October

Aspens turning Gold as the first snow settles above Frisco, Colorado

I hate writing a monthly post – it’s an acknowledgement of my failure to update my blog regularly. But with photos racking up, and other adventures planned for the end of the month, I need to fill in the gaps before October gets forgotten about entirely.

Like normal, I walk around mystified and in love with Autumn; taking in the glory of the trees and the mountains readying themselves for the long Colorado winter itself. I never want to be blind to the weather and the elements; appreciating and accepting the seasons is my way of living life at the right pace.

Looking at the flatirons from Eastern Boulder County

Along with cooking as much with squash, courgette and pumpkin as I can, I’ve also been racing a lot of ‘cross. Cyclocross is best described here in this brief article. Like the turning of the leaves, and the hearty stews cooking on the stove, Cyclocross is cyclings’ autumn – it is the seasonal variant of competition that fits with the weather and the smell of wood smoke on the breeze. It suits me well; an hour of racing, lots of suffering, and some tactics to think about too. The running parts are a little bit of a shock to the system after three years of purposefully minimising the amount of running I’ve been doing.

Photo by Dejan Smaic: me racing to the win at Frisco

I started the season off well; a couple of races to get used to the bike, and then a weekend where I won two races in a row. I had no idea that I was capable of riding off the front of a race in Colorado, but doing so, and holding on til the end was a needed confidence boost, and ressures me that perhaps I do have a future racing bicycles. Even when I’m doing well, finishing in the top 5, you still don’t get the buzz and satisfaction that winning brings.

Winning in Golden - photo from Mary Topping

My second win of the weekend was much different from the first. I entered the race with a lot more confidence, then proceeded to make as few mistakes as possible for the next hour. Rather than a solo ride off the front, it was a pack race that really had nothing to do with fitness; more a battle of wits. I stayed in the lead group for the whole race, then capitalised on a mistake by Ken Benesh to take the lead at the right time, staying away by a bike length for the win.

With the weather in Boulder oscillating between cold and sunny, and ever more wintry storms, I know that dry and snow free riding time is probably limited. I’m pretty excited to keep racing through November and into December. I hope the training I’m putting in now will pay dividends later in the season when the urge to drink beer is higher than the urge to ride bikes.

The first coating of snow on the Flatirons