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Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester - CycleCyclocross

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Gloucester, Massachusetts
United States
62F / 17C
Total Time = 38m 30s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = Women cat3/4
Age Group Rank = 51/56
Pre-race routine:

Up 5:50, ate breakfast left at 6:45; arrived 8:15

Tires ~37 PSI
Before race sprayed cleats and pedals with Pam to get them to hopefully shed mud so clipping in wouldn't be an issue
Event warmup:

Rode part of the course after the 8am race but only maybe 50% of the course. Waited in the car until about 9:40 then visited porta potties, went down to start, put my game face on

Rode the sand section of the course, met up with teammates to for a little pre race advice..don't shoulder bike due to corner stakes. My race team NEBC was largest contingency of women in the is a big developmental team.

Knew I was a bit under prepared in a couple way...did IM in August and took most of the month of September off s/b/r as well as not knowing the full course. Ideally I would ride the course twice at different paces to figure out best lines to ride in technical and tricky spots.

With all the rain the day before and the race the previous day, course in spots was lots of ruts in 4-6" mud for long stretches. This is a technical course with lots of 180s including many that are on side of the hill so you go down make a 180 with mud on corner then turn to go right back up in thick mud all while riding on the tilt of the hill. Being a strong mountain biker would help execute better on this course. I've never ridden off road until cross season last year so I just do my best. I have figured a lot out and find that part of cross exhilarating.

Goal is to have as much fun as I can and not get to banged up. It is a welcome change of pace riding after months of steady zone 2 IM bike training.

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We lined up by our numbers based on when we registered about 8 women wide in 6-7 rows.

These are how the fast competitive folks start..stand on the pedals hammer hard while going for the hole shot (first person into the course where the course is more narrow)

Me on the other hand making sure I'm safe watching my front wheel

This is my teammate Janet (Kevin took this before the race) she started right next to me on the left. Within 200 feet of the start of the race someone over lapped her front wheel she went down hard and the women behind her ran over her. I saw the whole thing and wow it was scary and looked bad. I hear she is okay just a bunch of road rash and she fell on pavement.

Being in the pack, the area you can ride gets bunches up in certain spots as folks spread out through the course..which is why going for hole shot (first into the narrower section between the tape) is key being in front you don't accordion and lose more and more time at technical spots.

It had rained all day the previous day with over 750 racers doing 3-7 laps the course was beat up and had plenty of spots with deep mud for long sections. Plus a lot more of the course was boggy which just slowed me down and made it hard to ride. Riding on the very edge of the course sometimes the ground was firmer but the risk was you could snag on the tape or poles holding the's all about finding the best line and riding well without messing up.

There were two tough spots with lots of mud, descent near bathrooms that was also off camber I rode it high on right on preride went left and someone fell in front of me. Right worked well and I could ride w/o braking, rode the right side after next left all the way to the big tree which the trail fell off with huge mud pit and drop, I rode over to left side to get in swallower mud but lost it.

I laughed..falling in cross often is in slow motion, you know you are going down and you can't do anything about it. Of course Kevin was there to catch it on the camera.

Get up and see Kevin so made a face...great way to spend our 24th wedding anniversary

Evidence of my spill in the mud

Next up was the only set of barriers but they put them on a hill so you go down, then up, then down, around a corner then up and over two barriers. Impossible for me to ride other than down first section and up the next. I struggled a bit with unclipping and dismounting going up and down hills. Ideal technique is unclipping your left foot and moving your foot up slightly so you are resting your arch on your pedal unclipped. When you want to dismount you unclip right foot swing behind you and jump off. Going down hill unclipped one foot makes me my down hill dismounts are poor form but I feel safer.

Made it over barriers

Run up the hill

I find I am smiling a lot in cross races as the absurdity of what we are expected to do amuses me and I'm always like wow I did it. I think the folks that design the courses have an evil streak..but it's fun.

Now I go on the course I didn't know.

Get to the hill by the baseball diamonds, down with tight right at bottom with total muck, ruts and mud then tight right and back up left, 180 and off we go. Most of the women like me ride down and walk a bit until after the 180s. Thankfully my remounts are good.

more of the looping section

Off into the straight away sections some boggy others not. Course doubles back on itself often..this picture I find amusing as we are each in our own lane but they are next to each other

We go on and out and back and up a steep hill I fell last year but made it up, then down by the bay

Beautiful location for cross race, no?

Out and back on the flat section that mostly was boggy, up and back along the water, weave back and forth up hill, onto the sidewalk and down with a lap.

Get to do it two more times. After the first lap folks are strung out and we are not bunched up as much which means you can pick the best lines.

Hammer the downhill section on pavement veers off to new trail section with couple 180s then back onto pavement 90 degree left onto sandpit. Yah I ride through whole time!

I find I catch up with women in certain sections..power, and lose in technical sections.

Loop two I executed pretty well and didn't fall. Fatigue is building and it is hard, but I know the course and ride it better each time through.

Loop 3 I made a big mental error, thinking the end was after the straight away up hill so when I got onto the harder packed gravel area I hammered as much as I could and passed a few folks...last 3'. The clumps of mud from my tires were coming off in chunks so I tried to keep my mouth shut. I passed 4 people I was excited and even passed two up hill...get to the top and we have to do part of the loop still...I'm toast and one of them passed me right back..crude..bad planning.

Get to ride toughest parts of the course again...and I'm tired more likely to make some mistakes.

Keep that women in slip here and there but I'm able to adjust and stay up right.

Get to barriers section with zig zag section up and down the hill, get to the bottom and tire slips out...down I'm going...

I'm upright and get going

After my fall I get over the barriers and pass that women back, mount faster then she does and hammer as hard as I can knowing I just need to hang on for 60 seconds.

Keep it going, don't look back to see where she is keep pushing to finish line..done and kept her from passing me back!

Go down the hill,get off my bike, lay on the ground panting...thankful for another cyclocross's wicked hard but so amazing. The focus needed to stay upright and find the best line to ride, the challenging course, the atmosphere, fans, all make it a great way to spend a hard 30-45' on your bike.

I had many more incidents where my tires were slipping but able to adjust and stay up right than I did falling. My ability to adjust and not fall is improving even if the pictures may say otherwise. Riding in the mud is much more challenging than normal dry course. I do think the race last year in fresh snow was harder than in the mud though but less turning on hills in that race.
What would you do differently?:

IM training, 4 weeks off riding with being back only a week.

I do find I catch most people in the end of the race so I either pace differently than they do or I have better endurance than most cyclocross folks.

I love cross, I pretty much suck, but have a great time which is why I do it. This was a competitive series race so brings out the cat 3 women. The strictly cat 4 races I do more MOP and am on a more even playing field other than most are 10-20 years younger than me. I try to compete against about 5 women that are near my age that we sort of have same abilities.
Post race
Warm down:

I came in 51st last year too.

Waited in line to wash my bike and chatted with other women..really nice folks.

Compared to last year women I would compete against and sometimes beat and sometimes not, today they all beat me...but I wasn't that far behind. Plus a couple rode mountain bikes all summer. Of course I care how I do but in the scheme of things just being out there and having fun riding rocks. My team mates are kind and fun and being on the biggest team adds to my experience.

I had a great time!

I have been thinking that doing IMFL means no cross next fall...I can probably do a couple races in late November and December.

When training for IM you need to minimize your risks and cross is risky..gotta stay in your glass box.

I wish there was a flat not hot IM August or earlier.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I gave 95% effort most of the time other than push at the end twice. Given my training, I just didn't want to push to hard and red line whole time. I enjoyed it this way today. Often if you push to hard you make mistakes and lose more time..falling is one of those type of time losing mistakes...falls were fun though..seriously I was a bit sore but falling adds to the experience and I don't mind getting muddy or dirty..actually kind of like that aspect of cross.

A year of IM training cross is exact opposite...really hard efforts with easier efforts mixed in...a lot of zone 5 work. Nice change of pace!

I can't wait for my next races..I plan to race about 10 cross races this fall!

I love this crazy sport.

It was fun way to celebrate our 24th anniversary. Kevin supports me and loves taking pictures at cross races.

Event comments:

Great vibe!

Technical course and I think it is biggest cross race in NE.

Last updated: 2009-09-12 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 00 miles | 0.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/56
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Day 2: Sunday saw a departure from ANY course I have raced at Gloucester, and it took most racers quite some time to be able to figure out where the course went, in which direction, and how on earth you got there from here. The first “lap” was really a half lap of the course, sending racers up the same start hill and onto the grass. Instead of going to the bottom, however, racers, made a few tight turns, rode past the playground and pavilion, and then up the same bumpy hill as the previous day, before turning BACKWARDS on the course from the previous day. My memory fails me as to exactly how the turns in the pit and chicane areas worked, but after riding those sections, we once again came into the barriers, out through the expo area and onto the pavement for a DOWHILL finish. The second lap started on the finish line, turned racers off the road to the right (at high speed), over some bumpy, twisty terrain, and then into the bottom fields by the staging area. An immediate turn into the sand rode you around the perimeter of the entire sand area, back up into the chicanes, out along the water, and onto the seawall. The left turn off the seawall brought you into a giant mud pit, and an uphill slog that turned you eventually onto the park access road, before doing a 180 degree turn back into the grass at the hole shot. Sound confusing? It was, but it was also wicked fun.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-10-05 7:32 PM

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Subject: Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester

2009-10-05 9:03 PM
in reply to: #2444249

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Williamston, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: RE: Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester

Glad you had fun miss buddy butt!!!

2009-10-05 10:49 PM
in reply to: #2444249

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Waller County, TX
Subject: RE: Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester
Great race and sounds like you had a bunch of fun.

Loved the pics and the play-by-play commentary. Almost took me 38 minutes to load it up and read it.

Congrats on the 24th, BTW.
2009-10-06 10:30 AM
in reply to: #2444249

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San Diego, CA
Subject: RE: Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester
Awesome race Kathy! It sounds like you had a blast and the pictures seem to suggest that's true.

I like any race that you get to play in the mud.
2009-10-06 10:31 AM
in reply to: #2444249

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Subject: RE: Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester
Nice report Kath!  Looking forward to lots of races this fall.  We need to load up on Shout!
2009-10-06 6:20 PM
in reply to: #2444249

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East Side of the Bay
Subject: RE: Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester
Sounds like a blast! I am glad you were smiling in all those photos in the mud! Hope to see you race in Providence!

2009-10-07 9:53 AM
in reply to: #2444249

Subject: ...
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2009-10-09 11:33 AM
in reply to: #2444249

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester
This is awesome Kathy!  It is true do smile an awful lot here.  I can't imagine riding like this. So cool! Great pics.  Nice work!
2009-10-09 6:57 PM
in reply to: #2444249

Berkeley, Calif.
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester
You make this look like so much fun! I think it's the ginormous smile on your face and the mud all over you. It's good to see you enjoying the hell out of a race!
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