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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oakley Night Cap Race

The IC crew rolled up in syle on the Cutter's bus :)
Oakley Night Cap Cross is a race I that I definitely look forward to each year! The race is held at Mullet’s bar in Des Moines, under the lights and complete with a live band playing in the middle of the course during the races. There are a ton of spectators and there is always a great turnout of racers. I was completely overwhelmed by the number of ladies that showed up this year, it was awesome!

I lined up early to ensure a good starting position and got a spot on the front row. As with all the previous cross races this year, my goal was to stick with the leaders as long as possible (trying to stay with them a little longer each race!). On the whistle, we took off down a long grass straightaway. Lisa D. and I got our bars tangled few times, but we both stayed calm (and are good bike handlers!) and luckily didn’t go down. I made it to the off camber downhill/uphill section and I was ecstatic to be in 3rd place amid such a talented field of ladies.

Darcy & I at the startline. Photo by Jeff Corocan
I flew down the steep downhill and through the winding sections of the course to a very steep climb (I was using my granny gear!). At the top of this climb there was a blacktop straightaway where I really kicked into high gear. I made a couple more turns and then made it over the first set of barriers and to a nice downward sloping straightaway. After some more twisting course, I went through a dark tree lined section (where we were mooned the first lap!) and to the big log over. I made sure to treat it just like a barrier and run over it (goal from last race - after Aaron pointed out that I was stopping for the non-standard barriers). I couldn’t believe that a couple riders were bunny hopping the log – it was big enough that the thought didn’t even cross my mind.

I promise my eyes weren't closed, I was just looking down.... Thanks Jeff for capturing me actually running!

After another straightaway there was a short uphill, which if you hit right you could catch some air. All the cool kids were doing it (yeah, I’m not a cool kid). There was another set of barriers directly in front of the band and a huge section of spectators. I really need to work some more on getting rid of my stutter step but didn’t want to face plant in front of the large crowd! I noticed other ladies catching up to me right after the barriers, so even though I feel like I have improved, I still need to work on them!

After a lot more ups, downs, and turns, I made it back to the start/finish straightaway. I believe I was still in the top 5, which I managed to hold for a few laps (I think we did a total of 7?). I faded a bit and got passed by a group of three at once. I’m not surprised a. because there were a bunch of super-fast ladies and b. because I had really poor planning and ate a pro bar instead of dinner when we didn’t start until 8:45, and didn’t even have my normal pre-race shot blok… oops.

For the last two laps it was hard to tell what place you were in with all the categories together and lapped riders. The Women’s Open, Women's Cat 4. and Women's Masters all raced at the same time (over 50 of us!). At the end of the final lap I didn’t have anyone close in front or behind so I grabbed a dollar from a booze bottle at one of the corners, much to the delight of the spectators. I tried shoving it my back pocket and then remembered I was wearing a skin suit – so it went up my shorts instead. I was informed later it is proper procedure to stuff them down the top of your skin suit, you know, stripper style, lol.

I managed to finish 9th out of 17 in the Open. I was just so happy about having a good start and staying in the top 5 for so long. I love being able to see improvement, even if it is only a tiny bit!

Who wants to work on barriers with me?!

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