Saturday, September 18, 2010

NACT #1 Starcrossed - Redmond, WA

Now that is what I am talking about!! Ridley has provided the team with some super sweet X Night Cyclocross bikes to ride around in circles on until we barf. Such awesome bikes. Feel pretty darn lucky.

I am not sure that the week leading up to the first big cross races of the year could have gotten any crazier. Seriously insane but yet totally fun and awesome week!!!!! Parts were coming in for our 3 bikes (I mean why get only 2, when you can have 3 right?!), getting things built up at the LAST POSSIBLE second. When I say, last possible second I mean not getting home till 11pm Thursday when you still need to pack in order to leave on your flight for the races THE NEXT MORNING!!

All final bike parts came in Thursday afternoon and I was to leave on a plane Friday morning for 10 days. Oh boy…… Can you say sweating bullets and freaking out a little? I think I burned every favor I had coming to me from the bike shops (if I had any at all) that day.

Yep, Revolution Mountain Sports and Binghams to the rescue on that one. Revolution built up 2 bikes in a few hours!!! BIG sigh of relief there.

Then I still needed to have the bikes fit to me and it was 6pm. Luckily Chris Tolsma HAPPEN to be closing Bingham’s Cyclery that night. HAPPEN to be.

Here is Chris T around 9pm at night doing the last minute fit to my bikes. In this pic he was sawing off the seat post. I just couldn’t stand there and watch because that stuff makes me nervous so I took a pic to keep my mind off the “Handsaw to carbon frame action.”

I won't even touch my bikes unless this guy has fit them. I trust his judgment like no other. He always says anyone can do it but do they use the same measuring tape, do they eyeball it the same, have they been working with me on my fits for 10 years now? I think not!! : ) As much as I would like to think his right, I just prefer to have him do the trick because simply put, Chris rocks!!!

So yes the week leading up to the first couple races in WA was insanity at its finest. But fun insanity!! Just can’t let all the stuff get to you I have learned. Just roll with the punches because pretty much guaranteed, that wasn’t going to be the last punch! And you just learn to expect the madness. After being in the bike biz racing now for 10 years there always has to be a crunch time so you prepare mentally for the email inbox to load up with huge changes from second to second (same with your voicemail) and you go with it. I mean come on its bike racing after all!

After a super late night up packing just “stuff” I was lucky that our team mechanic Tom Hopper was heading to our house from Boulder, CO to pick up the bikes. Not sure how I would have packed bikes too without having stayed up most of the night. In fact Tom wasn’t even planning on staying with us until a few hours earlier. Thank god he changed his plans.

I got on the plane the next day fully packed and ready for a full 10 days of meeting some new teammates, learning how my new Cyclocross team operates and of course racing too. In fact, 5 races in 9 days were upon all of us.
Not only was I flying to the first 2 races of the year, I was flying to my hometown back to my family. Gotta LOVE that action!! My brother lives across the street from the first race on Saturday and just down the road from him sits my mother in law and her sister who were a 4 minute bike ride for the course on Sunday. Really? That is just way too convenient, plus its home!!

As for who was going to be at this big first race of the season: Jon Baker and I were bunking at Chateaux Sherwin, Sue B drove up from Portland and Tom H (mechanic) and Jake Wells were staying just down the road. 4 racers plus Tom.

I got settled on Friday after my flight and went for a ride on my trusty steed that collects dust at Chateaux Sherwin (our race bikes were still enroute to WA at this point). The ride was awesome, the legs felt dare I say phenomenal and I just knew. Just knew that I had what it took place well in tomorrow’s race. That is rare feeling for me these last couple years so to have that back was awesome.

Too bad I couldn’t work it out at the actual race the next day. What a freaking tool bag I was. I started on the last row which I expected after not having any points from last year due to not being able to race in 2008 …..and off I went. Life was good, I was feeling the love in the legs, mind, heart and soul BUT…

…I had THE WRONG tire set up for mud conditions. In a haste among many last minute changes I brought up my old Reynolds Clincher wheels that had my training tires FROM THE LAST 2 YEARS ON THEM. OMG what was I thinking?!!! I wasn’t. I was basically riding slicks because the tread was so gone on them. I should have brought up a fresh pair of tires but I wasn’t thinking clearly when I left. All I was thinking at the time was "" Working wheels – check. Tires that hold air – check." Full on rookie move and boy did I pay the price during the race.

While this was going on the team was frantically getting our new Reynolds Tubulars shipped and glued up for the next big race to take place in Vegas on Wednesday. I was going to be happy to see those!!!

During the race this opened up the door to slip slide, fall, bang in to things, take myself out, take others out (so sorry!!). It was a total as we say in the biz “S*** show”. I couldn’t stay upright in the mud to save my life and was losing confidence about my skills with every lap. I had worked my way up into the Top 10 right off the bat in the race but as the race wore on I might as well had just stood on the side of the course waving those that made a good tire choice ride on by. Toolbag. But as the race continued I fought and fought to stay upright in the pouring rain and ended up 12th.

Blah, not what I was looking for. Oh and I was left with a lovely souvenir of a knee that was popped open like a tomato when I hit a metal pole. One more layer down and it would have needed stitches. That left me not able to walk the rest of the night. Lovely, good thing I didn’t have to race the next day, oh wait, yeah I did.

Sue B. took 3rd and Jake and Jon B took 9th and 20th in their Elite Men's race!!!

Here is a post race interview


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