my heart is still racing, the adrenaline still pumping. the most exciting 2 minutes in sports has nothing on the 30 seconds i just witnessed. i just got back from watching one of the most exciting races ever; made all the more exciting when we watched as our good friend crossed the finish line first to become a national champion for the 2nd time in as many days.
masters national championships is here in louisville this week. yesterday, our friend won the tandem time trial and today she was racing the road race. it was a 45 mile race; 9 laps of five miles each. each time she came around, she looked good & strong, she was riding smart and was perfectly positioned; but there was nothing particularly exciting about the race. yet.
the more exciting race for a while was actually the older age group race (35-39). this group went off 5 minutes after my friends' group (30-34). about 3 laps into the race, one of the women was so far out in front, she passed the younger group in front of her and had two women chasing. i thought there was no way the woman could hold that lead and totally figured two women behind her would catch her by the next lap. it was quite the contrary. the woman off the front put more & more time on the girls behind her. at one point, she was 9 minutes ahead of everyone. every time she went by and we noticed that her chase group was farther and farther back, our jaws just dropped. i heard the announcer say her name, her age and the fact that she was the mother of 3 children and i thought i want to be her. it was awe inspiring to watch her win her age group and a national championship by 7 minutes.
after that awe-inspiring win was another sweet win by the hometown girl and our good friend. there were a bunch of us all lined up at the gate, fellow racers and friends cheering on the local girl. while the previous 8 laps were not particularly exciting, we were waiting with baited breath to see what the group looked like when it crested the hill into the final sprint. the wait was nerve wracking. and as they came up, the screaming & cheering started; she was right where we all thought she'd be, but it looked close. she was in a total sprint but she had a girl close on her wheel. i thought my heart would pound out of my chest as we watched them get closer to the line.
the cheers were deafening as we watched her cross the line first and i think people who didn't even know each other were hugging. it was the most amazingly fun & joyous celebration. she rode so well and so smart and made us all proud and looks totally rockin' in her sweet new stars & stripes jersey. she came right over to our group and when we all heard that she had flatted out on the last lap, had a wheel change and caught the group to still take the win; it made her all the more amazing and badass.
i'm on cloud nine. over the moon. my friend totally kicks ass and rocks. oh yeah - and she's a national champion.
*all in all, 3 local women - women i have had the pleasure of riding with and learning much from; all took home a sweet stars and stripes jersey in the past two days. girls totally rule.
next days' addendum: queens of the road.