last nights' training agenda included dismounts, more sand, more tight cornering and for the big finale; shouldering the bike (you hop off your bike and in one lovely fluid motion, place it on your shoulder, so you can run up a set of stairs, a muddy hill, or a yard sale of riders that may have gone down right in front of you). only my motion wasn't so fluid or lovely. and after my first run up the hill while shouldering my bike, one of the team coaches took a moment to explain 'don't do what she did'. what i had done was create a major traffic jam in my pathetic attempt to get bike off my shoulder and remount in one lovely fluid motion.
i didn't have the dismount/remount mojo last night and i was getting pretty frustrated. i was on a too-big-for-me borrowed bike (again). but at least i am moving in the right direction as the borrowed bike was a cross bike and not a tank of a mountain bike. now, while i may not have had the dismount mojo going for me, i had another kind: the passing of people on the cross course mojo. i actually passed people. and people, i am telling you this is unprecedented. especially when i tell you the circumstances under which the passing occurred.
i passed people in a turn. a tight turn that they took too wide (which is my usual m.o.) and i went on the inside and passed them and was over the moon and then i passed more people every now and then going into the sand pit. don't slow down at the sand pit people, just pedal pedal pedal. well, actually - if you are a woman in a race with me - go ahead and slow down at the sand pit, cause now i know i can pass you.
i'm totally digging the team cross practices. there is coaching at every corner. literally. coaches stand at every corner of the crazy tight ziggyzag thing they have us doing through trees and sand and yell: don't touch the brakes! get in the drops! next time do it faster! don't touch the brakes! higher gear through the sand! and if we really suck, they'll call us over for a little chit chat. i got two chit chats. one was bigger gear in the sand. the other was actually to get off the drops in the turns, cause the bike was too big and i was fighting with it.
most of the things they yell jive with the mantras i am saying over and over in my head: lean the bike, keep body upright / pedal pedal pedal / dont touch the brakes dont touch the brakes dont touch the brakes / look where you want to go look where you want to go / get off the brakes! get off the brakes! / dont stop pedaling dont stop pedaling / pick a groove and pedal pedal pedal.
the cool part is its' not even just the 'official' coaches who help out. we started our first warm up lap and instead of my usual, comfortable spot dead last in line, i was towards the front - and was so worried that in mere moments the entire team behind me would just blow by & leave me in the dust (literally - i could not believe the dust that was flying around) that i said outloud to the new teammate behind me: team passes me in 3, 2, 1 ... (really, a very defeatist attitude). he says, "get on his wheel". i swear, it didn't even occur to me. i think getting on someones' wheel is only something you do on the road; but sure enough - i got on the guys' wheel and was able to stay with the pack (a bit) longer. i still totally eat this team stuff up. i love that everyone offers up advice and tips on how to go about everything in this strange new world.
the other mantra i found myself chanting was i can't wait for my cross bike i can't wait for my cross bike. cause i'm pretty sure that being on my own bike is going to make for some very good mojo.