Hard to believe but cross season is already upon us. WebCyclery has kicked off the season with its weekly Thursday night Thrilla CX Race Series. This year they decided to move it from its original location by the Cascades Lakes Brewing Company to Northwest Crossings. The new venue allows for more mileage per lap, more passing options, and much less dust (although there is still quite a bit).
I've decided to give cyclocross a run this year to maintain my "high-end" fitness through December, as well as have some fun in the mud and cold. I haven't yet gotten a cross bike (essentially a road bike with wider tires) so I will be riding my mountain bike for the first few races in the series. I wasn't the only rider choosing to ride the mountain bike for the first race.
Photo credits: Cascade Event Photography
The course at Northwest Crossings is almost more suitable for a mountain bike, with the exception of one tough sandy run-up. The new course consists of dirt roads, gravel trails, tree-lined singletrack, a big run-up, barriers, a few blocks worth of pavement, and a steep descent and climb back up on a dirt road. Each lap seemed to take about 6-7 minutes. The section that really hurt was the steep run-up. Although the BMC FS01 may be a light mountain bike, it is by no means a light cross bike. The race was for 45 minutes so I think we had to run up the climb 6 or 7 times...5 times too many for me.
There were roughly 25 racers in the Men's A category with Trebon leading the charge. Right form the gun the pace was insane and it took me 1 lap to get into a good rhythm. For only racing for 45 minutes, this was ecrtainly an eye-opener as to what to expect for the next 3 months.
Bend, OR will host the US National Cyclocross Championships again this year, so I definitely have my work cut out if I want to be competitive. Would like to make it down for this extremely competitive race, but not gonna happen.