The end of mountain bike racing season! Time to be lazy and eat junk food, right?

VisitPA tent

Well, that was the plan, until I found out that I would be on Thanksgiving break for the (official?) PA State Championship Cyclocross race in Marysville, PA on November 19. I couldn’t just pass that up, so I figured I could train for another two weeks and then be done for the year.

I had done a cx race last year, so I wasn’t too worried for this one. Riding fast, slogging through mud, hopping barriers, running up steep hills… nothing new.

And to make it even easier, I registered for the C race. I race Expert normally, but cx isn’t my thing, and I’m on a mountain bike, so I figured I’d take it easy. Besides, I was burnt out from the past 11 months of intense training and racing!

Here’s the thing though… someone was going to come watch me race, so I didn’t want to make a fool of myself racing the pros! (Yeah, normally I like to race the top class, but this was a girl was coming to watch me…)

I need to expand on this though before we actually get to the racing part of the story…

My main reason for doing the race was to visit my friend at Millersville University, which was closer to the race venue than my hometown. The race gave me a perfectly good reason to do that… (it’s always good to have more than one reason for making an 8 hour drive.)

Now if you’re wondering why I haven’t gotten to the race yet, it’s because I have a very important lesson for you: DO NOT spend the weekend on a college campus if you plan on winning a race!

Normally I wouldn’t stay up till 3:30 am the night before a race, but I had to make an exception this time. Fortunately, I was not worried about winning! And that gave me the perfect excuse for a poor performance!

So on to race day…

I made it out of bed (3 hours of sleep) and made it to the race at about 10 am, just enough time to get my number, warm-up for two minutes, and get to the line.

I was up against 27 other guys, 26 of them on cyclocross bikes. Isn’t there a “D” category for us mountain bikers? No big deal, I was ready to hit the first hill climb in the lead.

But I didn’t…

After a lap or so (wish I had the time to pre-ride), I had worked my way up to 4th place. Just had to move up one place to get a medal.

But I didn’t…

Somehow these guys (on true cx bikes) were holding me off. To make things worse, people passed me! I ended up moving back to 5th, then 6th, then 7th.

I realized that I no longer had a chance at a podium finish, so I started to just ride for fun. Normally I’d take my time and enjoy the course, but this course was brutal! There was a set of stairs, an almost vertical hill climb, tall barriers on a hill, and to top it off, lots of rough ground!

It was truly a challenging course, and quite long, I’d say about 2 miles. Even so, it was great for spectators, which I would realize later in the day.

Anyway, on one lap a guy sprinted past me, and it turned out that that was the last lap. I didn’t even realize it! (Not used to those 30 minute races…) So I came in 8th, 1:39 off the leader I think.

I can’t complain – I just wanted to finish the season!

After getting changed I got to sit around and enjoy watching the rest of the races and listening to Mike and Ray announcing the action. I’ll gladly go to more cyclocross races in the future as a spectator!

I got to watch the junior race, which was dominated by VisitPA’s Taylor McClain. It was also announced (a few times) that Taylor is indeed single. Ladies, act fast!

Alas, that was the end of my race weekend. I needed to get back and spend some quality time with my bed.

I must applaud High Speed Cycling and the VisitPA team for putting together a great weekend. I missed the Saturday night activities and Sunday’s team relay, but I heard they ruled.

Even so, my weekend was great! Sometimes racing needs to take a backseat to your friends, especially after an entire season of going to bed early!

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