Dangit, I keep losing track of time and before I know it weeks have gone by since the last time I updated my blog. Alright, what do you want to know? Lots has happened since my last post so I’ll just stick to the basics.
First off was the USGP Derby City Cup in Louisville, KY. This race weekend holds a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons. One, it was my first “big” weekend of cross racing last year. Second, it’s where I met the Bain family – a wonderful family who took me in and made me their surrogate child for the weekend (along with Rachel last year and Cody this year). Third, there’s no other place in the country that treats Halloween like the families on Hillcrest Ave do – handmade, eccentric Halloween decor covers every square inch of the houses and yards. It’s no wonder that the street attracts thousands of trick or treaters, literally, who come to pay homage to the brilliant creativity lining Hillcrest Ave on Halloween night.
This year, my mom also made the trip to KY to witness her first cross races in person. I’ve passed along many youtube videos but those pale in comparison to the real thing. Needless to say, my mom enjoyed watching cross much more than crits and road races! And luckily the weather made it a perfect weekend for spectating – the rain had stopped so there was no shivering underneath wool blankets and rain coats but basking in the sunshine instead.
The races themselves were kind of a mixed bag for me. The rain the previous day had left the course muddy and greasy, which made me nervous since I don’t really excel in those kind of conditions. I have fun in the mud, for sure, but I definitely ride tentatively through the greasy turns, which means that with each turn during each lap the gap to the front gets bigger and bigger. As usual, I had a shitty start (although I had a decent start position) and had to try to power my way through other riders before the top women motor away. And, as usual, I worked my way through riders but not before the gaps to the front 3 had gone too far. I kept working hard, slowly picking off a few a few more riders until I found myself riding with Alison Dunlap (WORLD mtb bike champion) as we battle for 4th place. I thought to myself that I should just keep riding hard, hopefully harder than she can ride, until I drop her but she’s smarter than that. Alison held my wheel without an ounce of energy lost for a lap or so, jumped me going in to the Green Monster, and held the gap through the muddy ruts to the finish. I rolled in just behind her for 5th place. Alright, if I look back one year ago at this race, my result has improved significantly. I should be happy, and I am, but still….
Sunday was a different story. I could do nothing right. First, I started without enough pressure in my tires (this is a critical part of cross that I am still learning about) so I had to roll through the pits on the first lap for a bike change. I was already off the back since I was riding (even) slower because of my tires and after the bike exchange I was even farther back. Thing is, I didn’t have much in the legs to close the gaps like I did yesterday. Not much I could do but keep my head down and keep riding as hard as I could. I tried passing a rider only to pick up a piece of bark that gets wedged between my brakes and rim forcing me to stop to pick it out. More time lost. Less zip in the legs. I probably had a crash or two in there as well but all I can remember is that I sucked and my back hurt. 9th place that day – NOT HAPPY. But, it’s cycling and you win some, you lose some.
This past weekend in Boulder went a bit smoother for me, or more consistent I should say. Two 4th places – that makes four 4ths in 6 races. Something has to change…and SOON I hope!
But, more on the Boulder races later. Now it’s time for a ride in the warm sunshine. Who woulda thought we’d go from 15 inches of snow last week to 70′s this week?! Ahhh, such is life in Colorado.