So, if you've been reading my recent race reports, they've been pretty negative. Sorry about that. This one went a lot better, I felt like I was finally racing about as fast as I was last year. I just came off of a pretty massive rest week, so its a good thing that I felt rested, and while I still didn't feel blazing fast on my bike, thats because its a bike, and cyclists sit down to do their sport. What is with that?
I liked the course, it had a sick run-up, and some fun corners and technique-y things that meant you had to stay on your toes. Of course there were the mandatory flats of death, in this case a cornfield that was just sticky enough to sap your life force, but thats par for the course. The wind started to pick up during my race, but the earlier part of the day had been just gorgeous--warm in the sun, and brisk in the shade. Its about time!!
Things spread out relatively quickly, and I hopped on Linnea's wheel because I trust she isn't going to do anything stupid on the downhill, and half the lap went well. Then in the cornfield we were behind some chick who was getting gapped, and I knew it got windy around the corner, so I punched it to get around her, but I didn't quite make it up to those nice looking wheels ahead before I hit the wind, and it literally took my wind right out of my sails. I had hoped to stay with Linnea because she always gets faster throughout the race, but I was pretty well gapped by the time we even hit the run-up. After the barriers I looked back, and it appeared that the girls behind me were also pretty well gapped, so it was on to chasing down some fast starters to see if I could reel them in. By the end of that lap, I noticed that Erin Duggan was off the back of that pack, and knowing that she has perfected the backward slide, I started to dig to try and catch her. I don't want to sound cocky, but I was definitely reeling her in, and very much looking forward to taking a rest when I got on her wheel... clearly, I was thinking ahead too much.
At the short forced run-up, the first two laps I had just dismounted and pushed my bike up, letting the rear of it bounce. I was pretty much right on Erin's wheel coming into that on lap three, and I went with the same method, but this time lost my chain. And, being a race, my attempts to put in on where neither efficient nor effective, and it took some serious shaky-hand yanking to get it out from where it was stuck between derailleur and frame, or wherever the hell it had gone. Not so pro. It felt like it took me 10 minutes, in reality it was probably only about 30 seconds, but three girls had gone by (the ones who I thought were so far back I'd never see them again). I caught the first pretty quickly, overtook the FTS girl on the downhill, and ineffectually chased the West Hill girl for the next three laps. Painful. As much as I like run-ups, because I'm good at them, they still hurt, and each time over the barriers I could tell how not-recovered I was.
Anyway, I got close (10 seconds?) to the Putney girl in the last lap, because she was fading hardcore and I didn't slow down too much, but it just wasn't enough, so I finished in 11th. I kind of wanted a top 10, but mechanicals are part of bike racing. And now I know that I'm faster at doing things if I take a deep breath first, and then think about what it is I'm doing. Fun race, though, and a great venue, I'll definitely be at this one next year.
And now its ski season!!!!!!