Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cyclocross in Arizona

Last weekend I traveled up to Phoenix for the inaugural race of the AZ Cyclocross Series. Jeremy Bounds has finally had enough of no one taking the reigns and has thrown together what looks like a pretty good five race series in the Phoenix area. I haven't raced cross since I won 3 of 4 races in the Tucson series in 2005, so I was a bit anxious to see how I'd go and who would be there for race number one.

The first thing I noticed was the field size and depth of the field. There were almost as many guys in the men's open race as we get for all categories in the Tucson series. Most of the local roadies and several pro/elite mountain bikers were lined up at the start. Looking around, the second thing I noticed was that almost everyone was on an Ultegra level cross bike, with a few guys even running tubulars! This was not seen a couple years ago here, and really shows how the sport is growing all over the country. I stood out a bit on my 2.2 inch knobby tired mountain bike.

So onto the race. I lined up on the front row and got a great start, slotting into 4th position going into the first barrier section. Stayed in 4th position for about half the first lap, but decided to go to the front going into a technical section that I thought I could get through quicker then everyone else due to my equipment choice. That turned out to be a mistake due to the massive headwind and I ended up towing the front group for a while. Shortly after this I blew up like the Space Shuttle Challenger and that was pretty much the end of my day. Bit of a bummer, I spent the next couple laps trying not to puke and recover a bit, which I did, but I was half a lap down at that point so I just caught a few guys and tried to roll it in strong to save a little pride. Not the best race, but still glad to be out there. Adios.

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