Injured knee edition!
Last Friday, I picked Cory up from school (those carpool lanes are no joke!) and we headed up to Cable, WI for a weekend of relaxing and biking in the northwoods of Wisconsin.
If you read my post from last year, you’ll remember that I totally forgot which weekend this race was and made it up to Cable by the skin of my teeth, wildly unprepared having never used a cue sheet before and having no clue what I was getting into. With the exception of one missed turn, the whole race actually went great and I left knowing I’d be back in 2018.
We were greeted with sunshine, minimal wind, and a brisk 50-ish degree temperature at the start line. Perfect riding weather! I initially signed up for the 100-mile course back in February when I thought my body was invincible, but recently came to realize that I either needed to do the 60-mile course or a short interval workout instead due to my knee injury. Bush gave me the go-ahead to do the 60-mile Snacking Bear just before the race, so that’s what I did!
The first 40 miles were lovely and chill. Cory and I spent some time leap-frogging bike friends: the Von Edge tandem, Crisi, Walt, Atsuko, and more I’m probably forgetting. During this part of the race, I kept finding myself gazing out into the woods and smiling, thinking, “oh yeah…that’s why I live in the midwest.” Overall the knee pain was minimal, but I had to push my bike up some of the steeper hills to avoid really agitating it.
I warned Cory ahead of the race that the last 20 miles are pretty technical and that he should run at least 40mm tires. He followed my advice, but was probably wondering what in the world I was talking about since the first 40 miles of the course are about as tame as could be. Finally we got to the last 20 and he understood.
Not only is the last 20 way hillier, it features a handful of washed out sections, large baby head-sized rocks, and sand pits. It you want to significantly improve your cyclocross bike handling skills, literally just go do intervals on Camp 38 road in Cable, friends. Besides the aforementioned hill-walking, I was able to ride all of the technical sections pretty confidently, which is a lot more than I can say for last year. Trying out downhill mountain biking last fall up in Duluth was honestly one of the best things I ever did for bike handling improvement. I really didn’t understand how to move my body on the bike until that weekend.
We finished the race ranking pretty close to the bottom of the roster due to not wanting to injure my knee, but sometimes that’s okay. It was nice to stop and smell the pine trees, take photos, and feel the sunshine on my face instead of going hard for once. Also, there was free pie at the end!
I will end this blog post with what is probably a very unpopular opinion: New Glarus’ Moon Man is better than Spotted Cow 🐄