The next day was about mirror image day weather wise as you could get. The course was almost the same except for a few minor corner changes, one very mountain bikey section that we were now riding up on (instead of down)and the run up was still there except that the entrance to it was a 180 degree turn after doing a steep downhill section.
The run up
I warmed up a little and decided it was a bit too early to warm up so I took a seat in our team tent. It was warm out, the weather was gorgeous and I seemed to be as calm as a cucumber. Almost sleepy calm and almost alarmingly lax about the “big” race that was coming up in an hour or so. What the heck was going on with me!? I sat there in there chair when Mike from my Kansas City cheer squad walked up. I asked where the rest of the crew was and he said they were over on the playground. And I remember looking at him and saying “This is my playground!!!” as I pointed to the course I was about to do god knows how many painful laps in on for 40 minutes straight. It’s so nice to know that I feel that way about what I do! Sometimes it takes random comments such as that to see just how you really feel about something.
When looking back on this comment I made I am psyched that I see what I am doing as fun!!! To have the passion back for everything from training, racing, riding to traveling and getting excited for all of these things to on a daily basis is such a blessing to me. I am so glad that my mind and body are letting me live this way and I can honor that. I am so grateful for all those feelings and often wonder where they were dug up from because I will tell you what, I haven’t had these kinds of feeling for this sport or riding or any of it to this degree EVER. I am not sure if they had been buried deep inside for the last 4 years as I mourned my father who had a massive stroke but was still alive and well and walking and needing but not able to talk, read, wright or even communicate. Was I in mourning that whole time and now that dad has found the light, I did to?
Mom was also struggling a lot through most of my Pro career. She had Rheumatoid Arthritis and things just got uglier and uglier as the diseases progressed causing her pain and misery. Was I only racing with half of myself during this period of time? I love to worry and these would have been great reasons to have something to worry about in my book.
I am not sure why now these feelings of absolute LOVE and PASSION for the bike and everything related to that have fallen on me but I am so open to it you don’t even know. I am going with it and I have a team that is totally taking care of me in every way so I don’t have to worry about that either. Don’t have to pack bikes, don’t have to worry about what I will need to do if I get a mechanical before during or after the race. There is truly something to be said for knowing you are taken care of. Just knowing that alone allows the mind to be at ease and to think of other things and not worry about the normal everyday stress that racing can unfortunately bring sometimes. Thanks to Hudz-Vista Subaru for opening your doors to me!! But I think they may have created a monster since I am having a complete love affair with the bike now.
And back to the race……ah yes, a back row start again, I feel just you know…so at home there.
The gun went off and I was on a mission immediately. Made a bunch of passes and got near the Top 10 pretty fast. I was also in the perfect position to take advantage of a few traffic jams/crashes and could just go around. That was all that needed to happen – just get a tiny gap. A tiny gap can seem like a year in a cross race. Not only did I get a tiny gap, I then kept growing it and was making my way forward. I found myself with about 3-4 laps to go and had some company with me. One of them had pulled themselves back up to me and the other gal had to chase back on from quite a long distance and I knew she could be tired just from that effort alone. I continued to drive e the pace at the front taking the lines that I wanted to take. My thought was “Hey, if you can pull yourself back up and still hang on for dear life then more power to you” but I wanted to take my lines instead of sitting on and taking their lines. There is a problem with that of course which is that I am doing a lot of work and not getting much rest while on the front. Oh well – I could have played the game but just didn’t want to for some reason…..ok that is the mountain biker in me I admit. I need to get over that. We got to the last lap and not much had changed. I was on the front and was trying to anticipate where the 2 gals that had been sitting on this entire time were going to attack me because of course that is what is going to happen! Duh!! : )
They both attacked on the run up and passed me but when they went to remount onto their bikes they got slightly tangled, not falling to the ground but causing a pause/delay to both of their remounts. The tension was high as the finish line was just around the corner now and we were all in 4th-6th place at the time. It is pretty big to get a Top 5!! When they fumbled, I still had enough in me to get around the slight mess and take it in for 4th place!!!!!!!!!
You could say I was ecstatic! A 4th at a USGPCX this early in the season is more than I could have ever expected from myself. But guess what now….I now have some pretty high expectations of myself. That 4th place combined with my 8th the day before puts me in 6th overall in the USGPCX series. I really didn’t think the weekend was going to work out like this but it sure did and I am so happy about it! LOVING what you do certainly has its bennies.
Coming around the final turn in 4th!!!!!
My cheer squad from Kansas City!
Interview after the crazy race conclusion:
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