The Red Barn Cyclocross Classic is one of Minnesota's premier cyclocross events and a rider favorite. The course twists and turns through the tree fields of Erickson Brothers Tree Farm and includes a run-up you won't forget.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Race Report

Sara Brokaw
2nd/9 starters
C women
30 min

Lined up with Pipi Longstocking, a cat (I mean Gopher), a Birchwood girl in a dress, Emily “the Motor” Mokelke (who’s been untouchable in the women’s C races this season), Experienced Velo Bella, Gopher Jules, a known Birchwood sprinter, and an Alan rider. This was a flat power-rider's course, but as I rolled around prior to the start, I felt like my rear wheel was stuck in mud (on a mudless course (note to self...limit to 1 beer the night before a cross race!)).

The course was interesting. After the start, the course narrowed and rolled by some pine trees, made a sharp left, a sharp right followed by a left onto a gravel road where one could recover a bit, and then made a sharp left through a campground where it turned back into the Tree Farm. Once back inside the Tree Farm, riders negotiated a double barrier section followed by twisty-turny sections through the trees (but nothing excessively sharp!), a second barrier section, and a few more corners through trees as the course finally made its way toward the descent/runup right before the S/F.

The Motor gunned it from the start, so I grabed her wheel. However, I nearly lost the front end in the first lap on the sharp left turning back into the Tree Farm, bringing back visions of my crashes in the off-camber U-turn at Boom Island. Great. Not that again. A Gap opened up between myself & The Motor soon after the first double barrier section, so I focused on riding my own race, figuring she would not be seen again. Experienced Bella was close, so I worked on keeping my own tempo high. In the early laps I was amused by nearly missing the hard right before the descent/runup section a few times, but thorougly enjoyed riding the crit-like twisty section just prior to it. Amazed at how fast the runup came after the descent & felt smooth in this transition.

After one runup I found The Motor standing at the top of the hill working feverishly on her bike (dropped chain, perhaps). Wow. I tried to make the best of this opportunity by putting the hammer down, but a lap or 2 later she caught me. Since she did not blow by and said that Alan was about 5 seconds back (Alan always comes on strong toward the end of the race), I attacked through the gravel road section and put a few (seemingly milli)seconds on her. However, that Gap was short-lived, and she soon rolled by at her characteristic tempo. Hanging on wasn’t in the cards so I let her go to focus on holding second position. Alan and Birchwood Sprinter were gaining and finally caught me on the last lap in the second barrier section. As I remounted, I heard &%$#@ and knew something did not work as planned for these two, so I put the hammer down & just tried not to make any mistakes through the end of the lap to hang onto 2nd.