Friday, 25 November 2011

More Fun on Bikes

Mary reminded me the other day that I haven't posted in a while, and since Christmas and all associated busy-ness will be here before we know it, I am finally making some time to write!

I am getting back into the swing of tri training, with my planned "A race" next year coming earlier than usual (for me) in June - Syracuse 70.3.  I am also planning to run the Around the Bay 30km in late March, so I will be running A LOT over the winter months!

In the meantime, I have been trying something new - cyclocross bike racing! Well, I am using the term "racing" loosely. :-)  For those of you reading this (anyone? LOL) who might be wondering what that is, the best way I can describe it is racing a bike over varied terrain such as grass, mud, and gravel, and riding, hopping or dismounting and running over various obstacles (while carrying your bike!).  A local bike group hosted two events this fall, on country properties generously provided by other riders.

The first race was preceded by a week solid of rain.  I was looking forward to playing in the mud, but soon realized that I completely underestimated how HARD it is to ride in soaking wet grass (tall and short), and through the slippery goopy stuff!  During my warm-up lap, where my heart rate was almost maxed out, I thought "uh oh, this is gonna be a challenge".  And yeah.  I was right about that!  I quickly learned that my tires would have benefited from more tread and less air, and that sinking into wet ground has the same effect on your quads and lungs as riding uphill.  Definitely not my speciality!  HOWEVER - the race was still a tonne of fun.  The spirit of the participants, organizers, and spectators, combined with a gorgeous fall day and trying something new, really made for a great time.  I could not wipe the smile off my face!  Here is a pic of me trying to get up a slippery "hill" after riding through a ditch.... my grimace showing a hilarious mix of emotions.  Too bad no one got a picture of my sweet fall during one lonely muddy forest section!

Two weeks later, the second race in the series was held at a different property.  There had been little rain and the ground had hardened up (or so I thought/hoped), and the organizers sent out a pre-race email telling us the race would be flat and fast.  But yeah.  It wasn't.  :-)  The race course was, however, really awesome, with a mix of terrain, some small hills, some weaving and bobbing, a couple of obstacles, and the BIGGEST patch of mud I have ever seen, let alone attempted to navigate my way through.  I adopted the dismount and run through strategy, and am not sure how anyone managed to ride their bike in that - although many did!  Despite the challenging the course, once again the race was SO. MUCH. FUN.  The turnout was awesome, the sun was shining, and I had a great time hanging out with my friends.  Once again, I fell off my bike in a slippery section, but there is no photo evidence :-(  Instead, I leave you with a pic where I quasi-look like I know what I'm doing. Ha!

And I want to give a shout-out to my buddy Geno, who hooked me up with a cross-bike for the events, and encouraged me (and other newbies) to come out and give it a try.  Thanks Geno!

Can't wait for some winter riding... bring on the snow!