Here at Team Recycled Cycles Racing, we are pleased – no, overjoyed – to announce the long overdue arrival of a contingent of strong women, who’ve joined us just in time for the 2011 cyclocross season. Welcome, ladies!
And for the first episode of their adventures with their new team, we have Beth’s report from the Labor Day cyclocross season opener.
Last Monday, it was four freshly-minted members of the RCR/women’s cross team who showed up for the first race of the cyclocross season: ” The Labor Day Bone Shaker”. The race was NOT the typical ‘cross race: a course consisting largely of bouncy grassy turns, on a day that was 85 degrees hot, in air full of dust.
Two of the ladies entered the cat. 4 race. Heather finished well with a mid-pack placing, though her gloveless hands were decorated with open blisters raised by the bumpy course. Rebecca did well for her very first cyclocross race, and even decided she’d do more cross after such an epic opening day. We promise her better courses if she sticks with it.
Julie and Beth were in the Cat 1/2 field, with a grand total of seven women. Since Julie was swimming in a size small RCR jersey, she wore the long-sleeve RCR skinsuit for a slow bake over the course of the race. As it was still Labor Day, Beth could still wear a flowing summer white jersey without committing a fashion don’t.
It was an exciting first minute of racing for Beth: despite a pedal bobble at the start that cost her the hole shot she prefers, followed by a less-than-helpful shove from a former teammate as she tried to sneak up along the tape , Beth managed to managed to get into second place by jumping past local stalwart Kristi Berg. “I am not really easy to push around”, she warns.
Beth would remain in second position for the rest of the race as she and eventual winner Jenny Gaertner pulled away from the rest of the field on the technical turns. Suffering in the heat, just unable to close the gap to the leader, Beth had to work pretty hard to stay away from Kristi, but she managed to finish a minute and a half ahead of her chaser. Taking home a medal and a Redline stocking cap, Beth says she felt “pretty happy for an old lady with a marginal knee and no cross racing last season.”
Julie was psyched for the race as her riding had progressed significantly now that she and Beth were training together. Though Julie’s race didn’t end as successfully as she would have liked, she deserves the award for the gnarliest and toughest racer of the day. On the first lap, she was right up there with the pack until a hard crash on a technically challenging off-camber downhill left her battered and bloody, with deep cuts to her knee and forearm. But despite the mishap, Julie managed to chase back into fourth place – only to flat on the third of five laps. Running to the service pit, she had to search for her spare wheel, then suffer through a slow wheel change; she nevertheless made the fateful decision to carry on to the end.
Once across the finish line, Julie first had to attend to her waiting boys before making her way to the aid station, so the medics could dig the dirt out of her wounds. But while tending to her injuries, she somehow forgot about her overheated body’s need for fluids, and the medical triage thus progressed into treatment for a heat stroke that came complete with shakes and serious wooziness. Thanks to the assistance of various folks with some medical background, Julie recovered without serious consequences, but Beth did take the precaution of driving her and her boys home.
Stay tuned for further tales from the cyclocross season. Team RCR will have Raleigh bikes available for test rides at the forthcoming races; stop by the RCR tent with valid id and your favorite pair of pedals.