So…I was terribly wrong in my last post when I wrote that the next update would come quickly. I thought for sure that my illness would be brief but that wasn’t exactly the case. More than a year later, I am finally healthy and ready to write again. Let me take you back…way back….
The quick and dirty summary of my year begins with the Blythewood Omnium a week following my last race report of the 2012 Mellow Johnny’s Classic. I won the time trial, criterium (my first ever) and circuit race:
I felt confident going into the SERC opener at Tsali and took the hole shot:
never looking back…
It was my first Pro win and first time leading a race start to finish. I was stung by a bee on the pre-ride; the swelling rapidly spread to my knee:
There was no time for bee stings and luckily I recovered in time for the Presbyterian Invitational, the most prestigious criterium in the country, and my second crit ever. It was the first time I signed in for a race on a huge board and I enjoyed how important that felt.
I was told to position myself at least halfway in the field from the start. I did so but never expected all of the riders behind me to drop off within the first few laps! Suddenly I was in the worst place to be: yo-yoing at the back. I made it through most of the race but blew myself up and got pulled before the finish. I was terribly disappointed but had a decent race the next morning.
A week later I had a chance to redeem myself at another national criterium: Sunny King. I was working for my teammate and was in the mix the entire time:
Five laps to go I thought I was going to die, but I remembered my disappointment from Presby and that allowed me to dig deeper. I definitely did not want to let my teammate down…she won the field sprint and I finished a few places behind her.
I was very, very sick the rest of the evening and might have scarred some families during the men’s race…let’s just say, bad idea:
Even so I raced a hilly road race the next morning and rode surprisingly well; I found myself in a paceline with some legendary riders. I was nervous about making a mistake but everything was fine; before long it felt as though I had always been there. I knew most of my matches were burned before I started the race but I gave everything I had for my teammate until I had to stop.
A few days later it was off to Arizona for the Whiskey Off-Road. I was absolutely thrilled to see my first Saguaro cactus:
This event was one of the best I have been to! The festival atmosphere was full of excitement; it kicked off with a fat tire criterium downtown.
The tires I had planned to race the crit on were no match for a short desert spin but luckily I found some MTB slicks in a dumpster. No joke:
I was excited to put my newfound crit skills to use but the course was more selective than tactics or drafting. It was painful!
I swapped my tires back to my xc race setup and enjoyed the views, suffered my way through the infamous 13 mi. climb and cramped on Cramp Hill in the 50 mile race. I didn’t have a great result but I loved the course and the challenge.
Through this early season my focus was always on the World Cups and Nationals. I had planned to race Mont Sainte Anne and Windham once again for mountain bike and Namur and Heusden-Zolder for cyclocross. All of the hard work was paying off and I was racing better than ever…
Three days after I returned home from Arizona I got a fever that didn’t go away for a few weeks. I woke up every night soaking wet and shivering, couldn’t eat, ride, do much of anything.
I didn’t have insurance and had a ton of tests done that turned up nothing. They thought it was encephalitis, mono, dengue fever…countless other diseases. A month of this and it got to the point where I couldn’t walk without support and I knew something was terribly wrong. I was treated for Lyme Disease though it was never diagnosed. The treatment helped, but it was miserable to take. I was really grateful that Dave took care of me.
I watched all of the World Cups live online and substituted race weekends for weddings, tubing, hikes, swimming holes, things that I wouldn’t have had time to do if I was racing. Those moments were a silver lining but I was still in a tremendous amount of pain. Still I never doubted that I’d be back by the fall for cyclocross…