Cross Nats was a big goal for me all season. In my mind, all season, I was going there to win. That didn't quite happen but I don't regret going with that mindset. And I am THRILLED with the result. By the time I raced, 3:00 on a Friday, the course was all mud. The big hill that had been rideable, was now a run. The short, steep little climb on the backside was barely rideable. And all over the course was greasy, boggy mud.
Waiting all day to race was brutal! I tried to remain calm and not drive Carl crazy but I was REALLY excited!
Finally it was time and I headed to the start line. I was 3rd for callup based on my result from last year, not that it mattered too much as the field wasn't very big, but nice anyway. I was able to line up with 2 of my friends and fellow strong CO racers, Kristin Weber and Lisa Hudson, who would go on to finish 5th and 7th! I knew of one girl in particular who was the big favorite but didn't let that get in my mind, I was still focused on that top spot.
The whistle blew and at last we were off. I had a pretty good start and found myself in around 5th. I started moving forward and eventually was gaining on 2nd, while #4 was gaining on me! I rode the first lap and a half with her and when heading through the finish area I saw the time split up to 1st place. It became very obvious that I wasn't going to catch her. So I set my sites on 2nd and I wanted it badly.
On the 2nd or 3rd lap I was finally able to get past #2. Just as I passed her the girl who was in 4th passed me! We were now 2nd and 3rd and riding fairly equally. I started looking at where I could get pass her and maintain my lead. I noticed I was stronger riding/running the hills and stairs so I focused on attacking in those sections.
With about a 1/2 lap to go I passed her on the stairs and got just a bit of a gap. Then on the short climb, I was able to ride and she had to run...a little more time gained. We came into the sand pit not far apart. She tried to ride it and I ran. She stalled out right towards the end and I was able to get the final gap that would hold through the finish. Whew.
When I knew I had 2nd I was able to relax just a bit and enjoy the finishing straight. With a huge smile on my face I headed to the finish with the cheers from our strong CO contingent and fans. It was magical. For a few moments I really felt like a rockstar!
Stepping up on the podium at a National Event was amazing and even now, remembering it chokes me up a bit. I still have my sights set on that top spot and the mental training for next season has already begun.
I'm so grateful for all the support I've received from friends, family, sponsors and our racing community. But I owe my husband, Carl, the biggest thanks of all. He's my biggest fan, my coach, teammate, mechanic, pit crew and soigneur. He believed in me even when I doubted myself. THANK YOU Carl, your support has carried me through.
Final race coming up...Master Worlds in Louisville, I can't wait!