Alright alright. I know this is going to sound cliché or something but I have to say that today was a "dream come true." I had my first ever Cross Country podium at a National race and to do it on my home turf at a home town race was pretty darn cool. It was an amazing feeling to come across the line with friends, family, former
I have worked hard for this day for sure. Lots of sacrifice, lots of suffering, lots of commitment, lots of ups and lots of downs. I still can’t believe it. This picture says it all as I crossed the line in 5th. A podium shot here too. And another shot of me just hanging after the race:
It was a bit of a strange day that didn’t go precisely as one may have wanted. It started out with me forgetting my heart rate monitor strap which wasn’t a huge deal. Once I discovered this while making the drive from
Ok so back to this heart rate monitor strap thing……I forgot it. Bummer. It would have been nice to have it while warming up is all. I DO NOT use it during the race for any purpose other than for time so I know when to take my gels. But once I realized I didn’t have the strap I also realized that I am from these parts and pretty much know every bike racer in the area!! So one lucky friend, Ron Prue, got the call…… “Dude, are you in the area and do you have an HR strap with you?” The answer..... “yes and yes” Ok, my day was already looking up. I only ended up having to do ½ of my hour warm up using “the force” and occasionally sticking my hand on my carotid to make sure that the force was actually with me. No biggie, Ron saved the day and maybe even gave me a good luck charm too I am thinking.
When the race started I was off like a shot thinking that we were going to be dumping single file into the singletrack that wasn’t too far up the dirt road we were climbing. You know the drill…..first ones in = first ones out so I boogied up and was all set to be around 3rd into the singletrack and I then noticed girls #1 and #2 heading straight up the steep dirt road and not turning. At first I thought, oh maybe the singletrack is further up than I thought and I will continue to kill it to get in first. Halfway up the dirt road I realize that we are heading straight up it, no singletrack involved. Oh boy…..I was already pinning it………..guess I should have listened to those pre-race instructions at the line that apparently were given to us over the microphone regarding sending us straight up the road on the first lap—whoops e daisy. Ah heck who I am kidding? I don’t want to listen to someone giving me instructions at the line! :)
I down shifted at that point and kept er steady as we climbed. Over the next 6 minutes of climbing to the top of Little Stick I got passed by about 6 or 7 women but the weird thing was that I didn’t panic AT ALL. I must have known deep down that it was going to be a solid day for me.
By the bottom of the first descent I had passed one gal and gotten stuck on the back of a train of 3 more. I knew there was no passing on the DH for the most part so I took the opportunity to sit on a fuel up because a small climb was in our future. There was some minor shifting of places going on within the group of 4 of us until we hit the paved road headed towards the next climb. That is where I made the move and passed 3 more women, busted a move climbing like a mountain goat through all the switchbacks and let-er-fly on the DH towards Mitt Romney’s house. I know those corners and turns SO well and would have been interested in an odometer reading on that one for sure! My only goal at this point = lose the girls I just passed and give them no hope of catching me. Racers are so mean deep down aren’t they? :)
As I made my way back towards the start/finish area to start lap 2 (of 3) I was fast approaching another gal. I couldn’t believe it- she was holding that last spot on the podium I was pretty sure!!!!! It was just a matter of time before I passed her so I kept on it past the feed zone and back up the Little Stick climb trying to decrease the gap. At the top of the Little Stick climb it pitches up nice and good and that is when I decided to throw in attack-right where suffering was at the finest for all parties involved. And when I did I got no response from her which I was psyched about!! At this point I was happy to have just moved into 5th but not overly so because things aren’t over until they are over. I still had almost 2 laps to go and was going to need to fly in order to keep this podium spot. I told myself to grow the gap, grow the gap, grow the gap. I became like a mad sheepdog with only one mission to grow the gap. During this process I got a bee sting right in between the eyes too!! That little guy got caught right under my Zeal Optics sunglasses on the bridge of my nose and decided to zap me. The sting actually felt good when compared to the pain in my legs and during that brief moment in time I felt relief from the pain in my legs. It was something else to concentrate on until the bee sting pain disinigrated and the leg pain took over again. It was good while it lasted though!
As I made my way “over the river and through the woods” (at that point I was wishing it was “to Grandmas house we go”) I would have to say that around almost every turn there seemed to be someone yelling for me. I swear the bushes were talking because people seemed to be stuffed everywhere. THAT was motivating for sure!!!
As I came in towards the finish line I took the instructions of a friend/spectator and kept it smooth, took it down a notch and took it in for the podium spot. When I came across the line I swear I have never felt such relief and excitement in my life. Everyone was cheering at the line and the announcer was going crazy knowing I am from the area. You would have thought that I won or something!!! But in my mind I did. I always knew I could do this; it was just a matter of having it all come together. And what a better place to do it – home town in front of everybody! Incredible. I will remember this day for the rest of my life!!!! Thanks for letting me share it!