Christine’s Corner – Why I Don’t Race CX


Posted by auscxmag

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words & photography: Christine Carter (Editor of @auscxmag)


Why I  don’t race CX

‘Race:  to compete with another or others to see who is fastest at covering a set course or achieving an objective’.
Race? That is a foreign word to me, we weren’t brought up to be competitive but rather to just ‘do our best and try hard’. I can kind of manage that, but ‘race’? God no!
I do ‘race’ at CX though, if you use the term very loosely. I turn up, I do a recce lap and get advise from Sean on how to ride certain parts and yes, I line up at the start. But that’s about the end of my race, I prefer the term ‘ride’. I ride CX, I ride in the bush, to and from work sometimes and at the races.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch the others race, I totally enjoy the local battles between Chris and Garry and then the other ones that happen further back,I cheer until I am hoarse, and offer lots of advice such as ‘pedal, pedal!’ ‘You can get him’ ‘Go (insert name) GO!’… but it’s just not for me.
I really enjoy ‘riding’ at the ‘races’, I use it to improve my own riding, gauge my level of fitness (which would be better if ‘training’ also entered my vocabulary’), I like to test my skills and not dab where the bloke in front of me just did …and try to make my lines smoother with each lap.
I also like that mostly people can’t tell where I am coming, not that last actually bothers me, someone has to come last! At least  if I’m slow more people get the opportunity to admire my kit as I cruise by, and if I have enough air in my lungs I can even answer to cheers! I throughly enjoy the atmosphere, enthusiasm and friendliness of the races.
I think it’s a pity that people miss out for silly reasons. I think it’s a shame that so many people put restrictions on themselves and don’t take part, I hate the lines ‘oh! its for the boys…and ‘I’m too old’… It recently dawned on me that I am one of the oldest women ‘racing/riding CX and you know what? I don’t care at all! I don’t even think about it (except when I tell Sean that so and so ought to lap me since she’s twenty years my junior and an NRS rider!) I’m out there having fun, taking part, riding fun, challenging courses and spending afternoons with a great crowd of people …and I am not putting restrictions on myself.
I love that some of the blokes racing are over 70 (or very nearly) and that both men and women ride against ex-olympians, Tour riders, NRS riders and World Champions, because when you are out on the course everyone hurts but also takes the time to be nice to each other. I like the start line where all the women are chatting to each other and wishing each other luck and I’m looking forward to the day when NSW can catch up to Melbourne or Adelaide and have over 30 women line up for a ‘race’.
My view is that it’s all about participation and having a good time. Ok, so, to be perfectly honest I don’t always enjoy every single moment of these ‘rides’…Lap one:  This is fun, I’ll warm up for lap two…Lap two:   Yep! I like this, its great! , Lap three:, When is my Gu going to kick in?  Lap four: FFS! I didn’t intend to do this many laps. Lap five: When does this race finish? Sean should just be bloody impressed I am even OUT here. Lap six to the end: When does this finish? How long can 35mins last? And then,  at the end,  relief I finished and ‘how FUN was that’?!….Ok, so if I trained a bit I probably would find the ‘races’ easier, but truly,  training is something that I keep suggesting to myself and then finding other things to do. Lets face it,  I’m busy! I love to ride, but I honestly don’t care enough about my ‘racing/rides’ to train for them, I have come to terms with that… even if, somewhere, in the deep recesses of my secret mind I do tell myself that one day soon I will implement and keep to a training schedule and surprise them all with my performance –  oh! Who am I kidding!