Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bubba #1 & #2

My pre-race jitters started early on this weekend. After my fall on Friday, I was moving slowly and really hadn’t convinced myself that I wanted to race Saturday night. When I was scrambling to find a babysitter when ours cancelled at the last minute, I almost convinced myself it was an omen that I shouldn’t go. Klucker knows my mental games though and reminded me that my bruises and soreness were all in vain if I didn’t race.
We got to the park way early…got to watch them run the tape around the course. It was chilly and my butterflies were doing wind sprints. I didn’t like the idea that I was racing with the “big girls.” The Bubba series only runs one women’s race and I hate being DFL! We got the bikes out and got registered. Other women were showing up—a lot I didn’t know. After a full season of road races, there aren’t many women racers I haven’t seen at one time or another.
They opened the course up and I went for a warm up lap. I’ve decided that this is one of the most important things I can do in a cross race. The course was tough—hills, off camber and a run up right after a barrier. I did a lap and was even more nervous. I didn’t want to fall on my hip again. I think I would have cried! Registration was slow, so our race was about 15 minutes delayed. We finally lined up—stuck behind the squirrely C men—and we were off. There was a crash early on (it was Klucker getting knocked over by a kid on a mountain bike in flannel). I avoided the carnage and kept going. The first time at the barrier was a log jam. I pushed my way through, ran up, ran down and ran up again. I remounted and was off. I was following Cory and Gina through most of the first lap. On the second lap, I decided they were in my way on the hills, so I split them down the middle and took off. Gina held on to me for a bit, but I finally shook her. Somewhere on that lap, I overtook Sam and kept going. For the next two laps or so, I played games with Big Shark Stephanie. I’d pass her on the up hills, she’d get me on the down hills. Finally, around lap four or five I was passing her on the uphill and she said “You just don’t go away, do you?” I calmly said, “I will now” and kept going. I stayed out of my saddle awhile to put distance between us. On the second to last lap, I could see Alice near me. I was going up the second half of the run up and I heard someone tell her that she could catch me. I managed a decent remount and took off. I lapped a few girls on the back half and finished strong. The results were crazy messed up. We ended up writing down the finishing order for the official so that it would be right. I ended up 5/15.
Sunday I was ready for “second verse, same as the first.” We were back out at Faust Park for the day race. It was packed when we got there. I saw a lot of higher cat women getting ready, I knew this race was going to be more challenging. It was awesome that I had three teammates there my very own cheering section with cowbells. The cross country race finished and I headed out on the course for my lap. The first change was that they had us going the opposite direction than the night before. The course was longer, more technical, and included pavement. The barrier/run combo had been removed and instead that was not an off camber climb, rutted out from the night before and still wet. Yikes!!!
The race started on the pavement. It was a huge C and women’s field. Just like the night before, the men crashed right away. (It wasn’t Sam this time, he was watching my cheering section!) I navigated around them and was off. I hadn’t gotten as good of jump on the start as I would have liked and quickly realized that I didn’t warm up as long as I should have. It took me at least two laps until I felt like my legs were open. I was positioned around the same women as the night before. I got past Gina by the second lap and was battling with Stephanie and Alice for three or four laps. Alice eventually passed me like I was sitting still. I played tag with Stephanie again for a few laps. We pushed each other enough that we made up a lot of ground on the girls in front of us. We finally came up on Jamie, one of my teammates, and I passed her on the back side of the course. I held both of them off until we came up on the off camber hill. They passed, one on either side of me. I kept them in my sites for the rest of the race, but could never get them. I felt like I had a good finishing place until I saw the results. 15th? WTH? Then I looked at the top girls. They had a girl I had passed early on winning. We gathered the women’s field and protested yet again. I think by the time it was through, I finished 13/20. I wasn’t as happy because I know there were at least three girls in front of me I could have beaten. I promise those thoughts will motivate my training this week.

PICX II--That's a Winner!

Sam and I loaded up the bikes and headed to Godfrey, IL on Saturday. This was the second race in a new Saturday series of cross races. We had decided Friday night that Sam would take the new cx bike and I would stay with our original. We got there and registered. The lady handling the registration was so excited that woman were racing. Sam got the bikes ready for us while the 5K cross country race was running. I had thought about entering it, and seeing how slow everyone was, I should have.
I rode around the park and on the trail while I was waiting for the race to end. They gave the announcement that the course was open and jumped on for a warm up lap. The course was mostly flat but had lots of turns. The grass varied in height so some areas were much slower than others. There were a ton of turns in this course. The promoters bill this as the Corn Maze race and it was definitely a maze. I reached the barrier and hopped off and jumped over. I thought it was odd there was only one. I remounted and came to a screeching halt…there was the other one. They were oddly far apart with a small turn in between. After the barriers, the course only had a few turns till the pavement/trail section. The next grass section was crazy. I thought I was lost several times and almost got turned around in the round-about. Coming to the straight away at the start/finish there was one off-camber spot. I made it through once and they called us to the start.
The beginner men and women were going to be on the course together. There were about 12 men and four women. I told myself it would be freakin’ embarrassing to finish third or fourth in the race. Of the three other women, two had raced in Hermann. Sara started us and I jumped off the line. I was not getting caught behind anyone this race. I locked easily into the new pedals (first time on the bike with the eggbeaters). I got out in front of the other girls and jumped in front of about half of the men’s field. I got the barriers and realized I forgot to click out. I stopped before crashing and got off none too gracefully, hopped over both before remounting this time and took off again. I kept neck and neck with Mark (one of the other girl’s husband). We traded positions a few times as we went through. We crossed the start/finish line and went around again.
During the second lap, I passed Sam with a quiet, “sorry, honey, gotta go.” He cheered me on. I was almost to the barriers when I heard the announcer say the leader of the women’s race, Kate, was going past him. I yelled, pretty forcefully, “What??? What am I then?” About thirty seconds later he corrected that. I was still staying tight with Mark on the back section of the course. We were going through a turn and I tried to take him on the outside. He went wide and I went into the tape. I yelled (not at him) a bit more, but stayed upright and got back on track. Mark turned around and apologized for his lack of bike handling. As we hit the start/finish area, I realized the third place male was in front of us. I urged Mark to go after him. (this was his first cross race). We both over took the third place guy.
The rest of the race was pretty uneventful. I accidently stayed in my big ring on one lap. That’s when Mark got a gap on me. I lapped the third and fourth place women at some point. I was half way through a warm down lap before the announcer had realized I won. I think he should have waited to start drinking. All-in-all it was a good race. It had a lot of turns, but none of them as tight as the last course. My heart rate being high didn’t freak me out as bad. When it was all said and done, I realized I probably should have raced the women’s 3/4 instead of the Beginner. Next week will be tough as both races are women’s open.