My first USGP cyclocross done and in the books, and what a really cool experience. After a quick pre-ride of the course on Friday in the blazing hot blue bird sky, there was no way that I was believing the snow warnings for the next day! A fast, and very rough course on a sloping farm field, it's a different course then I've ever ridden before. With 3 relatively long steady climbs, lots of tight corners and fast rough descending, it was guaranteed to be a very hard race.
Saturday morning we woke to sound of none other then rain! Just above freezing and rain!! REALLY??? Turning on the news showed the all of surrounding towns with 2, 3, 8 inches of snow!!! Wow, even though it was forecasted, I really wasn't expecting that!! When Peter Wellsman came back freezing and barely able to move, I was a little less then stoked to go outside. After begging to borrow a trainer to warm up under the back door of the van I was warm, dry and read to go play in the mud. As I was standing at the start line I was thinking, cross is all the things you don't necessarily like about mountain biking....riding in a grass field, in the mud, in the rain, in the snow, running with your bike and carrying your bike.....but in cyclocross, it's so much fun!
Second row call up I lined up behind Nicole Duke, which ended up being a great decision because she took off at the gun getting the hole shot prime, giving me room to move up into the top 6. With the clayey mud and the tight turns, it was definitely a mountain bikers advantage course. My Challenge Grifos worked awesome in the mud on my new CrossRock AX, and my super comfy Sidi Spiders were killer with the long Sidi toe spikes in the gnarly mud. Katerina and Katie (aptly names the Clash of the Titans) put an early gap on the field, with Georgia and myself chasing and creating a little gap to the rest of the chase. I managed to stay within contact of her for about a lap and a half, but she was slowly powering away from my.
There was a lot of tri-poding, slipping and sliding going on, but I managed to have a clean run and stay up on my bike.....and even grabbed my first dollar bill hand out!!! Haha, I'm proud of that one :) My fingers were so frozen that I could get the bill stashed properly, so it ended up flapping in my face for the last lap as I finally managed to stuff it down the neck of my thermal undershirt. After slopping across the finish line in my first 4th place in a USGP, I promptly washed my bike and went straight into the shower fully clothed. That poor shower!
Yup, I slept good that night. And woke to the beautiful sight of blue sky again! The course went from sloppy mud to hard packed and fast over night. Second row call up again, I found myself behind Caroline Mani and Georgia Gould. Great decision again, as Caroline got Saturdays holeshot, letting me move up into the top 6 again......love starts! Again Katerina and Katie didn't want to have anything to do with the rest of us and took off! I found myself battling with Nicole Duke for the first 3 laps, Meredith Miller caught, passed and put some good time into us. Part way through the third lap Caroline Mani and Sue Butler caught up as well. For the next lap and a half I was hanging off the back of this group by a thread. I'd close on the corners and the barriers, and get dropped on the accelerations and straightaways. I thought I was going to crack! And I could definitely feel the little bit of altitude today with my ragged breathing.
Caroline put a gap on the chase, and I had a pop of energy to pull away from Nicole and Sue. For the last 2 laps, Caroline was just out of my reach and I was just out of Sue's, and we were all gaining fast on Meredith and the last podium position. But alas...haha, I rolled in 13 seconds off the podium in 5th place. I'm really happy and still a little surprised with how strong I'm feeling right now...maybe this Xterra training really is good for me :)
I was finished racing by 3:30, was cleaned up and bike was packed within 20 mins (thank the skies it was dry on Sunday) and we were on the road by 4 to catch our 7pm flight out of Denver.....I think that was a record turn around. Thanksgiving Monday was the 3rd Cross on the Rocks race and I had all intentions of racing, double header, sheesh, what about a triple header.....but getting up Monday morning I made the decision to just be a super fan. It's really nice sometimes just getting to run around and cheer your ass off all day! Record turn out for this island race at 191 people!!! That's something like 50 more then the previous record the previous weekend. Awesome, awesome, awesome event......definitely would be a better venue for Canadian Nationals then whats planned right now.
Thanks to all my sponsors, and a huge thank you to Regan for getting up at 4 am to glue my tubulars for me!!!!I have the best mechanic/boyfriend every!