I haven't had the "night before Christmas feeling" since our family used to visit Toys R Us in the nineties. I was siked for Bend. Pro riders, bike parts, top notch racing, and bad food. Anyone who knows me might say those are my four favorite things. I almost forgot I was racing........well not really since Prodigy and I arrived at the venue on race day at 6:45am! Check out the pic.
The second person in the parking lot was a lady from the midwest who's bike hadn't been un-packed from her flight. Our tent and ghetto toolbox gave her a false sense of mechanic's skills. She asked me to put her bike together. It was 0 degrees and I was putting together a cross bike as the sun rose. My hands were frozen as I jumbled with parts. It was not a good start to race day.....
I jumped on the trusty Major Jake with my down jacket, ski pants, and mittens. I looked like I was preparing to ride across the antarctic. The course was icy and the track was twisty. I was excited for the bad conditions. I thought the MT training would pay off.
I knew my name was third on the registered list and so I thought that meant first row. It did not. Cross Crusade organizer Brad Ross actually invented a fair call-up procedure. He holds up a number 1-9. If your bib number ends in that number then you roll up to the line. My number was 7. As the numbers ticked by I looked over at Jdoll. We both knew that I was going to be fighting from the back. Luckily, there were only 60 or so riders. I was in the last row. I tried to stay positive, but I was worried about a quick sprint on the iced over pavement. Deep breaths, a clearing of the head, and off we go....
Up the pavement and into the first corner. I jumped off my bike and tried to run around people. Traffic, traffic, traffic! No one is moving! Go, go go! I see the leaders go through the second corner and begin to get frantic. I jump on the bike and look behind to see only a handful of riders. Ugh! Around the second corner and crashes are happening left and right. The B races had a single foot and a half wide track in the snow. It was similar to riding the trails between the Kim Williams and the river. Riders would try and pass in the powder and get tangled. On the next straight I could see a huge crash coming. I jumped off my bike in preparation. I leaped a dude's bike and mounted as quick as possible. It was like the seas were parting. I looked up to see nothing but empty single track. What a perfect situation. Time to start working. Still on the first lap I rode the s-curves as quick as possible. No Ali Goulet tripod, just straight up living on the edge Alex Lussier style. I fell through the 180 and quickly got up. JDoll yelled 17th and I was surprised. Yes! I was so pumped. I poured it on and tried to pass everyone I could before the stairs. Up and over the stairs I was 13th and hungry for more. The course was super sketchy and I fell frequently. There was a run/ride section that most people rode. I couldn't ride it. I don't know why....I kept thinking that Bob would be disappointed in me (he always rides things). Every lap it was costing me. I got up into 7th before a nasty spill on a descent. From there it was good ole cross eyed cross racing. The only thing I can remember for the rest of the race is almost eating it on the descent and having a spectator say, "nice save bra."
I finished in 13th place. Of course I would have liked to do better, but I'll take that result. I worked hard for that 13th place and I'll never forget it. I was so impressed with everyone from Montana. It's inspiring to see Montana riders racing with the best of the best. Although my 45 minutes was quick, I'll be back next year. Not because I was disappointed with 13th place, but because it wasn't 1st.
See you at Physclo Cross 2010.
Triathlete Magazine Article on Cycling House
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