i realize that snow, wind, mud and bitter cold are apparently a perfect mix for 'cross weather. but i gotta say, i still don't get it. and driving to the race; shivering in my down jacket, fleecy lined boots and hat while watching the snow fly - i wondered what the hell i was doing. i wondered what we all were doing. kids jacked up on krispy kreme at 8 am. no heat in the airstream. clogged toilet. a mad case of pms. and realizing we forgot to stock fridge with post race beer.
it was a classic case of: if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy. i'll spare the details of how my husband could no longer take my unhappiness and pulled the airstream over to ask what the hell we were doing. why were we racing? but by then teammates were knocking on the door of the rv on the side of the road, thinking we had broken down - when it was really just me who had broken down. my husband decided to take advantage of the 'breakdown' and try to fix the heat so the remainder of the trip would be slightly more comfortable - in more ways than one. but when we saw another teammate starting to pull over, we realized we needed to get moving before the whole team started pulling over to see why the airstream was sitting on the side of the road.
so. we get to the race and finally do get the heat working, which makes me infinitely, all is well with the world happy. then we embrocate - which also makes me happy - and head out into the 30 some-odd degrees to pre-ride the course. my husband thought it would be similar to last years' course and told me it was all mine. wide open and swoopy. he was convinced i'd love it. he didn't factor in the full day of rain that fell on the course the previous day, the cold, the mud, the fact that they changed the course, or my pms.
so essentially, after my two lap pre-ride i already decided i didn't really care about the outcome or my placing or who was in front of me. it was what it was - all muddy and cold. i wrote the race off before i even started. even though it was my dream start: uphill. on a road. at least it could have been, but i soon found myself stuck behind two crazy slow girls. but the fact that two girls were slower than me and pissing me off is actually fairly unprecedented. so i guess i am making progress. i was dfl soon after the start, but made my way up 3 places by the end - thank god for the courses with a nice long slightly uphill stretch of paved road where i can pass people.
there is a point at which the girls in front are so far ahead catching them seems an impossibility and the girls behind you look more tired than you and so you just ride and decide to enjoy it and have fun. so i did. i looked for the little victories like feeling weirdly badass about having mud caked all over my bike and my shoes, and slipping as i ran up the crazy muddy run ups. and finally making that uphill - thanks to the cheers of super fast local guy - onto the long stretch of slippery mud without taking a digger or having to hang onto the chain link fence for a moment was awesome. hearing people yell nice line! on that one - equally awesome. throwing my bike over shoulder for run up felt cool and realizing on the third lap that going through the mud is actually less stressful if you don't look down in front of you at the scary groovy mud, but instead look ahead of you to the nice grass - it will all be over soon. making the weird off-camber muddy turn around baseball field every single time, that same one you had to get off the bike during the pre-ride for - not even having to dab foot down on the last lap. much better. tiny victories. i'll take 'em.
teammates who cheer for you by yelling "for the love of god woman, pedal!" adds to the humor of the whole thing. cause you realize you probably weren't pedaling and quite likely looked like you were out for a little leisurely ride in a muddy park. hello. its a race. stop having fun and enjoying tiny victories. go faster.
and then it was over. and i had fun. but when the results came out and i saw that i was one place away from the podium, it wasn't fun anymore. i was mad. well, shit. that was stoopid. maybe i shouldn't have laughed so hard at the "pedal!" shouts from my teammate and i actually should have pedaled. maybe i should have looked for some bigger victories. like actually riding faster. there's a thought. it is a race after all. maybe i should have stopped wondering when road season was going to start, or what that funny noise on my bike was. maybe i should realize that just being out there isn't always enough and i'd actually like to do better and am quite sure i could if i tried hard enough. there's one more chance on the 30th to actually try and race. and to not think 'i could have done better' when its' over. and if not, i'll always have harbin park.