Friday, December 21, 2012

Rounding it out...

What a great group of ladies to compete with and a honor to win the ICX Elite Series Overall Title
photo: planet adventure

So I'm a tad behind on my blog updates... I've had some stuff going on preventing me from keeping up to date... but more on that later and in another post. However, I have plenty of time now to catch up on the last few races I've done in the final drive of the regional and statewide series I've been taking part in to round out the season. Going in to the last few races of the both series I knew things pretty much would stay as they were in my overall standing (1st and 3rd) but I really wanted to give a good push to keep the race efforts high for nationals in January. Plus, the ICX series finale doubled as the Indiana State Championships so I was fired up to try as hard as I could to take a podium spot.

Leading the train into The Wall the first lap in Zionsville, I managed that first climb pretty well actually!
photo: Planet Adventure) 
The finale venue for the ICX doesn't really suite my strong points as a racer, but it actually turned out to  fair me pretty well the way the promoter had set it up this year, not to mention that the surrounding area is very horse rich and a nice backdrop to warm up to on a gloomy day. I had a bit of a poor start but quickly found myself at the front of the race and soon passed into the lead shortly into the first lap. I seemed to hold that position for half the race and I was doing a good job of handling the muddy, slick conditions really well. I took this as a small victory since I knew that these conditions would be very similar to the Nationals weather in Wisconsin soon enough. 

Always, always something to improve on in sports! My technique is good, it's just the engine behind it that needs work! This hill proved the death of my lead.
Photo: Kent Baumgardt)
I was powering along, until that darn hilly run-up got the best of me! I slowly lost enough time on it to allow the 2nd place rider to catch, then pass me, and she slowly gained more and more time in this area until it was beyond a point where I could re coupe the time I had lost. 

Although hard, very hard... it still remains fun because it's such a challenge! Love, love this stuff and great photo by Kent! He probably got as muddy as us racers getting these shots!)
I was able to hold on to 2nd place easily and in the end, I was disappointed to not be able to capture that elusive elite state cx title, but given how life plays out sometimes... my best isn't always the best. Major thanks to the Shamrock Cycles Crew for being my stand in "Handmade Builder Team" support this day as I was out of the Don Walker  area this particular day. Their cheers (or heckles) and pit help was much appreciated and proves only more that handmade in 'merica takes care of their own! So get to the show and meet some of these great people!

Oh yeah... I DID however, seal the deal on the Indiana Cyclocross Cup Series Overall Championship and I was stoked about this. The ICX cup, although smaller in  rider numbers than the neighboring OVCX, hosted a very competitive group of elite women this year and I was very happy to walk away winning this series for a second year in a row. Major kudos to Plant Adventure for holding great cyclocross events this season! I truly enjoyed the not-so-stuffy atmosphere this series still possesses and I'm thankful these races are around.

The week prior to that was the famous (in my books at least) Brookside OVCX race in Indy. I'm not really sure why I love Brookside so much... it's scarcely has any features that play into my strengths, but there is something about the setting and features that make it a great place to have a cx race in the winter. I was not feeling in the best of health (which is when I started to realize the harsh reality my season was doomed to be over before I had wanted it to be) before making the short 2.5 hr drive down, nor did I feel well at all during my warm-up. I was in a "I'm in so much pain I'm now going to go throw up" sort of way. As if cx isn't already hard enough to push down the thought of vomit and pain to the back of your mind... I now had this health issue to try and manage during the race too. Oh well, I didn't come all that way to not give it my best go of it! As I always say; "I shaved my legs, I paid my money." 

Am I wearing non-cycling branded socks? Oh my...   maybe that's why I felt a little strange at Brookside!
Photo: K Baumgardt

I put  my head to it and did the best I could, which I was surprised landed me in 10th overall and 3rd in Master's. Okay. That's pretty good, but I'm a competitor and I always hunger for more. Always. It was a super good field, but I hope to be super good again too.

I am doing my best to be thankful for what I CAN accomplish this year, and getting 10th in a super competitive field of rock stars isn't so bad for what I'm working with. I know I've said it before on the blog, but let me say it again, not as an excuse (because I don't roll that way) but just as a brake check to myself and many others out there: I don't race my bike for a living, nor do most gals or guys I race with every weekend. It's pretty silly to bank all your self worth and the safety of others on a bike race. People have other aspects of their lives and we simply can't control everything that goes on in it week in and week out. I know we are all competitive, I just always hope to see everyone having FUN and not getting to overboard on placings (me included). Heaven knows mi vida loca! 
With that though, I have to say, we have some really rocking fast gals in this region and I'm stoked for the depth of talent I get to race against in the area! New England, west coast.... midwest brings it to the house too! 

Hey look! Two ladies racing their bikes very fast that were once thought to not live through near death experiences...  keeping Alison Delgado at bay for the moment, but really proud of her "comeback" and not at all upset when she passed me. Persevere!
Photo: Kent B.

I for one, will be pretty excited to see how everyone fairs in the near future and places at nationals and world's! Master's AND Elite U23 (go Josh)! 

So with that, I only have one more race to report on; the next to last ovcx series race in Dayton, OH. It's always a empty time of year as the snow starts to fly, the temperatures here up north hover near the teens, and people turn their minds towards a wonderful holiday of Christmas. As I said, I have some time on my hands so I'll wait till later to post another blog update on that race. I seem to get a little of that wonderful anxious nervous excitement I feel at the start of a cross race by updating the blog... so I will try and drag it out a little longer to fill the void of actually not being able to race.

Making the podium at Brookside with some great ladies: Gerry and Kim. Good job ladies.
Photo: Bill Meek

Merry Christmas to all my cycling friends and family. As always, I look forward to spending time with my family for THE reason for the season! God has blessed me to be on this earth with them one more day and for that I am forever grateful! Everything else is a bonus!

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

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