(Digging into the red zone at the IN State Championships race to try and hunt down 1st place... I came up short and finished 2nd on a really great muddy course)
II just think Stella may be getting her groove back! Slowly, but not as slow as I had expected really. I figured cross season would be lots of fun riding around in circles this year, but I didn't think I would stand a chance at any type of fitness to be honest.
But here I am!
Funny, how I went from that thought, to the thought of being upset for placing second instead of first. Amazing how the competitive juices get flowing once you get a taste of winning again. It's addictive!
So I may have mentioned it before here, but I'm a huge Seinfeld fan, and pretty much have wasted a small corner in my brain memorizing most of the episodes line for line. I'm sure this knowledge will help me someday... but for now I will just unleash one of my favorite lines from Elaine with the Stella comment. If you've seen the episode great, if not, you should go watch it. Every time I get a little out of whack or off balance I feel like my inner Stella has lost her groove. Stella is still missing a bit, but I'm definitely getting her back bit by bit!
I've pieced a lot of it back since June at break neck speed. However, I still found out that I lacked my starting hole shot groove that I once was so accustomed to. Last Sat I did my first double race weekend since the NDE. My coach and I were both curious how my body/ and myesthenia would handle this stress, so it was an important weekend for me. Saturday was the state championships in Bargersville. I was stoked to just be considering taking a win at this race. However, it was not to be. I had a terrible start and got caught behind some muddy traffic on the first lap. Not a good thing to do in muddy conditions. By the time I found a clear path, Sierra S. had laid down the law and was a good 40 seconds ahead of me. I fought my best to get back, buried myself really, got her lead down to about 6 seconds, until it was too late and I had to settle for a hard fought second place. Sierra rode a great, smart race and I was happy for her and she deserved to win.
(This would be how to NOT start a race. It even looks like I am somehow going backwards. All photos this post credit to
I was bummed at myself for not putting it all together and making the mistake at the start, but that's how it goes sometimes. Sometimes you make mistakes that cost you and when your competitor doesn't, they deserve the win that day. Overall though, I was happy with the rest of my race and I was pretty happy at the effort I was able to put in to narrow the gap. I hadn't put my mindset back in the mode to make myself suffer that much for a long time, maybe because fighting for my life required a enormous amount of suffering that I hadn't made the decision to do it freely again, but I pushed my envelope during this race and I was happy with that.
The next day we headed to Lebanon near NW Indy. This was at a fairgrounds and at first preview of the course I was a bit bummed at the easy profile they had laid out compared to the previous day. However, after the sun came out and muddied it up a bit, I was pretty stoked on it. I think the promoters did a great job on the layout to give it a good feel for the nationals like course in Madison, WI in a couple weeks.
I was still mad at myself from my race the day before and I had all the determination to improve my start. I did just that and took the lead on the first turn and never looked back. I felt pretty junky on the first lap, but after that I kept focusing on the master's men ahead of me and started picking those guys off one by one. The legs loosened up and I felt good after that. I got a little settle-in midway and kudos for Gerry S. and Liz C. for making me get back out of the saddle again since they fought hard to not hand me a free ride.
(Hole shot.... much better!)
I got back on the gas and savored the win on the last lap. It felt so good to take this win against some ladies I really respect. Plus, I was a bit giddy at doing so well in a race after such a power draining day previous. I didn't know what to expect with the 2 back to back races, but looks like Stella got this part of the groove back too!
It was a nice weekend of racing and it was good to be back on the road again doing the "race thing." I have to give another major thanks to Aaron Hawkins for helping me get to the races, pitting for me, and taking care of the bikes! I can't wait until the next race weekend rolls around.
Also check out the great freelance articles by Robert Annis on the weekend of racing:
(Pretty sure this is the raddest photo of me for the year so far. Barriers are my favorite single aspect of cx, so it's good to see my technique is spot on!)
(What cross race would be complete without a little heckling from Shamrock Cycles crew? Having a little chuckle to myself here. )
(Podium girls: Elizabeth Cobb, Me, and Gerry Schulze. Great job ladies!)
Thanks as always for reading everyone! It's been a wild year so far and the year will hold one more event until the calender turns to 2012. I can feel the chill in the air and the excitement growing in my heart for Cyclocross Nationals and Master's fracking World goodness Championships! Wow!
Merry Christmas to everyone!
Enjoy your loved ones, all you have been blessed with, and the REAL meaning of Christmas.
Jesus Christ, out Saviour.
I certainly know I will!
Because it can can change in The Blink of an Eye!