My "rest" week of no crazy flights, driving or worrying about school was just exactly what I needed. I woke up Sunday morning feeling great and super excited to race..only to look outside to see Barrie engulfed in a cloud. Warm-up was chilly and there was a constant mist that kept everything cold and wet.
Off the start, Jean-ann McKirdy took the lead and pulled up the first km of wood chipped doubletrack. I was feeling really good and punched it a little and entered the first bit of single track just a head of Jean-ann. Cyclocrossed over the first wet rock and held an easy but constant lead through into the second set of singletrack....then all of a sudden I was ripped off my bike...what the?? My shoulder is really sore....oh no...I've totally ripped the shoulder out of my favorite jersey on a tree...oh well, no time to worry about it right now....back on the bike and in line with Jean-ann and Emily Batty.
For the first two laps the three of us ride together, taking our turns to pull through different sections and trying to put as much time on Amanda Sin as possible. Amanda is super good at coming from behind and closing gaps. Entering into the third lap I'm feeling pretty good and punch it for about 30 seconds and open up a gap from the other two girls. Jean-ann reacts and pulls through and now it's just the two of us.
By this time we've been caught by some really anxious juniors...many of which are starting to blow and we end up getting stuck behind in the singletrack....arg. The mist is still in the air, and while racing it keeps the temperature great, and the trail in perfect shape (no puddles but keeps the sandy course really tacky), but the roots are pretty slippery and some are pretty tough to navigate.
Going into the fourth and final lap Jean-ann pulls through for the feed zone and I hop on her wheel. Up the first hill I roll up beside her and hear that she's breathing pretty hard so I decide go. I pull in front of her and push the pace. I look over my shoulder and see that Jean-ann has grabbed my wheel and holding on, so I put my head down and keep trying to accelerate up the last crest into the first single track. I can feel my lungs and legs starting to burn, but I'm determined to make my attack stick so I keep pushing. Coming out of onto the double track I venture a peek over the shoulder and see that I'm starting to put some space between us. Slowly I'm able to pull away and with this course it's totally "out of sight, out of mind", but the time gaps are always very close. I end up riding the last lap by myself, but never feeling very comfortable because it's so easy to make one little mistake or slip up can make or break your race. My goal for the last 20 mins is just to ride a clean but solid race and keep trying to put power into the pedals.
I come around the last couple of corners, down the BMX course and through the finish...managing to ride a clean last lap and hold my lead of only 37 seconds over Jean-ann. Yippee.....my first time on the top at Hardwood, and third Canada Cup win...I'm definitely happy (need practise opening champange though). Emily and Amanda are not far behind in third and fourth.
I'm heading home for a couple of weeks, which I'm totally ecstatic about, to rebuild and get ready for nationals and the second half of the season...and spend some time with my neglected boyfriend, family and friends.