My first season of cyclocross is in the books and I can safely say that my first foray into the mud has been a resounding success. Not only did I accomplish all of my goals for the season, but I had a truck load of fun and am definitely hooked on cross. In fact, despite being incredibly sick the final two weeks of the season and only getting a few rides in, I managed my best result at the State Championships.
I did struggle early season with the mental side of racing. In the first five races I did, I had three DNFs. In the interest of fairness, one of those was from a gnarly crash on an off camber turn, but the other two were from a lack of mental toughness. In search of tools, I read Matt Fitzgerald’s new book “How Bad Do You Want It”, which gave me some things to think about. The biggest of which was going into the race knowing that it will be incredibly difficult and breaking up the courses into manageable section where I could plan my efforts. This is something I will have to continue working on, but I’m on the right track. My only relapse was during the State Championship, but I persevered and had my best result of the season.
The adaptation that I am most proud of during the season was the change of pedals. After two quasi-muddy races it was apparent that my Shimano XTs were not hacking it. I was struggling to clip in after a couple of dismounts and was becoming increasingly frusterated, so I moved to Crank Brother’s Candies. This was a great decision and I wish I had done it sooner. The platform is as stable as the XTs, but the mud clearance is far superior. My only complaint is that the pedals disengage a little too quickly, but I managed to work around it as the season progressed. Also, if the cleats are flipped, you get an extra five degrees of float, which might be worth investigating.
Race Review (time differential):
|Race||Date||Top 20||Top 10|
|BRAC CX State Championships||12/20||n/a||3:13|
|Rocky Mountain Regional Championships||12/5||0:59||3:30|
|Cyclo X – Sienna Lake||11/14||0:41||1:53|
|Cyclo X – Interlocken||11/7||1:33||2:14|
|Cyclo X – Flatirons||10/25||1:12||2:34|
|US Open (Day 2)||10/18||4:50||6:17|
|Cross of the North||10/11||3:36||5:10|
|SOCO – Rhyolite||9/13||2:38||4:54|
Progress throughout the season was steady and consistent leading into the final races of the season where I actually cracked the top 20. As one would expect, when we got to the championship events at the end of the season we see some sandbagging, which shows itself in the increasing differential between myself and the top 20. Overall, I’m super happy with how the season played out and I can’t wait to start drilling it in the off season. I plan to hit the ground running at the season openers next September!