December 4, 2013

CXLA: Racing Bikes in the Big City

Racing under the lights at CXLA
Going to CXLA wasn't part of the original plan.  The race calendar was laid out in September and my season was focused on racing in Oregon, winning the Cross Crusade Series, and prepping for the Brewery Cup in Bend.

When an opportunity to race against some of the fastest women in the country presented its self, plans changed.  Carl, Adam and the Giant crew were heading down and I was welcome to tag along. I talked with Erik and Brig, made a few changes to the schedule and BAM – I was on a plane to the big city. 

Following these guys around is always an adventure.
CXLA is a unique race, as it located in a park, in downtown Los Angeles.  Skyscrapers act as a back drop, with Dodger Stadium and the Hollywood Hills just a stone’s throw away.  The course resembles a dirt crit, more that it does a cross race, but I welcomed the sunshine and was happy to be riding sans leg warmers for the first time in months.  

I got in a couple of short rides into the hills, had breakfast with a good friend and watched too much junk television.  We don’t have a t.v. at home, so this was a real treat.

I raced consistently both days; rode with the leaders for awhile, learned some lessons about racing in a larger group of fast women, about how a 40-minutes effort feels (in comparison to the 60-minutes we race in Oregon), and how it feels to get out-sprinted at the finished line (not so good, as you can imagine).  Most importantly, I learned that I can ride with the leaders.  Never before had I been in this group. Never before had I been able, or confident enough, to be right in it.  This was a good feeling, one I will carry with me this coming weekend at the Brewery Cup in Bend.  Ben says I’m a scrapper.  I’ll take this as a complement and fuel for the fire as I look to better my set of 8th places finishes this weekend on home turf.

Breakfast with Lindsey, a real treat.
A big thanks goes out to Erik, Adam and the Giant Crew for making the CXLA trip happen, to Brig for switching things up and getting me ready on such short notice, to Rolf Prima and Clement for fast rolling wheels and tires, to Sunnyside Sports for making sure my bikes were dialed, and to CLIF, Smith Optics, and Stanley for keeping me hydrated and my eyes protected in the California sunshine!

And BIG LOVE to Ben – my #1.  Everyday.