Monday, September 1, 2014

PACX #1: Cross of the Corn

Last week when I said that it was time to say goodbye to summer, I had no idea how immediate that would be. We'd planned our first individual 'cross races of the season to be next weekend at Nittany Lion Cross, which is the opening weekend of the MAC series. I wasn't really that stoked on racing the MAC series this season, because the races were all a minimum of 2.5 hours away, they didn't allow even a single drop race in their series scoring, and they didn't have a singlespeed race even for the men, so Frank didn't have a lot of choice outside of the 9 a.m. men's 4/5 race. However, Frank posted a link to the PACX Series site, which I previously hadn't heard of, on my Facebook wall on Wednesday, and although we had our 'cross plans all laid out, it didn't take long for me to change them.

The PACX series counts the best eight out of ten races, and I will only have to miss the one that is the same weekend as SSCXWC/Eva Bandman. It also has the women's race at 12:15 and a men's singlespeed race at 3:30. The races are also much closer on average for us, so we will just be racing two the first two weekends of the MAC series that we'd already signed up for, then keeping it to PACX the rest of the season, save our road trip to Louisville.

The Team Awesome Junior Gnarsity p/b Cheez-its CX Tent. PACX doesn't seem to know about party tents yet, but we're going to teach. So far all the party we've had is a couple asking to park their baby under the tent, but it's a start.
The one downside to this plan was that the first PACX was this weekend, which seemed too damn early, but also a good chance to get an early grab at points. The entry numbers were probably about half of what we'd seen on the results of last year's series, but I believe that this is only the second season and the first time starting this early.

The fourteen women signed up for the 3/4 race proved to be enough for me. had me predicted as fourth, so I had hopes of slightly exceeding their expectations and possible getting my first (earned) podium in three years. As it turns out, I'm either in worse shape than my Tuesday mountain climbs imply, or the fact that I was able to get not last in a few OVCX women's elite races last year garnered me better points than mid-pack finishes in 3/4 races in PA.

Regardless, I went out hard like I belonged at the front of the pack, only to discover that I couldn't maintain that pace in the blazing heat. The only action that happened after the first lap was that I passed one girl who went out even harder than me and then died even harder than me, and was passed by a girl who seemingly went out slow and took advantage of everyone's melting in the end. I ended up eighth out of fourteen, which was disappointing, but at least it gave me a marker for where I stand. I have something besides "not last" to work for now, and I'm sure that I'll improve as the weather cools down and we hopefully get to race on some courses that better fit my skill set.

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