Race report: Cat 4 women rolled out one minute after the Cat 3, who rolled out 1 min after the Cat 1/2. Leah and I were in the second row (there were only 11 riders, most of whom fit in the first row). That’s what you get for signing up on the last day of online registration.
So the race starts, we’re in the back. The first few turns are slow because it’s like a traffic jam. Then we get to the hill. Yes, the one hill. Leah used this climb to pass people on the following laps–I got lucky on this first lap and avoided a minor crash, passing three women in the process. So now instead of 10th, I’m about 7th. And I spend the next 35 or so minutes picking off the other riders one by one (only I didn’t have a sense for the number of women actually in front of me–see below). The course was boring, but had like 1,000 S-turns, so you had to keep the focus up. Only one set of two gates (or walls, or whatever you call them. Oh right, Wayne said they’re called “barriers.”).
So we rode. It was hard. I was secretly hoping to get pulled after 3 laps, but the 1/2 women hadn’t finished their 4th and final lap yet, so around again we went. This did, however, give me a chance to pass two Cat 3 riders. Of course, the thing about cross is that I had no idea which race each of these women were in. So when I finished I knew I had placed, but I really had no idea–was there someone off the front in our race who I never saw again? Had I passed Cat 3s or Cat 4s in those later laps? Nobody knows! Well, I guess the ref knows, but nobody else knows until the results are posted! Okay, and probably the Cat 1/2s know what’s up in their race as well. And probably if I had been paying attention I would have known by the race numbers who was in which category. But these are the things I will learn, eventually. Anyway, it was a fun race on a kind of boring course–I think us road riders had some advantages since there were lots of open straightaways and very few obstacles or technical sections–and a lot of false flats on grass, so definite extra advantage if you were in good cycling shape (versus out of shape, but with lots of skillz). Of course that analysis is based strictly on my two and only cross experiences in the last nine days.