Monster Cross (02/19/2017)

Monster cross this year was another great time for TeamBBC. Here’s what some teammates had to say about it:

John:

This was my 4th time at Monster CX and my 2nd best effort! 2013 saw me come in at 3hr25min on the CX bike, then the following year my seatpost broke half way through the race. 2015, 3hr 42 min on the 29er, but the course was muddy and wet, which slowed everyone down a lot. 2017, I came in at 3hr 30-something minutes (according to my Strava). I’m heavier than i’d like to be, but whatever that was a fun race!

Conditions were perfect and dry which made things as fast as you could push yourself. I knew that the start would be hard to hold back and pace myself, but after the first 5 miles or so I tried my best to give myself little breaks. I’d just get into an easier gear for a minute or two and make sure I wasn’t breathing too hard. Before sunday I had only done a couple road rides over 40 miles this year.

I have been getting on the mountain bike a lot so that helped, since I used my mountain bike in the race! The rigid carbon fork feels so light but beats the crap out of you if you’re not used to it. I’ll throw the suspension fork back on for the Baker’s Dozen in April. By the second lap I ran out of fluids in my 2 bottles so I stopped for a second the next time I saw a dropped bottle; picked it up, then I wasn’t out of fluids anymore!! I cramped up a little in my left calf in the last 5 miles or so but that’s expected since I hadn’t done any long efforts for a really long time!

It was so awesome to have so many teammates to kick it with afterwards!!!

Scott K.:

First off, is John is still going on about that rigid fork? ;p
This was my 3rd time doing this race and I came in with fairly high expectations given my CX season and where I felt my fitness was. The first two times I did this race, I had problems with mechanicals and or serious bonking, so I came into this year with a much stronger nutrition plan. You need to force yourself to eat and drink to a plan to keep your energy up.

The race started fast but nothing that made me too concerned. My concern started when I dropped one of my bottles on that crazy root section and after I decided to drop off of the lead pack and settle into my race. Soon after that I was caught by a SS CX bike (who I assumed was leading my race), so I stuck to his wheel for a while. I had no problem holding the power to stay there, but I was struggling to hold him in the turns and was burning more matches than I wanted to, so I let him go. Flash forward to the second lap, and I knew I was feeling good, but that I should really get my bottle that dropped. I stopped to get it and when I did, my foot didn’t come out of my pedal and I just fell over. One of the bolts on my cleat came out, so twisting my foot to unclip just twisted the cleat on the shoe. I got it kind of squared away but accepted the fact that I wasn’t unclipping with my right foot for the rest of the race.

Eventually we got stopped and all regrouped with the medical situation¹. I was talking with the SS CX guy and we were pretty sure that we were 1,2. I didn’t want to be a jerk and race him the last 10 miles when was clearly stronger than me earlier in the race, so I just rode the last few miles with him chatting and let him pull away at the end. Overall, I was happy with how I felt, although I really wanted to dig deep in those last 10 miles and see what I had if we didn’t get stopped. It was great seeing everyone and playing bikes in some amazing February weather!

Laura:

This was my first long race AND longest off-road ride I’ve ever done (besides the NCR). I had SUCH A GREAT TIME. Everyone was so effing supportive and friendly (highlight of the day was when an older rider told me how much he loved my fox socks, then when he saw me bunny hop over a root he screamed “AND SHE CAN HOP! GIRL YOU ARE AWESOME.”)

Nothing was technically difficult, but there were a few sections that were a terrifying at race pace, especially surrounded by a bunch of mountain bikers who don’t believe in brakes. The upside was that I took a lot more risks than I normally would have if I was just riding around in the woods by myself, and it was actually okay. I had some near wipe-outs that I managed to correct, and I think I finally got over my paranoid fear of stream crossings, because oh-s**t-here’s-another-stream-crossing-can’t-stop-now.

I did NOT quite finish all 50 miles, a big group of us missed a section of the 2nd lap. I checked the map yesterday, and there’s a 1/2 mile section where the course doubles back on itself. A few people passed in the other direction on the flat part where it seemed fine (hi Ezra!), but then we hit an uphill where the elite men were descending at top speed, and everyone began to doubt that we were on the right trail. To be fair, it was kiiiinda insane to have two-way traffic on this section with no warning that you should probably stay right and not pass anyone here if you want to avoid a head-on collision

Craig was nice enough to stop and try to help us, we tried to backtrack, couldn’t figure out what went wrong, so we ended up just following the elites instead. I got to totally confuse Adrian and Lindsay when they came up behind me, annddd it meant I got to get to the finish line and eat giant plate of southern food sooner.

Alex G.:

How many years in a row can we get such great weather?!? Great day for racing. I still love my SS bike. I felt good, but could tell I hadn’t been on the trainer as much this year. Those hills were much harder on lap two. I think the park had laid down some rather fresh gravel in some areas, that with dry conditions made for fast but sometimes sketchy descents and turns. I love the course. It’s fun, yet challenging. Totally CX bike able. Great food and drinks afterwards. Despite the large crowd the race (where I was) spread out pretty quickly. Can’t attest to the folks up front. I’m looking forward to going back next year and will make a real effort to get more miles in ahead of time. That race was my longest bike ride of the year so far. Not an advisable strategy.

¹ Our thoughts are with Josie Measures from Cary, NC, who suffered a crash during the race. We hope her the best recovery.

4 thoughts on “Monster Cross (02/19/2017)”

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