Cyclocross road trip part 1: Starcrossed PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Curry   
Sunday, 20 September 2009 20:44

Lisa and I made our way into Seattle midday Saturday.  There were reports of rain early in the day.  The course was moist but tacky when we arrived.  The course was flat but had lots of cornering.  Great for spectating.  By 7pm darkness had fallen and Lisa lined up for her first ever elite race.  Lisa had a great call-up in the 2nd row, right next to former world champions Allison Sydor and Allison Dunlap.  Cool!  (Photos to be added shortly...)

Lisa next to Allison Sydor

Lisa next to Allison Sydor

 

Lisa had a great start and rolled into the first twisties in 7th place.  As the rain started to fall she rode for a few laps in a group of 5 racing for 9th place.  Then a nasty spill on the infamous banked velodrome corner saw her lose that group (and some skin!).  She rode the rest of the race with Rhonda Mazza, who edged her out in the final corners.  Lisa finished 14th,excellent for her first ever elite race.

I lined up somewhere in the 5th row for the Men's race.  It was intermittently pouring rain and the course had transformed radically to wet and slick.  The start was terrifying!  70+ guys sprinting across pavement with standing water and the lights in our eyes making it very hard to see.  I settled in near the middle of the field with no where to go in the first lap traffic on the tight twisty course.  

After a lap the race began to string out and the important splits were forming.  I wasn't feeling too confident in my cornering ability but I noticed that I was going through corners slower than about anyone else around me so I figured I could go faster.  That backfired as I took a nasty spill exiting the infield area that lost about ten spots instantly.  Back on the bike and moving, but confidence shaken in what would be a downward spiral.  I would pick up a few places, then crash, and lose a few more.  Eventually I was riding with a group that were riding about as fast, and crashing about as often as I was.  It was frustrating because I wasn't even tapping into my fitness 100%, because I didn't have the skills to keep the power down in the slick conditions.

As I started the last lap the crowd began erupting as the lead group of 5 came up from behind.  I got the heck out of the way (I don't want to end up on YouTube as the lapped guy who takes out Trebon!).  I ended the night frustrated and unsatisfied, but pretty well beat up (and muddy!).  It was a rough initiation into elite cyclocross and greasy slick northwest racing.  Next up is Rad Racing GP and the infamous 80 meter run-up.