Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mountain Sports Festival Cyclocross

This past Friday evening, in Carrier Park, the new Asheville Cyclocross Series hosted their first race. Yes, it was on Memorial Day Weekend, not anyone's idea of cyclocross season. It was part of the Mountain Sports Festival, which last year included an unconventional mountain bike race that I'd raced in. The mountain bike race was not on the schedule this year, sadly, but the cyclocross race was pretty damn fun.

They were running women's categories combined, and after a long day of work I wasn't feeling especially fast anyway. I mean seriously, it is May, and I have a two hundred mile race the next week, and the start list showed that some serious cyclocross racers were actually driving in from out of town just for this race.  So I decided to wear a hilarious getup to the race as a way to make it fun. My goal was to stay with the lead group as long as I could, but have fun even if I got dropped hard, as I expected to. I wore a Goodwill disco jumpsuit (cut off at the knees for riding), tall striped Endless socks, and a BMX helmet with kitten stickers on it.

photos by Eric

The race started on the Mellowdrome outdoor cycling track, which was cool because it spread the field out a bit before we hit any turns. I was sitting near the back of the lead group through the first turns of the course. The next turn was a transition off of a cement path and onto the grass, and this is where things went wrong. As everyone was turning left onto the grass, out of the corner of my eye I could see this woman with her head down just hammering in a straight line on the cement like she was in a TT or something. I and a couple other women called out to get her attention as we came into the corner. She did not seem to notice and barreled straight into me. 

She crashed me pretty good! I ended up tangled in the course-marking tape, with my bike on top of me and my leg between the wheel and frame of her bike. I was mostly worried I might have damaged my bike a week out from Kanza, but no real damage was done. My shoulder hurts a bit and I skinned my knee, but that was it. This was my first real cyclocross crash. Well, my first involving colliding with other people... there have been plenty of cases of me landing on the ground due to my own stupidity. It was kind of a good experience to have, just to know what it was like to crash like that.  

Fun times, plenty of hecklers out all along the course.

I had lost maybe a minute, and although I passed a couple people back I knew I would not get back up to the lead group. Except for going down once in the sand pit the rest of the race was pretty straightforward. There were bands playing and beer flowing, the evening was warm, and there was a great crowd of happy people watching us race.

Each lap included a trip around the Mellowdrome oval. I am in front of Gabe of Smoke Bikes, who is racing on a giant-wheeled bike he built himself.

Photo by Shanna. I took this turn too fast and when the shutter clicked I was in the process of planting my right hand on that post and skidding around it. I did not crash executing this manouver!

I ended up eighth, respectably mid-pack considering I crashed twice and was wearing a ridiculous outfit. Thanks to Asheville Cyclocross for putting on the event, it sure was fun to get a cyclocross fix this far out of the season. I am looking forward to a fun autumn of local cyclocross racing thanks to the efforts of this crew! Should be great.

1 comment:

  1. It was a magical moment to witness. That's how you take that turn fast! Thanks for the style check.
    -Denny M.F.