cyclocross races at a gun club start with the firing of a real honest to goodness shotgun. which sorta scared the bejeesus out of me even though i was totally expecting it. i mean the guy was standing there. with a shotgun. you know its gonna be loud and skeery. but still. strangely, though; it was the only thing that really scared the bejeesus out of me on the course today. strange because it was barely a cyclocross course. it was more of a mountain bike course. all technical, and woodsy and gravelly and shit.
and so because of this woodsy, technical, gravelly, mountain biker shit, and because i had poured over all the forum posts on the team site all week describing the course; i had a mini panic attack last night.
what about that hill? what about all those rocks they're all talking about? what about this or that? if there was something that i had read that perhaps i could worry about - i did. i got myself all jacked up. and then went to bed. but not before i announced to my husband that the jury is still out on whether or not i actually like this cyclocross shit cause i really suck at it and it scares me and i dont know why. and he says can i have your bike. and i say no. i am racing it tomorrow. and then i go to bed.
but i woke up a new, braver girl. and packed the kids up for another day of indulging mommy & daddy's whims and we drove 2 hours to the course. and then my husband and i pre-rode the course. and after 2 laps, i figured well, yes indeedy this strikes me as a mountain bike course and so i am about to do my first ever mountain bike race.
my start was pretty good for the starty part. i think i kept blocking a girl - possibly the very girl i would love to come in ahead of for once - from getting past me; which was awesome and so bravely and agressively dont take my taxi unlike me. but once we got back into the woods and into the turny shit, she passed me and i fell off a bit and lost contact with the main group.
i tried to gun it through the first sand trap every time, but it was long and deep, i always lost speed halfway through. i did however on the last lap, find the fastest way through if you weren't actually going to ride it - i did a real honest to goodness like they show in the pictures in magazines over the shoulder bike thing and really, really ran. none of my usual tip toe through the tulips shit. and then i just turned the corner to run through the second sand trap. two. sand traps. in. a. row.
i was much better at the barriers. i think i only did a queer hippity hop thing once maybe twice where my left leg gets all jacked out like its not even attched to the rest of me. all the other times, i tried to make a real conscious effort to look normal and really do a cool run and leap thing over them, like everyone else. like in the magazines.
and then there was the off camber uphill 180 degree thing that i can't believe i actually made it every single time. lamaze breathing really helped with that one.
my remounts sucked. ass.
there was a crazy hill on the back side. i remember watching this race last year and seeing people get off to run the hill. and from the lodge, the hill looks like a piddly piece of nothing - i'd say why the hell cant they ride up that hill? for the love of god, i could do this. now i am doing it and the hill is not so piddly when you are on a bike at the bottom of it. and i like hills. and i tried, every lap to get over it. and every lap, i'd stop and clip out before i fell over. or i'd just fall over.
the race was actually fun. and i realize that if i have enough energy to yell you go girl to teammates as they pass the other way, that maybe its too fun and i should work harder.
my new girl-that-i-only-see-at-races-but-is-totally-cool-and-fun-to-chat-with friend tells me that before races, her husband is always coaching her about how she has to get out in front of suzanne. and i am amused that i am somone's nemesis.
and driving home, i told my husband, i wasn't even scared. not even of the gravel road. or the turny shit. and i was only mildly scared of the cliff that if you didn't take the crazy turn right, you plunge to - well, i don't want to think about it. and he said good, cause there was plenty to be scared about, it was really technical. and i think yeah. but i could have done better. then he tells me that in the last lap, i closed a one minute gap down to fifteen seconds, crossing the line a mere fifteen seconds behind the girl i would love to come in ahead of just once. so i'm getting closer. must channel more inner new yorker don't even think about taking my taxi.
and so i am back on the cyclocross bandwagon again.