I would like you all to know that I was in extreme pain all week. Derby City Cup really took it out of me. Like I said, I wasn’t exactly peaking in fitness at that point, but, the pain is proof that I left it all out there, at least physically.
So, after resting quite a bit this week, I only raced one day of this weekend, and kept it local to the Boston Road Club Cyclocross at Shedd Park. It is a pretty tough little local race that has a pretty great (and EQUAL) payout and usually brings some good competition. Last year I finished 6th and was my highest elite finish of the year.
This year my goal was to win. I think it’s fair to say that this was the goal, and not too terribly unreasonable. Seeing that Meaux Bruno Roy had registered, I knew I would have to work a lot harder to make this goal a reality. It was a cold day, but otherwise the weather played little role in the race; unless you count the cinder track, which was a slimy mucky mess. My start started pretty weak, but I was third wheel upon exiting the parade lap and entering the first climb of the course. I got gapped off of Mo trying to get around the second wheel, so by the time I got into second Mo had a gap of some amount of seconds. That was pretty much the gap for the majority of the race. She would pull away on the descending turny portions of the course, and I could reel her in just that much on the power sections.
The gap was a steady 4-6 seconds for the first few laps, and I think my legs were still in a wrecked state from the preceding weeks, because those climbs took more from me then they should have. I couldn’t gain what I knew I should have, and usually could have.
Knowing there was two to go, I tried to push the turns she was gapping me on and, like an idiot, laid the bike down. The following corner, the course tape blew into me and pulled me down. (This is not an exaggeration; I have eye witnesses- that tape SABATOGED me!) Seeing Mo pull away, I played the rest of the race safe, periodically envisioning her mechanicalling and running her bike, at which time I would pound the pedals like they were burning bags of dog shit on my front porch. Despite this, she got the best of me on the day, and I rolled in for a safe second place.
There are so many wonderful people in NECX, and it is the women that can make or break the race experience for me. Racing with ladies who are gracious and courteous all while being fierce and competitive is a treat. I do encounter the occasional peer that is less than fun to race with (see post about Derby City), some that are quiet and not a pleasure or a bother, and then there are those that make racing so much better. These are the ones that are willing to chat to during pre-ride, help decide what to wear (you know, pink stilettos or frilly apron?), and the ones that give me warm encouragement in the start grid instead of cold blank stares.
You know who is lovely? Gabby Durrin (Neon Velo). She always has encouraging words on race weekend. At day 1 of Cycle-Smart (the only day I raced), she was disgustingly cute. All race she was all over the loudspeakers, and it sounded like she was winning by a landslide. Then, I hear an uproar that seemed like she had an issue. I don’t hear anything else as I finish my race, and then once I cross the line I rush to get cooled down/warmed up and do all of the necessaries. I hear Ellen and Libby on the mic as they are interviewed for their podium spots, but didn’t hear Gabby. I ran into her shortly thereafter and she is asking all about my race, congratulating me on my 7th place finish. Then I ask, shyly, “how did your race go?”. You see, I was worried she had crashed herself off of the podium or something. She was like “It doesn’t matter, but you did so well!” After more inquisitive looks she was like “I won, but YOU!!!’ So modest. And I was embarrassed. But, it would have been worse if I had congratulated her for winning only to realize she snapped her bike on a tree and DNF’d or something terrible. Anywho, she’s a delight to have around on race weekends. And now she has left the states to drag her teammate and husband over to Europe so they can conquer that race scene. Best of luck to the Durrins over there!!
So thankful not only for my team and my sponsors, but also for my “behind the scenes” support of my family and friends. Familiar faces and encouraging words are often the only things that get my to the starting grid with my head on straight.