GPCM – Washougal MX (Race #6)
I podiumed in Category 3 Women! I am still doing a little happy dance, but I made a killer goal for this season in that I podiumed in three different categories in cross racing this year! For me as a first year racer who has only been riding for three years, and with the majority of my hours being in the last 18 months, I consider this a major achievement. This most recent podium was at the GPCM Washougal MX race up in Washougal.
The GPCM series is the first cross series of the season, and as my husband explained to me, is a more local series compared to the regional Cross Crusades. This is the sixth race in the GPCM series and since the Cross Crusades series has started most people save their racing for the Crusades races. This is awesome because it means the fields usually are smaller in the non Crusades races, and I say usually because this race all the fields were significantly smaller, except my Category! Seriously all the Cat 3 women decided to show up???
The Washougal MX race is at the same location as the Ninkrossi race, which is race #4 in the GPCM race series. However the Ninkrossi race wasn’t held on the actual motocross course, the MX race was run on a majority of the motocross course. Which is actually pretty cool. The Ninkrossi race was tough, bumpy and hilly, it was pretty much a disaster for me and it was my first Cat 3 race. I was mentally prepped for an awesome race this time at the MX race thinking about the smaller field size, my increase confidence, increased fitness and just all around better understanding of the race.
My lovely husband came with the kids and my mom so even though we didn’t have any other team members there, any team tent and really there weren’t many spectators, I had some people in my corner cheering. I helped set up the kiddie cross until I had to leave for the preride. I am never one that races on the preride, I like to look at how the lines are going, is there a better line, how much mud, etc. So I did my thing, and the course that looked harder than the Ninkrossi course, looked actually pretty fun. Oh and to make it even better I finally had mud tires, the Clement BOS tires! I had been riding on Tubeless Specialized Tracer Pro tires and they had been great for all the dry racing we had been having but after a downpour at Heiser Farms I quickly found out the Tracer’s are NOT good in mud. However that is another post for another day.
The weather at Washougal was AWESOME. Sunny, cool, and dry! So dry that Zone 5 had to put a fire house on the mud bog because it was turning into mud cement. Get this straight I am not a fan of being cold, wet and muddy, like at Heiser Farms, however it was sunny so a little mud bogging sounded fun.
When we all lined up in our categories I am pretty sure most other women’s categories had five people or less, however Womens Cat 3, we had a full house of seven. I know only seven but the people that were there were all the people I currently I am in close proximity too points wise. Oh and I need to mention that there is zero places to warm up on a road at this race and at Ninkrossi. This is a definite trainer warm up venue due to the hills, lack of driveway, etc. So you line up pretty much cold.
I always enjoy being the chute, I have started to get to know some of the other women, we joke, laugh, talk about things. So like every other race, I was ready to go. I had a horrid start, see picture, I started pretty much at the back of the pack. Which since moving to Cat 3 is pretty normal for me. It usually takes me a lap to come into the flow of things and lower my heart rate to not exploding levels. The course was super fun despite a slight up hill start on gravel. The beginning of the course was pretty much sweeping uphill turns in the mud and gravel, it is actually a great place to pass people, and that I did. Once you exit the initial sweeping gravel sticky mud area you enter the actual MX park. That was the fun part, lots of sweeping turns, tight turns, through some tunnels, it was awesome. The mud was nice and sticky my tires were rocking it and I may have been hurting but dang it was fun.
Check out my mud bog pictures when I passed Nikki and Hollie. Check out all the photos from the race thanks to Leonard Johnson of Hot Foot Photo.
When you exit the actual MX course you head down to a section of off camber work, SUPER FUN, and then you take a left turn, into the mud….bog…Seriously this thing was big, probably a good ten yards or more. The first lap it was a cluster. I made it through and made note of the lines I needed to be able to power through. Because I have to use my meatyness for good not evil 🙂 From the bog it is an uphill battle to the finish that includes more off camber, a steep run up and some awesome rooty corners, then a final uphill run to the finish. Seriously your legs are exploding as you cross the finish line and you don’t really get any respite till you enter the muddy corners.
On the second lap I made a major move to move up from sixth/seventh I think to fourth. Poor Nikki from Team Oregon got stuck in the mud bog and I was able to move around her, chasing Hollie Baird. At that point her and I knew we were third and fourth. There were only two in front of us, Laura Schmitt and Alex Schultz. However, halfway through the second lap I passed Alex who was walking her bike! She flatted out, which I felt bad for her but that meant that Hollie and I were chasing for FIRST! Hollie and I played a little cat and mouse with each trading positions back and forth for the next two laps. We were both really pushing it, taking corners that had I been in my Specialized tires I would definitely have slid out and laid it down for sure. However I had traction everywhere, I powered through the mud bog like a boss and I was able to maintain my podium!
I am super excited about this race and I have been really love the GPCM series. Cross Crusades is fun but I enjoy the smaller field sizes of GPCM to test my skills, get better and I find I get less frustrated. I am looking forward to the Cross Crusades race this weekend, to the off season of training for something for once and for next year.