Saturday, October 23, 2010

USGPCX #3 - Louisville, KY

After a really good travel day I arrived in Louisville, KY. Lisa’s parents were there to pick me up the airport and in proper fashion took me directly to the country club for dinner. Now that is southern hospitality at it’s finest although I was bit concerned that my bike racing/airplane attire may not be the best fit in the ole club- a- roo. But it was fine as I strolled in there with my flip flops (flopping loudly as I walked) along with each step past some fine diners. Gheesh, can’t take me anywhere I tell you.

The next day we headed to the venue where Cyclocross Masters Worlds are going to take place in 2012 and Cyclocross Worlds in 2013. The last time I was in Louisville to race was a few years ago and this new park that they built was just a bit across the road from the the old race venue. It was nice to be somewhat familiar with the area.

The weather was gorgeous and hot and that was anticipated for the rest of the weekend as well. Sweet!! I love the mud too but I at mostly at home in the dust so I will happily take it.

The first pre-ride of the course left me thinking that it WAS HARD. Wow. There were so many challenges per lap that you couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t daunting hard though. It was going to be flat out and downright FUN. You were going to be on your toes the entire time, that is for sure. And actually on that note, I think you were going to be off your bike a fair amount too.

What made it difficult? First off, there was a steep man made birm right before the barriers, then not long after there was a steep uphill that you could barely push over while still riding, then a ridable sandpit if you picked the right line and powered through then you got a bit of a break as the course was just flat windy through trees in what I called the “mountain bike section”. Immediately following that was a long sand pit that you ended up running through, then the flyover (about 7 monster steps up then a ramp on the other side to get you down it), then a few turns before entering the final part of the course that had a steep sharp downhill section with a 180 at the bottom that lead to a run up, then back on your bike before flying down another steeper section before having to really power up the legs in order to make it up another steep hill that was again, barely ridable. Wow, that is a lot to take on and it was going to be fun!!!

The flyover

On race day I had a great start getting right up there near the front but my laps weren’t flawless and I found myself in the top 10 but SOOOOO far away from the front which was getting away quickly on the first and second laps. I had a moment while sitting alone in never never land in the Top 10 somewhere when my brain started to say “You can’t….(make it back up there)” and I stopped it mid sentience knowing where it was going and then said “Oh yes I can!!!!!!”. And at that moment I put on the jets and settled into good rhythm to close a 10 second gap that seemed like an eternity away. And I did!!!! I was up there now in the chase group of 2, with me now being the third in the group. We were in 3rd -5th position as the eventual winner of the race was off the front and the gal in 2nd was up there alone as well. I sat on the front of the group for several laps driving the pace hard as I knew the gal in 6th was working her way up to us! And as generous of person that I am I didn’t want that!! : )

Other girls in the group took their turn up front but we just couldn’t hold off Meredith who was slowly but surely reconnecting with the group with all her power. She tacked back on with one to go and then the fireworks really started as people were jockeying for position. And just as I knew might happen, most of them made their move right before the finish in the difficult run up area and the last steep uphill section. Rats, I was going to have to settle for 6th today. Could have made it a 3rd place had I played my cards correctly but live and learn and I am still learning about the different strengths of everyone this year….and even myself. It’s been interesting after taking a cyclocross season off last year but it’s all good and it will only get better. In can’t wait to see what the future holds in cross!!!

The Sandpit

The pain of trying to squeeze everything out of your legs that they have just to make it up the last steep hill.

The run up

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