Wow, what an experience!!! I haven't had as much fun as I did at Cross Nationals in a LONG time. Cross racing is just so much fun. I am hooked. And yes, I am a cross racer. No more denials.
Sunday was the Elite race and we had 85 women registered, plus a few late registrations that weekend. It was going to be fast and hard. My call up position was 42 so it was going to be interesting.
We woke up to 62 degrees and clouds, with a little wind. Hmmmm... that sounds like perfect race conditions for me. After loading up, it was off to the races. 25 minutes later we got out of the car to 35 degrees and 20+ mph winds. UGLY!! The temperature kept plummeting and by race time it was in the 20's. I was FREEZING. I was prepared for 62 degrees and improvised for about 42 degrees.
I got a good warm-up and the course conditions were awesome. If only I could thaw out long enough to enjoy it.... They said "go" and it was total mayhem. I got boxed out of three turns in a row and was suddenly way too far back. Okay, time to get moving. I spend the entire race moving up and was cross eyed but I did it. I was DONE by the end of the race; I gave it everything I had, finishing 36th. I was also the top rider from the Southeast all weekend.
I never got warm.
The crowds were incredible. I haven't experienced cheering that intense since racing San Francisco a number of years ago.
I will post some pictures soon.... I am still sorting out the travel mess.
Looking really focused (or just trying to not slide out in the mud...)
Okay, goal one accomplished. I WON A MEDAL AT NATIONALS TODAY!!!!! Okay, I'll calm down a little bit now.
I took 4th in the Masters 35-39 race today. I had the ride of my season. We had an incredibly strong field, most of the girls will be in the Elite race on Sunday with me, and I had no clue what to expect. All I knew is that I came a long ways and I was not going home empty handed. I got a front row call-up and when they said "go" I decided to really make it count. I got the hole shot. I really wish Mark had been there to see it because he is FOREVER giving me grief about my inability to start races hard. Well today I proved that I could do it. After the start I don't really know what happened. There were girls out there from the 30-34 race at the same time so I really had no idea exactly where I was. By the time I finished I knew that I was somewhere between 3rd and 5th bu I wasn't sure where.
Running the hill...
Tomorrow we chill out and watch the races all day and Sunday is the Elite race. I am beat.... it is time for bed.
Thanks to Mark for all his love and support... I couldn't have done it without you!!!!
We are in Kansas. Finally. It took a little bit longer than planned to get here; yesterday was a long day. I met Kim Bishop and Dave Hutton in Nashville Tuesday night and the plan was to hit the road early and do the 8ish hour drive to Kansas City, arriving by dinner time. So after driving on the wrong interstate in Kentucky (not completely my fault....) and stopping every 15 minutes for a really well hydrated Dave, we got here at about 9:30pm. We were beat. It was a short night, racing started today at 9am.
My first impression of Kansas is that it is COLD. Today was REALLY, REALLY cold. We had to be at the course by 7:30am to get numbers, pre-ride, and race (Kim was the first race of the weekend). It was 15 degrees when we got there and the course was frozen. It was fun to slide around on the SNOW and check out the course.
Kim had a great race and I was everywhere.... I found a good little loop in the middle of the course that allowed me to cheer for her every lap about 5 times (which apparently was her worst nightmare.... no slacking when the coach is yelling). She was a little nervous about the ice and snow at first but after I yelled at her to take off her "sissy pants" she really turned it up and rode to an impressive 14th place in the B women's race. Dave crashed 6 times during his race (only twice were his fault) ended up really muddy (by 10am the ground was thawing out and it was WET), and took 20th in the B men's race. It was very inspiring for me to watch them race.
Tomorrow is my master's race. I am really excited. I felt good on my pre-ride and although I don't like racing in the mud, I tend to be pretty good at it.
It is one week from Nationals (actually less now) and I am psyched!! We raced in Georgia at the GA cross series final yesterday and I had an AWESOME day. If I can ride like I did yesterday at Nats. I will have a chance at the podium in the Master's race and hopefully sneak into the top 20 in the Elite race. Okay, I've said it. Those are the goals. YIKES!!!
So, as you might have surmised, I won yesterday. We lined up 10 girls in the A race, including some really tough competition. There were a couple of the girls that I have never raced before so I really did not know what to expect. We started fast and I battled for the front. I attacked on the fast power section right before a tight twisty area, in hopes of getting a gap and using my bike handling skills to my advantage. It worked. I got a gap and just kept building on it. I felt great and rode well.... now let's just hope that trend continues.
As a side note, Georgia has an incredible series. They have awesome courses, good prizes and HUGE fields (Mark had 68 in his race). I will definitely go back.
I leave tomorrow for Nationals... I'll keep you posted.