that’s how many laps we had to do today at the master’s national championship criterium at churchill downs. forty laps on the little half mile ‘track’ around the infield.
on advice of the coach, i got the upgrade to a 3 so i could get the experience of racing master’s. cause it was in my back yard. i was really missing that 4 next to my name and felt like a total fraud with a 3 there instead. but the deed is done.
the other thing coach advised was scrapping my plan of only doing the road race and doing the crit instead. if i was only going to do one of the 3 events (road race, time trial or crit), he thought the crit would provide a better overall experience; and since i was really only in this for the experience – crit it was. i tried to ignore the voice in my head that was all wtf? you catted up to race a crit?
so i lined up today at masters nationals. and i’ll just say it again cause it’s so friggin cool. i lined up today at masters nationals. right in front of the twin spires. and i felt great. and was super excited – in a good way, not a jacked up anxiety-ridden way.
the race started and then the next 40 laps were a blur of: braking too much into first two turns, being off the back, chasing to catch back on, catching the group and getting back on and feeling so much better about things, and then falling off again and then chasing back on again. i got lapped by the leaders at one point, and later by entire field. i worked my ass off, lap after lap. i’m not sure i ever stopped spinning my legs. i’d make gains on backside, and lose ground on finish stretch with that damn headwind. i caught a girl and we worked together. i organized us and made sure i organized her onto the front for the headwind stretch. then i got lapped again but i got on that train and stayed there until i fell off that train. over the course of the 40 laps, i was in it and then not in it a whole bunch of times.
i could hear folks all over the place calling my name and cheering. sometimes i wouldn’t even know who was yelling, but i could hear it was for me and it was great. i could hear my husband shouting things like “get on that”. i heard coach yelling at me to roll through the turns. when i was on the train and in a group, i heard friends yelling “stay in it”! i always heard the kids with all that “go mom” and stuff. that’s the best.
it was a fast, exhilarating, shit hard race. and even though i didn’t do nearly as well as i had wanted or planned for – cause i had higher hopes for myself (even given the caliber of racers and racing. i still just thought i’d be ‘in it’ a little more and coach said i could have been had i just layed off those evil brakes). cause this morning on the trainer my legs and head had some good mojo going and all was well with the world that is me - i had a blast.
it was indeed worth catting up to line up at that start and experience that race.
evidently, next up on the schedule is getting out with coach on the tandem to feel what its like to go through turns fast. after i mulled that frightful vision over; i drove home with my girls, had a beer, baked a cake – cause its’ my youngest daughters’ 8th birthday – and took one of those drooling on the pillow naps.
hey. did i mention i raced in the masters’ national criterium today? that would be the famed twin spires right behind me in that shot.
photos: marcia seiler.