The Run Up: Dam Cross Race Report

dam cross

Dam Cross, I Mean maD Cross, Race Report

My final weekend of racing for the season has come and gone with the Provincial Championships in Woodstock at Dam Cross.  But before we can get to that race there was maD Cross on Saturday.

The weather Saturday morning was clear, sunny, and cold but at least there was not snow like there was at home.  Actually I was kind of hoping for snow to make things interesting.  Tricky weather, like ran, snow, or cold, can turn a lot of people off to a race, they are already dreaming about getting back to their car.  But if you can stay focused and committed to what lies ahead, you have them beaten already.

In hindsight, leg warmers or even tights would have been a good idea but once you get going, you hardly notice the cold.  Bonus, wearing shorts earned me a super creative nickname from the Lantern Rouge guys, Shorts.  Their pun game was pretty strong as well.

So after a little bit of shivering on the start line, it was time to go.  The start was pretty relaxed with a short starting sprint before the first bottle neck.  For once I was a little aggressive and moved up some places through the first turns.  Things got interesting as a rider a little in front of me suddenly shot out of line and went down.  Tough start for him.  Turns out there was a nice piece of ice that almost got me later.

Up a steep hill, forced to dismount by the traffic, and back down as we headed towards the beach for the first time.  I made it trough the first section of loose sand and onto the packed sand closer to the water before turning back towards the exit from the beach.  That’s where things went wrong.  My front wheel washed out and I went down.  Hard.  Full ejection mode.

A few things go through your mind following a crash:

“Ooooooooooooofffffffffff”

“Oh sh*t, I heard a pop.”

“Ugh, my shoulder hurts.  I hope everything is still intact.”

“I think I can still move it.  That’s a good sign.”

“Okay, the pain is diminishing.  Shake it off.  Get up.  Grab your bike.  Bike okay?  Good.  Get back on it.  Okay, system check complete, let’s get going.”

I don’t think I have ever crashed that hard, not even last year’s crash at Toronto Cross felt that bad.  I hit my shoulder really hard and heard a good pop, I also think I might have hit my head.  But luckily I was able to keep going with a lot of work to do feeling like I was dead last and the women (who started a minute behind) had caught me.

When racing #cyclocross in Ontario's dairy capital, be sure to dress accordingly. #damcross #cxishere

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Once again the rest of my race was motivated by a desire to make up for a rough start.  I could have sworn I was dead last but, based on lap times, I was already up to 43rd by the end of the first lap.  Like many other races this season, I was able to close gaps and drop riders through the technical sections as I worked my way up through the field.

By the final lap, I was in no man’s land.  A comfortable gap to the riders behind me and too big of a gap to those in front for me to close down.  Tank was empty.  I decided to take it easy and try to take advantage of the money tree.  Dismounted to grab myself a crisp $1 bill and than failed to stick it in my jersey pocket.  Sad day.

Jrdo was going so slow we thought he'd never leave! 📷 @_paulineeeee #damcross #damcx

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So my maD Cross race did not go as planned.  Doing the Beginners race, I figured I could get a decent result, maybe a top 20.  But an early crash really messed up that dream.  But I think I still finished where I deserved (based on lap times).  Maybe I could do better on Sunday at Dam Cross.

Sadly, while my shoulder felt fine during the race on Saturday, it did not feel so fine by Saturday evening and even worse by Sunday morning.  I decided to make the smart call and not race at Dam Cross.  I wasn’t sure my shoulder would hold out or allow me to even pick up my bike and it wasn’t worth risking making the injury worse.

So that’s how my season ended.  Not how I planned and not really on my own terms, for a second year in a row.  Now its time to recover and find the motivation to get me through the long winter months.