After a relatively easy day of travel (without bikes thanks to Tom Hopper driving all over the country for us!!) we arrived in Vegas. As expected it was hot and dry out, everything that I love being from Utah. Host housing was great and I got settled in right away. And so did another one of our teammates…..outside sleeping!!!!!! Too funny.
The next day I met more new teammates and we just hung out and waited and waited and waited and did I mention waited for the race to start? The race was taking place at 8pm at night under the lights just a bit outside Vegas proper and it was going to be an eventful evening with team photos beforehand, a warmup in between races somehow and then racing with Cyclocross’s finest athletes at an event that pretty much no one likes to miss out on. And no one really ever does because this race takes place during Interbike, one of the biggest retailer functions known in the US. It brings athletes from all over the world as well as ANYONE that makes ANYTHING for bikes or related to bikes. It is HUGE.
The race was sure to NOT disappoint with the mayhem either of a huge crowd that comes out to watch the race, drink beer and have a good time. The course was the same as I remembered it from a few years ago…pin it on a grassy straightaway and then turn left, pin it again on a grassy straightaway turn right, pin it on a grassy straightaway, well you get the idea. There was actually a difference from a few years ago with one barrier section and 2 stair step sections that weren’t very long. It was a well set up course and it was nice and warm out!
After team photos, to start things off properly on my first pre-ride on the course, I rolled a tubular off the front wheel on a straightway. It sent me into the tape, breaking a post and thankfully nothing more than that!!! I didn’t see that one coming. It also decorated my already messed up knee with some nice tire burns. Not sure how I just didn’t flat out eat grass. But that did throw a wrench into things as I was in the middle of warming up and now had to not freak out (wasting precious energy) and get back to the team tent ASAP without blowing a gasket (it was hard not to try and get there as soon as humanly possible). So 20min before race start I calmly walked back to the tent and got a new wheel from our team mechanic. Whew!
At the start line in proper fashion out of the 42 or so Elite Women I got to be on the last line this time or at least it was darn close! But despite a poor starting position I was able to get into the top 10 within the first few corners. Thank Heavens!
I was having the time of my life racing out there. The course wasn’t feeling like velco or overgrown grass as it has in the past to me and I was happy about that. At one point I even thought they may have cut the grass super short for us. Yep, was feeling the love out there.
Things broke up into a group of 4 up front then a group of 3 then the next group of 4 that I was in. We were charging hard trying not to let the gap grow ahead of us. It was a blast and I was having so much fun!!! Hard in our charge we shed two members of our group. While sitting in 9th and 10th position with 1.5 laps to go I had just gotten a gap on the other gal and I was making headway and loving life. Then all of the sudden BAM, my rear tubular comes off on a straightaway. I kept riding down the straight and rounded the corner unsure of what was happening and chanting to myself “No No No No, Not now!!!!!” because I knew something was way wrong.
This really couldn’t be happening???!! But it was.
I rolled the tubbie back on hoping to limp it along to the pits to get a bike or wheel change. That worked for a while until the course got ever so slightly bumpy and it bounced off again. Then I was left to run but I had a choice now that I had gone from 9th and was slowly slipping backwards as girls passed one by one. My choice was to either sprint to the pits or keep it mellow and trot. I chose trotting because I had a full weekend ahead of racing in WI in a few days that was sure to be tough!! I needed to not expend any extra energy when possible today. You sometimes have to pick your battles and weigh out the costs and bennies of doing so.
I finally got to the pits and was able to get a wheel change with Mavic. That seemed to take some time, quite possibly a few minutes but I was just happy to get back on my bike to finish up the race the best I could. I think when you are standing there in the middle of the race waiting for your bike to be ready, watching girls fly by that even a second seems like an eternity. By the time I got rolling I had slipped back to around 30th and was still left with 1.5 laps to go.
Great, getting some sweet UCI points for coming in 9th was out of the question but I still had the motivation and desire to finish as strong as possible and started to make my way back through the pack doing everything I could to get as close as possible to where I was. And it was interesting because in that moment of furry trying to make my way back up front knowing that realistically this wasn’t going to happen I heard a Lady Gaga song playing over the loud speaker “Just Dance, it’ll be ok!” And I thought, yeah you know, everything is going to be ok. This is ok I will just have to make it right in Madison. Never knew the church of Lady Gaga could be so enlightening! : )
By the time I crossed the line I had made it back up to 22nd. MEH! Lame especially considering how well the race was going prior to the tubbie rolling. Oh well. And, not a minute later I was throwing up from the effort. And that felt good! What the heck is wrong with me!!!!!?? I have never had a more reliving throw up in my life. Totally bizarre.
But I will be honest that it did tear me up inside to not get that Top 10 result on paper. That really sucked because I really needed to do that for myself. I knew that I had what it takes and would eventually get a solid result this season but to have that on paper to prove you can and did is something totally different. Dang it!!!!!!!
We then got packed up and headed back to host housing only to get stuck in Vegas traffic at 1am. Only in Vegas!! Just wish I didn’t have that 8 am flight out to Madison the next day. OUCH.
Some of the Hudz-Vista Subaru team stuffed in a car on the way to the race with pedals going into our ears. (R to L: moi, Sue, Nicole, Lisa)
Here is a clip of the Cross Vegas race. For those that don't know what barriers are but hear me talking about them, check them out at around the 1:20 mark.