Well, finally got my first cross race under my belt.
Had been curious about since before I got my first road bike, and finally got the guts to actually give it a try.
For the last month I've taken the Devinci on the commute and have tried my best to simulate race conditions.
Things like hitting the steep dirt hills at speed, off-road trails in fishcreek and lynnwood, mounting/dismounting while rolling.
No idea if that would be sufficient, if the bike would hold up, if I could handle all the sharp cornering.
One thing I instantly loved about the sport is it's convenience... race location is 30 minutes from my house, and duration of the race was under 40 minutes.
The beauty of such a short race is you have way less concern about nutrition than with the longer road races.
Woke up, had a bowl of cereal and a cooked egg, and off I went.
Race was in a park behind Brentwood Shopping centre. Course was 2km in distance, including a couple of wooden barricades and a gravel pit (playground play pit!)
Saw some familiar faces at the start which was comforting, and got about a lap and a half of warmup in to get a feel for the course.
There were many sharp turns and a couple of steep short hills.
About 50 guys lined up at the start and I did not stress about placing somewhere in the middle of the pack. Didn't want to get run over and have guys cursing at the noob...
Start was a fast 200m on a bike path, followed by a tangle of sharp turns where guys were stalling, falling, and unclipping. You could definitely tell who were the noobs out there, but I was doing alright.
At one point near the end of the first lap there was a 270 degree turn around a tree and with all the leaves covering the ground, I didn't notice the roots protruding... back wheel jumped up a bit and slipped right out from under me. First wipeout!
Didn't really hurt (although afterwards I noticed a nice big scratch on my upper leg), and my chain had dropped. It corrected as I mounted back on and start pedalling.
Managed to pass one or two guys on every lap, but as advertised, the final placement is really decided in the first minute of the race.
After 4 laps the bell rang and I spent the final lap at a pretty high pace trying to reel in a few more people.
There was a TCR guy just in front nearing the finish line and I made a late surge to pass. It was pretty close but I doubt they would've pulled out the photo finish to determine ~30th position... No idea where I actually finished, but honestly I don't really care. I held my own, didn't get lapped, finished strong, but most importantly, really enjoyed myself.
I'll update once I find out my actual placing, or if I find any race photos.
EDIT: Race results here (I ended up 35/64 - goes to show how many guys there were with such a wide range of skill)
*Found some great pictures such as the one included in this post here