14 November 2012

Things to work on for my second cyclocross race

I just hit the "Submit Payment" button for my second cyclocross race of 2012 (first one being a few weeks ago).  The first race was a learning experience and complete blast - it was fun to jump into something with no expectations and give a new sport a whirl.  Now that I have a better idea of what to expect, I'd like to see if I can make some improvements, however miniscule, at my next race this weekend.  Unlike last race, I'm not going to have a chance to preview the course the day before and familiarize myself with it - I'll try to get a run in that morning before the race starts.  

- 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?"


Kathy said...

Sweet. What race are you doing?

B.o.B. said...

LOL at the smiling! I smile all the time like a damn fool. I should work on that. Although, a certain Ms. Wellington (yes that IM champion) says smiling is intimidating. Especially when one is in major pain. ;) Good luck!!

Em said...

Well - CX is supposed to be FUN! And I'd probably be smiling if I wasn't always on the brink of throwing my lungs up :-) So Smile and have fun this Sunday!!

P.S. Do you want to borrow my ridiculous CX racing glasses??

Karen Talley Mead said...

Less smiling and more being on "the brink of throwing your lungs up." I like that.

The Miller Family said...

Good luck!!!! Have fun!