After a crazy week of working, packing, planning, cleaning, Dave and I left for Wisconsin. Unfortunately the earliest we could begin the 14 hour drive was Thursday night after he got off work. We made it to central Kentucky by midnight and crashed at our favorite cheap hotel find from last cross season.
On Friday we made good time to Chicago and visited Dave’s family for a bit. It was a great chance to stretch our legs and I even got in a short ride. His sister just graduated high school and it was especially nice to visit with so many friends and family members at her celebration. Our time at “home” was way too short but sweet and before we knew it it was back on the road to central Wisconsin.
I had preregistered for the Pro XCT and made arrangements to pick up my number first thing Saturday morning since it was impossible to make it by 5pm. even if we had driven straight through. We arrived at my friend Sue’s cabin just before midnight and slept blissfully for a few hours.
Bright and early I checked in and pre-rode the changed sections of the course. This was always one of my favorite venues on the WORS circuit and it keeps getting better. I loved the new tech sections!
Before I knew it it was time to race! Almost forty women showed up and I had a good call up in the second row:
And consequently my best Pro cross country start ever:
The first half of the race went really well; my legs surprisingly felt great after the travel and my technical skills were spot on. I was calm, riding with and ahead of ladies I usually only see at the start.
Here is a cool video (RDBoone100) of the women’s race that captures the vibe of the course:
I’m in eighth place at the opening climb. I managed to stay around 11th for nearly two laps and it felt awesome. I’ve had a number of decent results but here I really thought I had a chance to have a breakthrough. I was well on my way…
and then KA-POW! I exploded and had NOTHING. It was strange because I did everything right (except, you know, all the travel and stress) before the race and didn’t feel that I was ever riding outside my limit. Almost half the field passed me and I couldn’t respond. My technical skills were still there, just in slow motion. It was horrible. I’ve never had the habit of quitting races but looking back I wonder if I should have pulled the plug on this one. I guess I kept thinking that I’d get a second wind, but it certainly never came.
I had been hoping for a good show in front of my friends and family, as well as a confidence boost going into the World Cups; I was terribly disappointed after the race. Some days you just don’t have it and others you do and get a mechanical…bike racing is fickle. Fortunately I still have a lot of positive aspects to draw from this experience and it’s not the end of the world.
I had two more chances to redeem myself the following day. Short track was first, and unfortunately for me the call-ups were based on the XC results. I wasn’t too worried about the start position because I had a lot of practice starting at the back of UCI cross races last year, but I got boxed in and stuck behind bobbles and a few crashes all around the first lap. By then the lead group..and the chase group were gone. Though the course was surprisingly difficult to pass on I kept moving up steadily, but my bad start cost me. However, I was racing better than the day before…
The Super-D course changed quite a bit and it seemed to have more pedaling, less singletrack and technical sections..hmm. The women’s field was large, it actually filled to capacity, and I was happy that the Le Mans start came back! Abby and I were first to reach the bikes; she took off while I slipped to fifth into the singletrack after some shifting issues on the initial climb (my fault).
We were all together the entire race and it was fun and aggressive. Kelli took the lead in an instant and Kathy was on fire to follow on the only two decent passing sections. Abby got a bit of separation coming out of the last singletrack section and I was stuck behind Krista. She was smart and pinched me out of the first curve into the finishing straight but I took a chance and again went to the inside of the second curve, knowing that it was my only opportunity to pass. It worked and I got fourth by .2 seconds! It was a nice way to end the weekend.
I got to hang out with the legendary Jimmy Deaton, my family and a lot of great friends from racing. Though I no longer live in Wisconsin, it still feels like home and WORS is family to me. Dave and I got to ride at the Kettles–very significant trails to me on a number of levels–and reconnect with more friends in Madison before we hit the road for Canada.
Thanks to my sponsors, Don for putting on such a great series, Dave, our families, friends and everyone for reading this and supporting my efforts!