As for the blood - this is Chris's crank from the race. Yes, he is still alive and all too well!
As for the Sweat -
I wasn't prepared to need a stinking swimsuit to be dressed right for the Utah State Cyclocross Championships today. Who would have ever thought that we would have a sunny, warm, 65 degree, blue sky weather in mid November in Utah? It was everything that cross isn't but I don't mind a fast and furious course as this one was. It was a mountain bikers dream course with tons of singletrack that wound through tight trees over the the fallen leaves and sand.
Since it was the Utah State Championships, women came out of the woodwork to give the title a whirl which was great to see. And I was the defending State CX Champion from last year so I better have my game on. And there was only one way to to find out........
The race started super fast as it took us to the longest and widest straightaway in the course. Hammer Hammer Hammer - Huff and Puff - Huff and Puff. Yep, the race had definitely started said my shocked system. We whirled around into some sandy singletrack as I led the group through. Next up: a few more grassy u-turns and a plunge into an off camber right turn only to have a barrier to run over and back up onto another pebbly road that ran through the official start/finish area. At this point I had a bit of a gap but not by much and getting in to the next off camber singletrack section first would become super important. And I mean super important because at this point we were catching the Masters 35+ B Men which meant more people vying for one line. So I threw in an attack and barely squeezed myself into the off camber grass section first which was good because I knew I could haul on that section and grow the gap to the Women's field. From that point forward my only intention was to grow the gap, suffer, stay upright, not puke, practice a few things and see how close to the tip of the men's field I could get. Those guys are so fun to race with and are so talented and fast and they always make my job a challenge which is great!
After 45 minutes of putting a solid effort in I came across the line as the Utah State Cyclocross Champion! Yes! But the day wasn't over here. I still had one more race with the B Men's field in a half and hour. Why oh why does my coach do this to me I ask? Ha! Not really, I love racing and love pain so I gathered myself after our Women's race, got refueled, kept spinning despite all the offers to stop and chat about the race and life in general and got ready to start on the back row (per my coaches instructions) of the B Men's field. When I pulled up to the start I was shocked at the amount of guys that were racing in "our" class. Wow. It was impressively large group and I definitely had my work cut out for me yet again.
Off again but this time for 50 minutes. I actually wondered if I would suffer more or less on this race but I felt GOOD if not better than in the Women's race. I practiced everything that I was supposed to practice, passed on the inside, passed on the outside, attacked, sprinted and made my way up near the front of the Men's B group by the end of the race. Mission accomplished!!
I had fun duking it with dah boys and they let me have it to. They would see me trying to come around and they would start sprinting which is totally cool, they would hang on my wheel and I would hang on theirs and they would work with their teammates and sock it to me. That was awesome. Thanks for a great race guys! It was just what the (coach) ordered! This pic is weeks old - sorry bout that.
And now the Tears -
I was all smiles and happy after the race while I stretched and cooled down. But that all changed when I got a phone call from my brother in WA telling me that our 77 year old mother had been whisked away to the hospital in an ambulance. She had felt like she was having heart problems (something she has never had before) and called 911 on her own. Needless to say I went from excited about the race to crying in the palm of my hands in moments.
You realize that a race, whether wonderful or horrid, doesn't matter too much in the big scheme of things when you have some you love dearly in the hospital. It is a sick, awful and helpless feeling and you feel like nothing else in the world matters. It is hard to come to terms that if god wants her, he will take her and if not, we need to heed this warning very seriously and figure out what we need to do in order to not have this (whatever that is) happen again.
Here is a picture of she and I from last weekend when she was in Utah visiting us. All I can do is wait to hear now.