Saturday, September 20, 2008

NACT #1 Star Crossed - Redmond, WA


Uh....who's this guy??

Did YOU know that dude?

I cannot tell you how pyched I am to have placed third today!!!! While the number itself is nice it was really more important for me to put any of my fears to rest that I could "come back" from such a traumatic injury in July. Once never knows just how an injury like that will affect your head and mental game. I was hoping for the best but you don't know until you try.

It was also nice to know that I listened to my body well during that time and was training right. It is difficult to know when you are doing too much training and not allowing the body to proper recovery time but you do need to still train hard if possible. A fine balancing act.

Leading up to the race today was a complete cluster. It was a night race that was about 45 minutes away from my parents house. So, being that it's Seattle, you take that 45 minutes and double it to get your commute time - usually that is enough time but it wasn't today! I had to get through 3 accidents on the way up to pick up Amy D on Capital Hill in Northern Seattle. Once I successfully picked her up we immediately got lost trying to find the freeway thanks to mapquests directions. Don't' ask me WHY I keep using that stupid site!

Side note: Did you know that to be a pro athlete you also need to be geographically and directionally inclined on top of everything else? It is true I swear!

So now we need directions, we are late, we are lost and we would really prefer to get a warm up in before the race too. You know... since a warm up would be nice and all and.... you know..... is pretty important for a high intensity race like this. Geez.

So we try asking an old lady - no go
We ask a dude at a bus stop - no go
We stop at a gas station - closed
Run into a bakery - Bingo!

Got directions and are on our way except for that the second we got on the freeway there was a traffic jam because some &^%$# stalled his car.

Nothing like arriving in the rain 15 minutes AFTER you wanted to BE ON the bike eh?

Luckily Chris flew in the night before on a whim and was already at the venue to help and guide us in a complete rush. Without him, it would have been a sorry site. He pulled the bikes out of the car, assembled them, pumped tires, lubed the chain, found a tent to set up under, set up the trainer, picked up registration....all while I started dressing for the muddy wet rainy downpour that we were going to be warming up in and then racing in. That wasn't very easy either after not having done that since December 07. Crazy crazy times. Oh then don't forget you only have a few moments in between races to actually see the course and if you aren't there for that 15 min moment - oh well, no course seeing for you! But luckily I got on course and saw a few laps of it while trying to figure out tire pressure and all the rest.

I usually have a very set and rigid warm up routine and I can fairly say today that I do not know what I even did for a warm up.....the chaos, the nerves, the anxiety, the rushing around, the lateness, the "trying not to forget anything" for the first race of the season all got to me more than I have EVER had it get to me before. So before the race was flat out CRAZY - even when I was sitting on my trainer trying to warm up my mind was going a mile a minute.

My brother and family showed up for the race along with college buddies, good friends and people we haven't seen in 7 years. It was so fun having all their support on my very first race back. They yelled and screamed during the race and I could hear it all. It was fantastic!

The race course itself was fairly smooth flat grass overall. They had some logs you had to run over as well as one barrier section and plenty of off camber sections too. Everything was wet and muddy with rain puddles gathering across the course. Part of the course also sent you into the velodrome which was a nice relief for the ole legs!

The race started and my first thought was man I am slow! Not a great thought to have but that is what it was! I picked my way through the field after a pretty poor start and started to close the gap between myself and riders 1 and 2, Sue B. and Wendy S. I was getting pretty psyched at this point as I was sitting in third but I know all too well that anything can go wrong in these conditions. And that is when I decided to pull the dork move of the year and drop my chain. I don't know how I did that, but I did. The thing that sucked the most was that my left hand was still too weak to try and "ride through it" to throw the chain back onto the chain rings. I tried, tried again to shift but couldn't so I had to get off my bike and physically place the chain back on the ring. And, in doing so got passed by 5 or so people. Just like that!! I was bummed but kept my cool, jumped back on my bike and just picked my way back through to the top 3 over the course of the next few laps. Don't ask me how I did that - it was pure determination if I had to guess. I remember thinking "ah hell no" as I sat in 9th because I had to do well today for me and my head. I had to start the season right and know what I have been doing for the last few months was the right thing and I wanted it more than anything today! I had to prove it to myself and I did!!

It was such a great experience to get on the podium at my first cross race of the season in front of my family too. Everyone was so excited for me which was the coolest thing ever. Thanks again to all of you for coming out in the pouring rain to support me! It really meant a lot!

Trusty teammates Shannon and Kari S.

Here are some other random thoughts I had from during the race:

I better pass here or forget it!
man I am slow here.
what lap are we on?
what place am I in?
remember there is a hole there
I feel good
gosh its dark back here
I have vertigo
where does the course go?
oh crap a turn
I hope my brakes work in this corner
why can't I pedal?
should I dismount?
I want some water
god this hurts
hey - there is Chris!
don't take THAT line
get on the train
if they can do it I can do it
watch the rock
do not fall
I hear my family yelling!
attack NOW
I can't see a dang thing!
take it easy
where are the pits?
that was close!

We all got champagne to celebrate which made for one wet crowd after we exploded those all over them!!

Stay tuned for more races tomorrow.

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