. I finished in 1st, 3rd and 4th place in the three races that I did, but I could definitely tell that I was not riding to my potential and I also made some stupid mistakes out on the course. I think in a few weeks my legs and mind will be re-programmed for racing cyclocross. Once this happens, I’m sure racing cross will not be as difficult as it was for me this past weekend and I feel fast again. Heck, maybe if I am racing really fast by December, I’ll decide on going out to Wisconsin for cross nationals in January.
No, I doubt that cross nationals will happen for me this coming January. It has been a long season and staying super fit until January is not my game plan right now. Besides, there will be snow on the ground and I’ll have a Salsa Mukluk to take out for long snowy adventures in preparation for another season of endurance racing. But, until the snow starts falling and getting deep you’ll be able to find me at a local cross race having fun.