The fifth race of the 2016 MFG CX racing season was held at the Marymount Event Center. Featuring two long, very muddy runups and being surrounded by some pretty retro rigs made for a very unique race. It being the day before halloween, many racers and hecklers alike were in costume, I opted for some pretty rad skeleton makeup to show my Halloween spirit. The course began with a long grass section including the whole-shot and some tight turns that lead right into the barriers and then a windy grass (that quickly turned into mud) area where I searched for the greenest possible lines to find traction. After a short packed gravel bit it was up the first, and steeper runup. Runup #1 had two possible lines, but the higher, more popular line was the one I decided to go with. At the top was a dirt portion made up of fast corners and sprint spots that wound around some pretty interesting cars, and could give you the speed you needed to bomb down the fast gravel descent and back into the grass. Here, we came up to a REALLY tight right then immediately left S-turn that was very tricky. My method of choice was slamming a foot down and pivoting the bike around that,making for a very tight tactic.
Next up was another grass section that brought us to runup #2 which was pure leg torture (for me anyway). Runup #2 was the less steep one, but was longer and I usually had somebody on my tail at this point so it was a spot to hustle up. At the top of this runup was another dirt section which I decided to sprint on almost every lap. Launching down a loose decent was the next step, you just had to watch out for the tight turn waiting for you at the bottom, that I managed to almost lose control on every lap. Finishing out the lap was some more flat but fast, switch-back turns that sent us flying out onto the grass finishing straight. I personally loved this course and managed to pull off one of the best races of my season so far… until my back wheel came off over the barriers and sent my flying, then proceeded to not let me ride it. But, after two bike switches thanks to best pit-crew and mechanics I could possibly ask for I was back, on my bike and able to finish out the race in 12th.
One of my special talents is getting pinch flats on my cross bike, like I am really, really good at it. Sometimes it even happens when I don’t plan it and I’m out on a ride or at practice. And let me tell you, tromping around the course, or hiking the trek back to the car in the dark and cold is no fun. Having an awesome and constantly reliable pump with you is always a smart move. The Little Silver pump from PDW pretty much lives in the back of my jersey. It’s very simple and easy to use, and the fact that it’s very cute and stylish just adds to the fun! The Little Silver Pump should make an appearance in every beginner, intermediate, or advanced rider’s bike gear bag.
The Grand Finale to the 2016 MFG CX Racing Season was staged at Woodland Park in Seattle and proved to be an honorable finish to the series. The long-awaited course started on pavement which quickly lead to a grippy, straight dirt section that gradually morphed into two steep gravel hills. This section was a prime spot to burst past people and get some ground behind you. A short, bumpy descent took us down from the second hill, and around a quick, sweeping turn around a corner surrounded by helpful hecklers and blowing fake snow. A flowy, full of traction dirt section awaited us right after the very tight, slippery S-turn following the hill. Next up, was a wide, muddy corner followed by a greasy off-camber straight and turn. At that point, there was an uphill that took us onto a curving, dirt section that ran right up to the bottom of the run-up. The Woodland Park run-up was fast and sweet, with a small log in the middle to provide a small little hurdle. After the run-up it was up a series of little hills and towards the barriers. Following our graceful (or not so graceful) leaps over the barriers we were sent careening around many solid dirt turns and into the finish straight. One of the best courses this year sent us out on a good note, and left us craving more for next year. I pulled out a 3rd place during my Cat 3 race, and had an awesome day. Thanks to MFG for such an awesome and memorable 2016 season!
PDW gave me the opportunity to sport one of their super spiffy bird water bottle cages on my CX bike, and WOW! The cage is so easy to get my bottle out of while I’m riding, and it looks really sleek on the bike. This bottle cage is definitely a must have in any cyclist’s bike accessory collection.
Being able to have such an amazing opportunity to write about this season and getting to share it all with you has been really awesome. Thank you so much to Portland Design Works for the chance and all the support, I think I will remember this forever. And thank you to all the readers who have inspired me to start writing and racing more socially!
PDW wishes to congratulate Juliann on her most excellent 12th place finish at the 201