The race took place at Bear Creek Park in Lakewood, and I'm familiar with the venue. I actually rode this race a couple of years ago on a borrowed mountain bike, and I've raced #cyclocross there. It's the perfect course for beginners, which made it possible for me to do on my 'cross bike.
I raced in the beginners division. They had a 'never-ever' division, but since I had once before, I didn't think it fair to do that! It's a mass start, and we gals were off. I was doing fairly well, as the start is relatively smooth. Even the initial climb wasn't bad. However, I don't like descending in rocks, especially steep downhills with lots of ruts on a narrow single track that's grooved. My pedals were hitting the sides of the trail rut, and I was breaking all the way down. Let's just say I was scared!
For this race you do laps on a 4 miles long course - my race was 2 laps. It was scary, fun, exhilarating, and nerve wracking. My hands hurt by the end because I was braking so hard and so frequently. All I wanted to do was cross the finish line without falling off and/or losing any blood - I succeeded!
The results were posted, and I went to see how I did - Dead...freakin'...last (DFL). Why would I post about coming in last in a race? Well, those who know me know that I have a saying - "Death be DNF" (DNF = did not finish). Blood, vomit, injury, if it ain't life threatening, I'm finishing a race. Many of my clients and friends know I ride, and know I ride well. Every triathlon I've done I've been in the top 3 for the fastest bike time. The thing is, this is all ON THE ROAD. Put me in the dirt, and I'm beside myself with what to do. If I can figure out how to post a video, you'll see me crossing the finish line passing a 10 year old girl. Yeah, I sucked!
But this race wasn't about winning. It wasn't about even finishing mid pack. This was all about getting out of my comfort zone, racing with my #pedalRacing teammates (who are much more skilled than I at mountain biking), and supporting a good cause to promote not only women's cycling, but getting young girls involved as well. The Betis have the Little Bellas, young girls who they teach how to ride and the ins and outs of bicycling (including bike parts). This leads to so much freedom on the trail, and independence where they can take control of something in their lives in the future that is currently dominated by men. It's about supporting each other in this event - as other women would pass me, they would (after getting over the initial shock of bike choice) shout out "good job!" "keep going!" etc., Young girls were out racing with their mothers beside them encouraging them and showing them how to ride.
It's absolutely one of the most incredible events I've participated in. Which is why, even though I suck at it, I did it. Another reason why I raced was because I tried to volunteer like I have done for several years, but they had a waiting list for volunteers! That's how incredible this race is. They told me they were good on volunteers and that I should race instead, so I did.
Oh, and as far as PRs go, I beat my last time on this race by 30 seconds ;)