Results: Shaina Kravitz - 1st
Town Hall Cross kicked off the 2017-18 PACX series and my first race of the season. Conditions were hot and dry, and the notorious St. Luke's Staircase was back in all its blazing glory. The course winds its way through the woods and up a hillside before sending you flying back down and through multiple series of turns, single set of barriers and fast gravel and grass straightaways. I lined up with about a dozen fast ladies ready to start the local season. I took the hole-shot and never looked back. I opened a gap early and rode a conservative, clean race, trying to save as much energy as much as possible in the heat. I rode in for the win after thinking I had one more lap to go, which was a double win! Hats off to organizers and racers who suffered in the sun for a great early season race day.
Results: Shaina Kravitz - 3rd
Bridgeton Cross is back! As the first race of the NJCX series, this favorite was missing for a few years and recently returned. The course is extremely varied with lots of sandy, loamy turns, short kicker climbs, barriers, rideable log, beach run and this year featured a super steep, loose run up that had me grabbing onto the fencing each time. (Thankfully, the amphitheater weren't included in the course. The bane of short racers!) I didn't realize how much the previous day's race had taken out of me, because I had a slow start. I was sitting 6th wheel as the course shot up a short road climb with a sharp left into sandy double track. The run up was early in the lap and the group started to split at that point. I'd made up a few spots at that point, but lost them immediately when I couldn't easily engage my pedals (switched pedal system this year and not too sure about it yet). I gained one spot back before the first time through beach run. The next came after the barriers, and the final spot on a rocky climb by the third lap. I was focused on putting down as much power when possible and keep it controlled through turn after turn in the sand. I finished 3rd with no one around me. I was zapped again by the heat, especially drained from two nearly 90 degree race days. Here's to hoping we get more cross-like weather soon!
Results: Shaina Kravitz - 3rd
HippoCross was stop #2 on the NJCX schedule. The course was run in the opposite direction as the previous year, but most features remained the same. It was still a power course with lots of long, bumpy straights, a nice mid-course climb and a few false flat sections that really drained you legs. There was a set of barriers, but also a new flyover, stairs-to-ramp style, that everyone approached differently. Remount at the top, or run down and remount at the base? It would all come down to a race time decision. I lined up with the largest field yet, due in part to the super supportive promoters and sponsors who offered equal payout to the for the men's and women's elite fields. The day was much cooler with windy conditions and drizzle on the start line. I was too conservative due to the rain and a hard right turn through gravel, putting myself in a tough spot early. I found myself shouldering through the first few turns, latching onto the back of the front group. I burned a few matches in the process and had trouble settling in. It took a lap before I was able to start making passes as the riders in front of me began to fade. I made a big pass of three riders at the barriers. The rest of the race was a struggle. Constant bobbling, overcooking turns, difficultly navigating lapped rider traffic had me trapped, unable to make any gains. I rode in for 3rd, with the next riders pretty close behind. The beauty of racing is that there is always another race, another opportunity to try it again. (And I ran the flyover each time to save my poor seat rails!)
Results: Shaina Kravitz - 2nd
Caffeinated Cross is one of my favorite races on the NJCX calendar. It is a course that requires good handling skills (very mountain bike-y) with rideable steps, ride/run-up, logs and sand. It was another hot, dry day and my legs were not happy. I made an early foot-down mistake and lost my front position, letting the now lead rider get away. With too much of a warm-up and lots of dusty, loose single track, I started getting calf cramps by the second lap. I kept botching every feature and had a trouble turning the pedals. I was battling with another rider for two laps and was getting frustrated by my mistakes. Rather than admit defeat, I tried to stay patient and, importantly, to have fun, taking as many dollar bills (and a few hand-ups) as possible. I finished 2nd, and a few bucks richer!