cyclocross race #5 is complete. it wasn't pretty, but the fact that it was at the usgp totally made up for it. and i think the rockin' skull and crossbones knee socks provided the perfect diversion to sucky riding.
so. i wake up early and get my warmup in riding down to the race. i wanted to get there in plenty of time to visit sram neutral support, cause my bike was a mess. so, i get my pit pass and go find jose. and while i am standing there in the chilliness; my warmup goes to pot, i watch as jose starts to take my bike apart, and i cheer for teammates as they pass by the pit. i am slowly getting more and more nervous. cause he keeps taking more and more things apart. shit. my bike was a bigger mess than i thought. and he asks when my race starts and i tell him and he starts to work faster. he takes my shifter off completely and puts a new one on. and then he asks me how many times i have crashed in the sand and i say a bunch. i hear the call to the stage for women and i am still standing in the pit watching jose put shit back together. another call to staging and he's taping up my bars. he gives me my bike and sends me on my way with a "good luck" that was less than believable. i yell to the official as i ride out of the pit can you tell them i am on my way!? and i get to the line and i missed my sweet 4th place call up and now i am not on front line, but the second. not that it would make any difference in the end.
i thought the start was sorta scary. it was fast and crowded. this was biggest field ever and i swear, i almost went down when another woman and i got too close. on the post race briefing my husband told me that i had a good first 100 yards, but ran out of gearing. also think i ran out of guts when all those brakes started squealing as we started to turn off the road and onto the course. i soon found myself off the back. i moved up a couple of places, but would lose them again by the end of the race - due to all that crashing and all.
it may have been one of my worst races - being late to the line messed with what little mojo i had going in to this race. this is a grown up course. its tough. i had done a pre-ride the night before and it wasn't pretty. the most terrifying thing besides the sand, the mud, the slippery wet leaves was the green monster. this is a ginormous man-made obstacle of a flyover thingy. we ride under it at one point, and then towards the end of each lap, come around to the stairs - six of the steepest steps ever, a flat portion at the top and then a 45 degree astroturf covered ramp down. while watching this race last year, the green monster looks wild and fun and totally cool. when i got to the top of the flight of stairs last night i was very near panic attack. it looks way scary from up top. i wanted to cry. i thought i dont need no stinkin cyclocross. i can just go home. i let everyone else go before me. i would stand there & stare down the ramp and try to breathe, but i couldn't do it. then, on the first try, i totally fell at the top of the ramp. tool can. my husband was giving me pointers - keep pedals level and if you want to live to see another day, don't use front brake. after an embarrassingly long time up there trying to fight back the tears, i just did it. and it was terrifying. but a total rush at the same time. this is me. work in progress. just conquering the fears, one lap, one green monster at a time. - i can't even imagine what would have happened at the race today had i not gotten a chance to see the beast and conquer it (semi) alone last night. i still had to take a nano-moment at the top each lap today, but i did it.
there were countless "on your left ma'am" moments today as i got passed by more juniors than i care to think about. and its always so awesome to hear an 11 year old whiz by you and say 'you're doing great mrs. webster'. for the love of god. someone just shoot me. but hearing my kids scream the loudest from the turn just off the green monster "go mommy go!" was the best & made up for everything. they ran all over the place and caught me at a bunch of different sections.
i was worried about back sand pit which was long and deep and had a little lip of a hill at the very end. i worried that without the dane's hands all over my ass, i may not make it; but was thrilled to find on the first lap that i made it without incident. the second lap however, i made it to the lip, lost speed and hovered there on the little hill - i couldn't clip out & i started to roll backwards and then - i did a backwards endo/wheelie thing - front wheel up and over and me, flat on my back in the sand. it was a good show and i got lots of cheers when i got back on the bike to keep going. and that is what made it fun. i had a photographer tell me "a little secret" after a flying crash off the bike and into another sand pit "you gotta get up there". yes, thanks. didn't realize that. there were plenty more crashes and on the third lap, my shifter froze and i was stuck in the granny gear - just spinning out with no way to catch anyone.
so, while my racing (if you can even call it that) may have sucked, the crowd and everything else about the day was awesome. it was loud and noisy and fun and i had a blast.
there is much more to write and tell, but i am doing it all again over again tomorrow (minus the shitty riding, i hope) and have to go to bed.