Because I'm new to cyclocross, I don't know if it's normal to have nearly every race be a total mud-fest. Every weekend since my first cross race has been rainy on one or both days, making conditions on the courses extremely slick and muddy. Plus, I've realized, the Cat 4 people always race in the morning, when conditions are at their muddiest and slickest. No fair, I say. Shouldn't the very best racers race on the course when it is at its worst? hmmmm? Of course, I kind of dig racing in the mud like that. It makes it more crazy and stupid, and lately I've been all about crazy and stupid.
In the last few weeks I've competed in two muddy cross races and a swim meet. Luckily, the swim meet was not muddy. But it was cold. The AIR temperature was cold. This made for a rather unpleasant meet, actually. I had to dress in sweats, Uggs, and my down coat between events. And I still turned blue.
I swam the 400 meter free, the 100 meter back, and the 50 meter back. I usually don't race in meters, but Masters swimming in the fall/early winter appears to be short course meters season. Because I practice in yards, I have a much better sense of what I can do in each event IN yards. Times in meters seem like a foreign language to me. As soon as I finish swimming an event I have to try to convert the time in my head to yards to get a sense of how I did.
And in this meet I did pretty well! Remember when the super fast suits were legal--way back like two years ago? Well, my fastest recorded times in meters were done in one of those suits. I have to tell you, those suits really did make you faster. I have been unable to match any times I got while wearing one of those babies -- until now! In 2010 I swam the 400 meter free in 5:53. At this meet I swam it in 5:48 without the suit! Woot! Psych! I was less psyched about the fact there were only two heats of the 400, and I got placed in the faster heat, with all the crazy fast men. Those crazy fast men lapped me. But, hey, I got a personal best time, so I was cool with it.
Approximately 2 minutes after I finished swimming the 400, it was time to swim the 50 meter back. These little meets go SO fast. Two minutes ain't enough time to recover from a 400! Anyway, luckily there is no getting lapped in the 50 meter back, since it's only a 50. I also wasn't put into the fastest heat for this event, Thank God, so I would have been fine anyway--at least in terms of getting lapped.
I worked on my backstroke start with Carlos, my hot swim coach the day before the meet. (Did I mention he got married last weekend? So sad for all those young, single women...) Anyway. Carlos worked with me a bit on my backstroke start the day before the meet, and hence I actually DID NOT do a back belly flop. That was thrilling in itself. (The trick is to kick up your feet. Who knew? Okay, all you swimmers knew....) I swam as hard as my not-yet-recovered body could swim, and finished in 39.5. Yes! My goal had been to break 40 seconds. I haven't had the chance to swim 50 meter back in a meet before, so I'm counting this one as PR, too.
About a half hour later I swam the 100 backstroke. The time to beat-- a 1:22.6, obtained in 2010 with one of those damn suits. I'm sad to say that I did NOT best that time. I came in at 1:24 flat. (This is still much better than my 100 meter back time from 2011, which was a 1:28...) I have one more meet this fall to try to break that 1:22...
Okay. Onto Cross. As I mentioned in a previous post, I convinced Andy and Jordan to give cross a try. They love it! Yah! So I'm all obsessed with making this a family thing, now. Noah can race next year, and Lara in two, so soon we can all just go and race. It's a given that someone in the family will decide cross is NOT his/her thing. But I am hoping that doesn't happen. Currently it works great in that Lara and Noah tool around on their mountain bikes while we race, and Andy and I never race at the same time, so someone is always there to watch them.
Anyway. Our first family race was in Lancaster, MA--the Minuteman Club race. It was mostly muddy grass, very slick, and super duper turny. It was a small enough race that all the women--cat 1-4--raced together. This was slightly un-fun, because I knew the chance of getting lapped was much higher if cat 1/2 shared the race course with we slow pokes in cat 4. To make matters worse, the cat 1 and 2 riders started a minute before us. How very uncool! The chances of getting lapped were now greater STILL!
So, I tried. I tried to go fast around all those grassy, wet, muddy turns! And it was fun! And I only fell once. (Both Jordan and Andy fell more than once, so I see this as a Mom victory.) Still, as I neared the end of my race, low and behold, two cat 1 women passed me. (Catherine, coached by Kurt too, was one of them. She is super awesome at cross and tri.) Anyway, I was a wee bit sad, but also glad knowing that I had not finished DFL, yet again. Three for three races and no DFL!
Jordan raced right after me, and she had a blast until some kid clipped her back tire and she went flying. She got a rather nasty, bloody cut on her knee. But she was a trooper about it, and she was psyched for more. (That's my girl!)
This last weekend was Noah's birthday. First, Jordan and Lara made an awesome breakfast for the family to celebrate.
Anyway. Back to the weekend. After the breakfast Noah, Lara and Jordan took a flying trapeze lesson. (Jordan and I liked it so much we decided Noah and Lara should get a class, too. ) I have cool pictures from this, but I can't find the zip file right now, so that will have to wait.
We drove up to Maine that night, and the next day raced in New Gloucester at the Downeast Cross Race at Pineland Farms. Okay, the Minuteman race had been sloppy, but this was crazy! It had really rained the day before and everything was just MUD. There was a 50 yard stretch of 2 feet deep mud/water that everyone just rode right through. Jordan, poor thing, lost her sneaker in it! (She doesn't have clipless pedals yet.) So she's trying to get her sneaker from out of the depths of the mud, and women around her are screaming, On your right! On your left! (She did find it, though.)
Truly exciting for me was that I did not get lapped, AND I made it to the top of the bottom quarter of Cat 3/4! I was 29 out of 39.... movin' on up! (You have to celebrate every little victory, right?)
Here are some photos post-race.
Noah and Lara found the food pellets and fed every cow in the barn like 5 cups each, so the cows totally loved them.
Okay, the end to the longest post ever. Up next: Canton Cross!