Cross on the Rock

Cross on the Rock is the name of the local cyclocross series here on Vancouver Island.  It's put on my two of my best buds (Norm & Wendy), and they have done an amazing job of pretty much personally accounting for the explosion of 'cross here.  They put on the island's first 'cross race in 2004 (I think there were about 15 of us, all friends in a single heat), and since then Wendy has been the women's elite National Champion several times, Norm's been the masters National Champion at least twice, the island now has a whole series, has hosted Provincial and National Championships, and races get hundreds of people out in several different categories, from kids to masters to elites.

Despite all this awesomeness, I hardly ever take part.  It seems I dabble in a race or two every couple of years, and haven't done one since 2011.  Until the other day.  Why I'm not a regular, I'm not sure... maybe because the races are short, fast, and pretty dang technical for 'cross courses - pretty much everything I'm bad at!  But I've decided those are actually all reasons I should get back into it, so signed up for the beginner race last Sunday at Shawnigan Lake.

I definitely had it easy in terms of what the course could have been, yep there were some technical sections that really would have been more fun on my mountain bike, but overall the course was pretty forgiving in that it wasn't that tight and turn-y, the sand section was pretty minuscule, the mud was at a minimum (possibly because of a pretty dry October and November for the PNW, especially this past week), and the climbs were not too intimidating.  So yay for me - not too punishing!

Took my Garmin around for a practice loop. A bit more open
and wide than other courses, around some playing fields
at the island's most prestigious private school.

My biggest problem with cyclocross is I just don't know how to do that high-end, red line kind of effort.  Races are 30-60 minutes depending on your category, and honestly I'd rather ride for 4 hours than for 30 minutes because I know how to pace that!  I'm pretty sure that Sunday I rode my 4 hour pace, despite my race being all of 33 minutes (3 loops of the above course).  I need to learn how to go harder!  
Before the start.

I'm so lucky it had been dry or the grass sections
would have been a mud fest. 
Coming around after the woods
on an open part next to a rugby field.

Post race.  Not too muddy.

I ended up finishing 10th out of 16 women in the beginner category.  Got schooled by a few kids that appeared to be less than 12 years old!  It's so inspiring to see kids taking these races seriously - show up at a Cross on the Rock event and no lie, you will see kids in skinsuits with expensive race bikes and sponsors - how awesome is that!

I had a great time, not only in my race but then watching the other categories for the rest of the afternoon.  I am hooked, and told Jason that next year I am in for more races, and will try to do most of the series.  Maybe even a race or two in Seattle and/or Portland.  Next year it will be some 'cross on and off the rock for me!

1 comment:

  1. Sweet...well done my friend. And I love the Betty Designs gear.