I will just combine this weekend's two CX races into one report.
Drove down to NJ Friday night, hit tons of traffic. Still had an 1h15m-ish drive to Bridgeton for Beacon Cross on Saturday morning.
Put it quickly: I did not have the right clothing. I was certain that all my winter bike/run gear was home, but evidently it was not. I was able to borrow some midweight stuff from my parents and dress in layers, but it still didn't do the job. I knew this even as I was taking the bike off the car rack. I rode a lap of the course to warm up. Between my 0 experience this season and kinda late registration, I started probably 3/4 of the way to the back of the field. When the race started, I lost quite a bit of ground to people because I'm a silly triathlete who can't sprint. Over time I grabbed some of them back over time. It was crazy muddy/sandy/wet, sometimes 6-inch deep puddles. I noticed on lap two that I thought I had a flat, but I just decided to wing it and go for it. I knew my wheel was slightly out of true from riding a flat earlier in the week, so I was planning on going to Bicycle-Pro that afternoon as it was. By the end of the race I had no control. My rear brakes were non-existent, the wheel wasn't tracking for anything, and my front brakes had even begun to loosen with all the sand. I finished somewhere middle of the pack, then as I slowed down, I realized just how badly I'd messed up my wheel. None of the spokes had any tension whatsoever. I brought it to the shop that afternoon and they informed me that it could be rebuilt, but basically not worth it....so new wheels it was.
GPS/HR file from Beacon
Sunday (today) I drove up to Jamesburg for Highland Park Cyclocross, aka HPCX. "Octsnowber," as some have called it, left a few inches of snow all on the mostly-grass course. I was terrified pulling up to the lot. Got out and tried to ride a lap to warm up, but started to run out of time, so I didn't end up riding the starting stretch at all. I started about 2/3 of the way back again, but the sprint from the start wasn't that crazy, perhaps because there was ice everywhere. One pile up happened about 20m in, but I was on the other side of the pack. We hit the first patch of grass/snow/mud up a hill, and that's when I started to make my move. It was probably a 100m run. The rest of the course was kind of like riding singletrack, because there was usually only one or two good lines to ride. Every now and then the snow or mud would be too much and an ordinary, flat, straight section would become a run....perfect for a triathlete. I worked my way up through the field, and I didn't realize that I was in the lead group. I figured there was another bunch wayyyy up ahead to where I couldn't see. Eventually I started to figure out that I must have been in front the way people were actually yelling to me "5 seconds back" and the like. I never actually took the lead, I just sat on the eventual winner for quite some time. Every now and again somebody would come up and get me, but I'd get them back at one point or another. At one point we went through the finish and the card said 2 laps to go, but spectators (including certain spectators of mine) immediately started yelling "last lap," which confused one of the guys behind me to the point where he absolutely blitzed the lap, falling down on a hairpin turn, then still catching up to me to sprint what he thought was the finish. I think that left him dead for the real last lap, where I just tried to focus on running fast when it was a run, and otherwise keeping the rubber side down. Came in for second place in the men's cat 4 race. Definitely couldn't have done it without the help of Bicycle-Pro though...I wouldn't have had wheels to ride on if it weren't for them!
HPCX Men's C race (ignore the last little data point; watch got turned on briefly at home)