Sunday, April 26, 2009

US Cup West #5 - Los Olivios, CA

Today I woke up on THE WRONG side of the bed. I was crabby Kathy and wasn't nearly as perky as I was the day before when I pre - rode the course. Oh yeah, the course the day before....way better than last year. Last year I didn't race it but I did pre-ride it with my cast on for my broken thumb. I determined that it was too cracked and bumpy making it extremely uncomfortable for my broken body parts so I didn't race here in 08. Had this course been in this same condition last year, I would have likely raced. This was the course last year as some of you may recall.

And this year it was SUPER nice dusty singletrack minus 2 portions (minus the winery section in the beginning and minus the furthest end of course that took you close to the paved road).

The venue in the distance

Things were greener than I remember

And really really fun!

So lucky for me I guess that the course was fun because I was crabby and wasn't myself at all, unless you all think I am crabby that is! : ) I had a good solid warm up and all but just wasn't feeling like myself emotionally I guess you could say. I was like a robot that came to do her job and then leave. It wasn't that I did or didn't want to be there, it was just odd. I was on autopilot in a sense, doing what I have been training myself to do for years. There but not there.

So race time came and I got a solid start.......pulling into the wind. I really didn't want to do that so much but at the same time I wanted to hurt and I wanted hammer. Not the best tactics in the world (putting your nose to the wind) but I had to do what I had to do and do what felt good.

Amanda, my teammate pulled for a bit right of the bat bless her heart but before the first climb I headed around her and stomped my way to the top of the climb in first place. Not willing to slow down or let up I pounded my way through the course. A bee was definitely in my bonnet today! I had a lot of frustrations to get out and what a better way than to hammer yourself into the ground. On one of the climbs that we had to do 3 times total (3 laps) I kept telling myself the next time I would go into my granny gear on it but when I got to it each time I just continued to plow up it in the middle felt good to be in pain today. Don't know what I was trying to get out of my system but apparently I needed this race today in every way! It is weird how things work sometimes.

Being dealt another bad set of cards in my life with Chris breaking his leg, needing surgery and having to call off our vacation of sorts, was not what anyone needed and it drained the living hell out of me all week but it worked out on race day. Who woulda thunk that tears, trials and tribulations would lead to triumph on this day?

Still leading the race and never feeling like I had the race in the bag (you never do until you cross that finish line) I kept hammering away happy with the pain I was putting on myself. God that felt good! At one point I sat up to feed and was attacked. Not ready to relinquish my lead I closed the small gap, sat on a few seconds and attacked on a hill when appropriate. It stuck.

Going into the the third lap I was still feeling just fine, simply enjoying every bit of pain I was putting myself in (ok, psycho!) and was continuing to go the clip I had been going when Amanda made her way up to me and then around me with only 10 or so minutes to go. I was psyched that it was my own teammate giving me a run for my money... I mean hey if anyone is going to it better be a teammate!! She went thundering past me and I did EVERYTHING I could to hang on because heck I had been leading for most of the entire race and now I wasn't! But when you are already on the rivet and you have been on the rivet the entire time and you have already burned every single match that you have, I had nothing left. I was still going strong but there was nothing else to give on top of that. And with that, the race was hers. I came in second after a hard fight. But I never gave up the entire race down to the finish line because you never know what can happen.

Once I crossed the finish line I burst into tears. Jim Wannamaker was there to congratulate me but was met with my flowing tears. I don't even know where it came from! He asked me what was wrong and I remember mustering up a "My LIFE!!!". Wow, I have never done that and didn't really know how I was truly feeling until that moment. I also remember telling him that I miss my parents. They aren't gone, but they are sick and they aren't the young and vivacious parents I remember. But my guess is that I stayed strong and did my job until I could finally let it all go the second I could. And boy did I ever. But I did feel bad for taking any of the attention away from the race winner and everyone else because that is the last thing I wanted to do.

I am proud of myself for what I was able to accomplish today and I was happy for what my body let me accomplish. I need to be happy with all that and I am. And hey, coming in 2nd by a smidge only makes you hungry for more and makes you work harder for that beautiful first place finish. Because if you work hard and you have the hunger, it will come.

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