- I'm still going to do the race on a borrowed mountain bike with running shoes (still haven't gotten around to purchasing mountain bike shoes or a bike of my own). This could work in my favor since I'm still pretty new and not really ready to do a moving dismount with shoes still clipped to my bike. Goal is to have smooth dismounts and NOT manhandle the brakes while jumping off the bike. That ended in near-disaster last race when I accidentally hit the front brake with my hand as I was running towards the barriers and the bike came to a complete halt while I was still running. And while I'm at it, I'm going to focus on a better flying dismount - with a little more flight and a little less stutter-stepping.
- Start off more aggressively than last time. Chances are, I will still have a start position near the back (positions are determined by rankings and order of registration, neither of which are in my favor at the moment). Starting in the back will mean I will need to start off fast and not let the entire field run away from me like they did in the first race. If I can get myself in a good position within the first 100-200m, I could avoid the cluster that is the back, and hopefully minimize any chances of encountering a crash early on.
- Make it a point to race my face off and keep my mind quiet so I get in the requisite number of laps. Last race I managed to do all 4 laps and wasn't pulled from the course - but during the first lap, I was thinking to myself that 4 laps sounded like an awful lot and I could avoid doing them all if I just slowed down. I need to suck it up, it's only a 35 minute race, I can do anything for 35 minutes. And hopefully if I get my mind in the right place early on, I'll be more willing to work hard right out of the gate.
- Work hard THE WHOLE TIME - uphills, downhills, flats, going over barriers. Don't take a breather on the flats. If I see a girl ahead of me, do my best to catch her because THIS IS A RACE.
- Be more aggressive. I had a few moment where I took chances during my last cross race (one in particular when I took the inside of a particularly tight corner and didn't fall flat - that was a confidence booster), but there were a number of other times where I was hesitant and cautious. But there is a fine line between aggression and stupidity and I'm going to try not to cross it.
- And finally, DON'T smile so much, it ruins the race pictures. Mike got a ton of great race photos, but I look like I am out for a Sunday stroll while wearing a giant grin. Fix that this time. Do my best to look intimidating. Follow the lead of Karen Talley and Em McDonald. If it is sunny out, where sunglasses. That helps with the intimidation factor.
|Not looking scary at all. More like "it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, won't you be my neighbor?"|