I talked about it in more detail in my preview, but it's a Cyclocross race here in Durham, Ontario.
This was my first ever cross race, so I'm a total newbie. I bought my bike 3 weeks ago! So I wasn't there looking for any kind of special result, just experience and fun.
The race consisted of 40 minutes of laps around a conservation area. The terrain is very mixed, there's a bit of everything - forest trail, gravel, sand, wood chips, asphalt, grass... even a rocky creek bed. One steep climb and one steep descent, the rest was mostly flat.
My age group started first out of our race.
I had a tentative start, as my goal was basically not to be in anyone's way! There were two other groups starting behind us, some of whom had some pretty fast people, and I didn't want to mess their race up.
The climb went OK, I had practiced this a few times before the race. It's steep, but I managed to get up it every lap. By the last lap, my heart rate was shooting through the roof...
The barrier didn't go so well! I hadn't practiced this at all, so I was very clunky. Some guys just attack it, and in one smooth motion swing off the bike, run, hop the barrier, and pop right back on... it's incredible to watch, and obviously takes a fair bit of practice to perfect! I, on the other hand, would grind to a stop, stumble off, clammer over the barrier, then fumbled to get clicked back into my pedals. Lost a lot of time here.
The steep descent was tough - very deep sand. In the early laps I had a lot of trouble with it, and was really quite terrified! But by the end I was riding down pretty well, staying on the bike and had learned a few tricks (don't brake through the deep stuff!!!). Sand is always hard, but on the narrow tires of cyclocross it's just that much tougher.
I feel like I did OK through the windy sections, mostly following the lines that had formed in the grass from previous riders.
The creek bed was tricky - I got this wrong every lap except my last one. You had a steep short chute to get down to it, then a sharp left turn, a rutted hole type thing, then a narrow tricky trail leading back to the main trail. I kept getting at least one thing wrong, and once you're off it's tough to get the rhythm back.
All in all, I learned that I have a lot of practicing to go before I can do a Cyclocross race justice! Fully expected. Can't wait to try this again... in 2011.