My weekend was a blast! The first cross race of the NCCX series was held at Veterans Park Saturday and my anticipation for this race was at maximum overcharge! Since cross racing’s popularity is at a supreme high right now, there was more than a great turnout. Almost twice as many people showed up compared to last Januaries race.
I decided to get my monies worth Saturday and do two races. First was the single speeds race in the morning, and the next was my actual racing class, Cat4.
To give you a run down, cycling categories, abbreviated as “Cat”, are typically set 1-5. Cat1 is the pro level racing category and Cat5 is for beginner racers. (Note: beginner Racers, not beginner Riders) I would suggest you should be somewhat quick on your bike before you try to race at all. Beginner riders could get hurt easier, and cause issues with those just getting familiar with racing.
So I am only allowed to race Cat4, or higher. However, the single speeds race is a mixed category. Anyone can participate in the race, and lucky me, sometimes Cat1 guys like to warm up for their race in the single speeds. Yippie! (I express this to pardon my unacceptable placement). Starting off the line, I held second place for about 300 yards, and that’s about the best I did all day. I blew myself up at the start, and it was all downhill from there. Considering I’ve been off the saddle for a few weeks, allowing my hip pains to recover, I’m a little out of my typical racer boy shape. The cold morning air I was sucking down at massive heaving volumes wasn’t exactly acquainted with my summer acclimatised lungs. You could say that cold air hurts, but it really, it just feels like a giant ice-sickle penetrating your throat.
My legs felt pretty good for the first lap. The second lap was of course harder, more people were passing me now. But my third was ever so demanding, and unusually grueling. I was a little humiliated at how bad I was doing by this point. My buds were shouting the most sharp and insulting things they could think of to get me to kick it into gear and race a little harder. But for some reason I just couldn’t get it together. This course slayed me so hard and left me dead in the water, but I knew more than anything I needed to just finish my fourth, and final lap. Coming around the straight away I prepared for the sharp incline that bolted up to the left. I had just enough momentum to place me at the top, but once there my bike completely stopped. I couldn’t push it at all. MY REAR BRAKE WAS LOCKED UP.
As it turns out, the brake levers I installed the night beforehand were not completely tightened. While riding on the very bumpy fields during race, it slowly and deceitfully worked it’s way down the bar and gradually tightened the brake cable. Enough to where eventually it just locked up my wheel. My fault. -__-
I was able to quickly solve the issue my punching the lever back into place. While I was doing so a very sweet (maybe 13 year old) girl noticed the situation and offered me her bike if I needed to finish the race. I just about fell dead from gratitude, of which I could barely express at my current frenzy and incredibly high heart rate, but I was very appreciative of the offer. But the bike wasn’t single speed and I would be disqualified.
No joke, I got back on and felt great, finished the last lap out strong and didn’t have any problems. Ended up two from last place. I’ll have to see how I do next race without the silly mistake. So I was reminded of two things. Don’t ride with loose levers, and I am apparently the same size as a 13 year old.
Lots more happened that day, but I’ll save that for later! For now, check out some photos of the other races that day.