Not a triathlon race report but cyclocross does include running and biking.
So my Hagens Berman teammate Chad made me buy a cyclocross bike and do this. Mostly he just would ride his road bike over curbs and I wanted to be able to do that. Plus my friends said cross was the most fun ever. I thought it would be worth it to try, so I got a team bike, a Blue Norcross EX. My only exposure to cross was actually standing where the famous Joey video was shot. It didn’t look like fun. Plus I heard there was beer.
So I did a clinic on Sat with this guy Morgan Schmitt who apparently rides cross and a road bike pretty good but he must have spent an hour or so showing me how to get on and off the bike, which I figured important and necessary. I learned what happens when you miss your saddle and land on the top tube and I learned what happens when you eat it just riding along. I didn’t cry, not once. I did fall into a raspberry bush, smashed 2 legs and need an oven mitt on my inner thigh for the next 2 weeks so I can get on my bike. I swear I saw a unicorn which made me fall. I had 32 candy corns when I got home as preventive medicine.
Then I showed up at the park and even signed up for the race. They suggested based on my physique and 60 mins of cross experience at the clinic the day before that the Cat 4 35+ crowd would be good for me. I didn’t know this was like 50+ guys.
I pre rode the course about 5x because it seemed like the more experience the better. I practiced lines and found some areas where I was good (going downhill is apparently at the top of my skillset). Then I had a gel because I’m pretty sure my warm up was about the same speed as my race and I needed a snack.
Then it was time to race, so I just stood where they told me to. And then I looked back. I was right next to the pole position with about 302 guys behind me. Small panic as I didn’t really want to end up screwing up turn one which happens at the end of a 200 yard uphill sprint, so I went to the back of the entire field, behind the cupcake and laughing/mullet group. See diagram:
So then I was ready. I had nothing to do but pass people for the whole race. The back of the whole group is not ideal as I found turn 1 was a cluster and then going into the woods on a small single track with 2 whoopties was a standstill, like a Starbucks drive through. I did a bunch of running around people that were in the cupcake group (i.e. they eat a lot of them) and then picked off a few people per lap that didn’t embrace enough V02 max efforts this summer. My guessing at tire pressure on the start line caused me to go with the wheels a tick low, so I was sliding sideways on more of the paved sections. My worries about getting off and on the bike were for nothing as I figured out the cowboy dismount (I was told not to do my triathlon inspired “fancy dismount”) pretty quickly and hopped on the bike just fine with all boy parts in-tact. I think one of the highlights was when I passed a jr rider who started to cry during the race when he saw his dad, something about needing his glasses. I hope his dad told him there is no crying in cyclocross. I don’t know what the hell was wrong with that kid. I never once cried during a race this year, sniffles yes, tears no.
Some stuff I learned.
1. Vo2 efforts are necessary, keep doing them
2. Air pressure over 40.
3. Weigh less
4. Do NOT start behind the cupcake group.
5. Ride faster. I had another 7-10 beats I could have added. 172 hr is for my nana. I could have managed 180+ avg.
6. There actually is crying in cyclocross but there should not be.
7. IT IS FUN.
8. There are a lot of people who don’t train enough.
9. I have probably the heaviest wheels on the planet.
10. I do not have the largest rear end for men 35+.
11. There are a lot of people who own cowbells.
I finished 30th out of 82 and 3:00 back from the lead.