In this first installment of what will be Team Averica's weekly blog, rider Erin Faccone reminisces about the first weekend of 'cross racing in the 2015-16 season. Check back here weekly for updates on what the new, elite women's team has been up to.
OMG the first cyclocross race of the season! I’m not even ready to acknowledge that it’s over by writing about it, so imagine all the feels upon showing up to the race! The first race is always overwhelming for a number of reasons – you get to worry about whether the past year’s worth of training has yielded any meaningful improvement, not having to pack a cx race bag for 8 months is likely to result in forgetting something, and it’s like a giant, maybe slightly dysfunctional, family reunion. Plus, Ellison was a new course to me and the forecast for the race was 80s and sunny. Total CX weather, right? On the plus side, I’m super stoked about the new team setup and got to drive out with rad teamie Julie Wright and stay at other rad teamie Lydia’s mom’s house.
Lydia’s mom’s house was great.
The Ellison course is basically an un-shaded hill climb followed by a slalom back down the hill. There was a “pro-only” section to interrupt the only flat section of the course, which consisted of a steep down and back up around a tree in some pretty loose dirt. One of the radder course features for sure. Oh and did I mention it’s the first C1 of the year? Right, so all the fast ladies were out from around the country to test themselves before CrossVegas. The races were total firefights: hot, fast, dusty (hey look, you can watch them here.
Not to mention the #watergate hydration scandal.
But hey, what can I tell you about the race that you didn’t already read on twitter this week? A few things, I think. We got to fly the Team Averica colors at a UCI race for the first time; this team is something we and Averica are so excited about and have worked really hard on. Julie crushed the heck out of the race on day 2, flying the team colors all the way up to 15th in the pro race. Seriously, every time the course doubled on itself, I caught a glimpse of Julie riding with fury. Girl was out of the saddle hauling at all times. If I weren’t her teammate I’d be afraid of her. But since I am, I’m just impressed as heck. Also, did y’all catch that Team Averica quarterback, mastermind, and human who keeps us all on top of our game, Lydia, raced in her first UCI field? Yea, and she finished on the lead lap Sunday. Let us stop for a round of applause.
I can also tell you that I suffered mightily under the conditions. A race with >1100 feet of elevation gain in just over 7 miles is punishing under the best of conditions. 85 degrees and sunny is punishing on a flat course. I learned that the combination will turn my body into a misfiring blob of useless. But there are total silver linings: I suck at downhill turning. Like, really really suck. Being unable to pedal hard meant extra intent on practicing that particular skill, because what goes up must come down, right? Plus, I got to test out some new equipment that I’m super excited about this season. A level of excitement so contagious that our friends at Cyclocross Magazine took some pictures to document all the radness.
Lastly, the good news about posting a race report on Friday, five days after the race, is that we race again tomorrow. And the staleness of my news will soon be eclipsed by the excitement of the second UCI race of the year, as Julie and I travel to PA for Nittany Cross this weekend.
PS. I will document this season in Wegmans visits. Julie, Preston, Lydia, and all of Rochester were subjected to my overflowing excitement about visiting the flagship Wegmans.
There was coffee. And hangouts. CX is here and it’s great.