This year, because of the pro CX calendar, Cannonball Cross is really the only semi-local race before Trek and Jingle Cross. So, we wake up early on Saturday morning, brew coffee, throw a ridiculous amount of things in my car (I need two wheel sets, right?), and sing along to Billy Joel and Elton John on the drive down to Mason City Iowa.
After pre-riding the course and almost taking out the course tape on a tricky off camber section, the promoter explains to me that my field won’t have to race that part of the course.
“It’s not because we don’t think you can do it or anything, we just took it out for the juniors.”
I’m not upset about this.
The whistle blows and we’re off (juniors and all!). I struggle to clip in (story of my life) and don’t have a good starting position. It’s okay. It’s a long, wide race.
The course is long, open, and mostly on bumpy grass with some loose gravel thrown in. Gravel is my enemy and I almost crash on it twice, but manage to stay upright.
I’m not sure how many people are in my field, but I pass two friends from racing at the velodrome on the first lap. “Good job!” we say to each other between labored breaths.
As I ride past my boyfriend on the second lap I ask what place I’m in. He says top 5, but neither of us are sure. The race announcer isn’t sure either, only announcing our names as we pass through.
I pass another woman on lap 3 and can only see one more girl ahead of me: Veronica. She’s a junior, right? So she’s not in my field, right? I’m really not sure and work hard to pass her just in case. I notice that it’s harder to push my bike up hills and the rear wheel keeps skidding out from under me on the last lap, but chalk it up to being tired. I’m running too high of a psi in my tires so I had to run up 2 hills I probably could have otherwise ridden.
Final turn and I get into the drops to put in another hard couple pedal strokes through the finish line. I think I won, but the announcers don’t say anything so I just get off my bike and wait for results.
Then I notice that my rear wheel is totally locked up, pushing against my brake on one side super hard. Huh, that explains why I was struggling so much on the last lap.
I eat a protein bar, almond butter sandwich (soigneur boyfriend ftw) and wait for results. Turns out I won! Yay! It was lucky that I passed Veronica because she evidently raced W4 instead of juniors. The trophy is a super heavy rail road tie that I can barely lift above my head with my noodle arms.