When I decided earlier this year that I was going to participate in the local Cross season, I anticipated racing into January. Cross Out the Old Year, Grot Prijs Shawnee, and Boss Cross (#3) are legendary winter races in the Kansas City area. As much as I would like to race in those events, I’ve decided to pull off the knobbies and transition to off season. I’m tired. More importantly, I’m tired of pulling on layers of winter clothes only to freeze while riding outside. So, it’s off to the warm gym, where I can gaze through frosted windows and smile, knowing I don’t have to be out there any more!
Aside from missing 3 or 4 races, I accomplished all the other goals I set for myself:
- Completed all races that make up the De Stad series, winning 2 races and caming close on a few others, which secured a 4th-place finish in GC
- Training was focused and provided great results without wearing me out
- Competed at the MO State Championship and the US Cyclocross National Championships
Looking back over the season, it’s easy for me to say that I learned a lot! I raced a few cross events last year, but never really grasped “Cross Racing.” Yeah, I know. Bikes are bikes and racing is racing. Still, racing cross is completely different than road, crit, or even MTB racing. There’s the obvious points: grass (mud), transitions on and off the bike, jumping barriers and so forth. Then there are the subtleties: ability to maintain power for the duration of the race, mental focus, and perhaps my biggest weakness, the ability to maintain speed through corners. I only thought that I knew how to turn a bike. Racing cross, especially the state race in Hermann, revealed just how much I need to improve in this area. There’s also the whole discussion on tire selection and best tire pressure for the course. I will be student of this topic for many races to come!
As for the actual races, I have to say that both races at Smithville were my favorite. Aside from winning both days, I really enjoyed the courses. They flowed well and presented enough of a challenge to keep it real. The KS Championship course at St. Mary’s was awesome, too. Too bad I felt like hammered caca that day. Otherwise, that might have topped the best course list. The spiral was over the top!
Now it’s time to focus on recovery and preparation for the upcoming road racing season. Hopefully I’ll be able to carry over some of the fitness gained racing cross.
I’m off to enjoy Cheetos and a few beers!