Last year only three-year-old Brandt participated in the Woodland Park GP cyclocross kiddie race, but this year little Rijder was also big enough, and I was talked into the new beginners category. I’m no racer, but Anne-Marije Rook, The Riding Reporter, made it sound fun with the heat just for beginners and demo loaner bike.
I’m glad I was able to piece together a cycling kit because everyone else in the beginners heat was fully outfitted and looked very fit. I’m not sure I’ve ever worn those Shebeest shorts before, but I discovered if I took out the padded liner, they fit! And the jersey is an old racing jersey of my husband’s. I have no idea why he had such a big one–he was much narrower than me in his heyday. The gloves are also his and too big and got caught in the gear shift a few times. I’ll invest in gloves before next year’s race because it’s either than or compete single speed and I’m not game for that. The BACON socks are from The Sock Monster in Wallingford and probably wouldn’t have been my first choice, but they were left on the loom a little too long and came out a couple inches longer than they should have–over-the-knee socks for the to-the-knee price! (Not that they stayed up over my knees as you can see from the picture.) I brought my SPD shoes along, but no pedals. The demo bike came sans pedals so Recycled Cycles put my Milano’s pedals on and I rode in my running shoes. I thought I’d be more comfortable this first time on flat pedals, but in retrospect, I think clipless is the way to go. My Bern helmet was a little awkward. The shape is great on my more upright Milano, but its extra low in the back–I’m sure to better protect one’s tasty Cerebellum–and kept bumping against my back and pushing the visor over my eyes.
The beginners raced at the same time as the juniors (Jr Boys & Girls 10-12, Jr Boys & Girls 13-14, and Jr Boys & Girls 15-16) so I got lapped by little kids while making my way around the course. One tiny guy passed me and I thought I could follow him for a bit, but he just hung right in front of me for a while and I eventually passed him back. But otherwise, the only people I passed were crash casualties. The crowd was great. They ran out of safety pins so I didn’t wear my number and several people read my jersey and shouted “Allez Cafe de Columbia!” with flourishy accents as I slogged by.
When I finished the first lap I saw a sign that indicated two laps to go, but when I finished the second lap it was all over. I don’t think I’d drive an hour to find a race earlier in the season next year, but I’ll do this one again and be a lot bolder. Hopefully three laps bold. And I’ll either bring my mountain bike or arrange ahead of time to borrow a bike for the Cat 4 Women (the least experienced) heat.
The kiddie race was awesome! Unfortunately Mr. Family Ride had to catch a ride to the airport right before the start so we couldn’t follow the kids separately and we missed out on taking a video. Brandt rode with a friend, also on a balance bike, in the middle of the pack, while I led Rijder at the way back. What a difference four months makes! At July’s Recycled Cycles kiddie crit someone made eye contact with him so he froze and dropped his bike. But today he kept with it. He got sidetracked by enticing piles of leaves a couple times, but made it all the way around. The men taking advantage of the open course time caught up with him before the last corner and rode around him and even that didn’t phase him! I’m pretty sure he was the smallest racer and he was definitely the last.
Our adventure wasn’t over with the racing, though. With Mr. Family Ride gone, we had both my bike and the car to get home. I opted to drive the car home first and then bus back for the bike. We don’t take the bus often these days, but it’s always fun on the weekend with a very different crowd. We talked to a lot of delightful people on the short ride on the 44 (our favorite bus!). The racing was long over by the time we made it back, but we saw a couple stragglers leaving, one of whom recognized my bike and asked if we were at Yo Gabba Gabba yesterday. Much better than being recognized as the racer getting passed by all the ten-year olds.