Cross Crusades – Wooden Shoe
Man this season has flown by but I feel like the Cross Crusades races are all blurring together.
I am enjoying this first year of racing and learning so much. The last Cross Crusades race I did for the series was the Wooden Shoe race. It is called the Wooden Shoe because it was held out at the farm that hosts the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival every year outside of Woodburn. I was stoked about a race out at such a picturesque location however after doing the race, not a huge fan. This year my fav race has probably been the GPCM Washougal Race so far, pretty much the complete opposite of this race. The race course was sooooooooooooooo flat, so straight and very minimal turning. Seriously I think there were a total of 12 turns. Check out this video of the race that day, the first line in the video sums it up, so much.
Video from LCN on YouTube
The rains had finally arrived to the Portland area so we have finally had what most Oregonians consider “Cross” conditions. Mud, puddles, grey skies and slip sliding around. You started out in the shoot up behind the wine tasting and gift shop area. From the shoot it was a long straight shot down a gravel road. The road winds north and you go straight for a long time again, you turn and then head west down a road again, turn and head north before a turn and head west again. When you do the turn and head south you go for a long time down the side of the tulip fields. Head west then south again. When you do your first turn back east this was the place for the early morning rides apparently you had no choice but to run this nasty cement mud bog, and it was long. You do a few quick turns around a few trees and you head through the finish line and the barriers. It basically felt like a crit race on gravel and dirt. This was a major race for roadies and those with great endurance power, not for those who are technical or short burst power riders.
I went out to this race by myself, crazyness! Our kids have loved the kiddie cross and have a ball at the races but my husband just isn’t in the cross mood anymore after being sick for so long and having such a cruddy race weekend in Bend. I got out to the race by 11:30, bought my daughters Christmas present, a new to us Isla bike! Then watched the racing so I didn’t have to preride because there was no water, so if you gunk up your bike before the race your bike was already clogged for the race. Walking around I got to see that pretty uch the mud and dirt had dried up except for a few puddles here and there, but it was not the mud fest that is was for the morning races. Warm up time and that great thing was you had a lovely country road you could hop out onto and ride back and forth. Outside of Alpenrose, this was the best warm up yet, scenic and no traffic.
Race time and I felt good, though I was questioning having on my Clement BOS tires, because they seemed over kill on such a tacky course, oh well. I had a great warm up, chatted with Serena Bishop Gordon from the Liv Cycling Factory Team and she chatted lines with me, and we bonded over the same bike. In the shoot with my call up and I had a great spot in the front right. We take off and I start off well BUT then I can’t clip in! Ugh annoying, I end up about halfway back in the bunch and just never felt like my speed was catching up with anyone. As I wound my way down all the freaking dirt/gravel roads I could see a few girls I KNOW I can beat and have multiple times but I just couldn’t get them, I just couldn’t power it up enough on the straight areas, which was most of the course, to get them! The east bound mud I did well, I was able to pass people there but I just never was able to make up that much time. The winding through the trees was fun, because yay corners and then up through the finish. Barriers, I love the barriers. However see the picture to see just how short I am, how tall the barriers are and how freaking high I have to hold my bike. Pretty freaking funny.
Five laps around this dirt track and my legs were toast from the mud. That took a lot of power and my legs pumped everything i had out. I didn’t get a result I like, 13th BUT as I keep telling myself it is about being better at something than you were before. I didn’t fall once, I made some good corners and I am working hard at my form. I am really looking forward to this winter and spring to work on my foundational fitness to drop five pounds and increase my FTP and sprinting power. Then add in skills practice and I am aiming for top three in either Masters 3 or regular three, just not sure.
If they do the Cross Crusades Wooden Shoe race again, I will most likely be missing it. It just isn’t my wheelhouse and if I have to miss one I would rather be a super flat, non technical course. Here’s to a great 2017 and prepping for 2018!