Saturday proved to be a difficult day for our "team". The race was held in Brighton in an semi developed vacant lot with a big mound of dirt. The previous days snow fall left the ground a peanut buttery mess--classic eastern plains clay that is somehow both greasy and sticky. More on that in a bit. Sunday Carl had to work so Kristal headed to Colorado Springs by herself for a race put on by USA Cycling rather than our local governing body, ACA. The course was designed by none other then Katie Compton, 7 time US National Champion and the BEST CX racer from North America. It had to be a good one! Plus there was a lot of money for the women's field.
We arrived early as usual to get Nick ready for his 8:15 start. He headed out on his warm up lap, on his own by his own insistence. Eventually we started to get worried so went to look for him. We could see him on the course and see that he was struggling. When he finally made it back we could tell that he wasn't psyched to race and told him "it's okay if you don't want to race". His answer was, "I really don't like the course, I don't want to race". Turned out to be a good decision.
I did one warm up lap, which was plenty to clog up my bike and wear out my legs. I hadn't ridden at all last week because of work obligations and this was no way to ease in! Even the Rhinos weren't able to clear the clay sticking to the tread, and within a quarter lap, my tires looked like they belonged on an mtb they had so much mud stuck to them! So, I continued my warm up on the road and trainer. I rolled to the start area feeling okay, but halfway through the first lap, could tell it would be a tough day. The course was all about who could push their pedals hard enough to plow through the mud buildup and had no real technical sections to speak of. Definitely not my type of race! I pushed on, eventually finishing 12th out of 14, which was a great reality check after last weekend's race. I still have work to do before January!
I decided not to preride the course due to the muddy conditions, I really should have. It seemed like a good decision at the time and from a technical standpoint it didn't matter. But I would have like to have known the conditions on the course. The entire race I felt like I was in quick sand and sinking with every turn of the pedals. I really didn't enjoy the race. I finished too far down in the field and just really happy to have that race over with. So moving on to Sunday…
It was a leisurely departure for me, leaving the house around 8 to make the 1.5 hour drive to the "Springs". I was really looking forward to racing and making up for Saturday's poor result. Since it was just me on my own I had a new set of responsibilities…get my own equipment squared away, getting my bike to the pit, pinning my number etc. (It made me really appreciate all of Carl's help!) We had a pretty good turnout considering the race was so far away from Denver/Boulder.
I rode a few laps and really loved the course. It was twisty, had a really fun steep down then up and a good run-up. I lined up feeling good and positive. I got off the line well and was in about 5th position, not panicking I started to move up and soon found myself in 3rd and then 2nd and not too far off the leader. I rode in 2nd for the last 3 laps with Kristin Weber in 3rd, right on my wheel. Fortunately I managed to hold her off, even when she tried to surge past me on the barriers, and maintain my 2nd place. I was very happy with the day and took home a little cash as well.