Sucking ‘cross dry

I was feeling fine and dandy til about an hour before my race.  Something about putting on the bike clothes and shoes that gets my belly topsy-turvy.  The course wasn’t too bad; some mud, some gravel, fun descents and a wonderful run-up.  I had ridden it twice before my race and was feeling alright about it.  Still, the nerves have their way.

The whistle goes and shit, I’m at the back.  Horrible start.  Horrible.  One woman does this snaky movement in some of the dry leaves at this sharp turn and saves herself (and us, thank God).  I see the women in front of me spread a little and I am having the hardest time closing in but I’m not losing faith quite yet, not in the first lap.  What I love so much about ‘cross racing is that anything can happen.  It’s like a game where you know some of the weaknesses of these people you’ve raced time and time again with and you’re just waiting to see if you’re right about it, right about when they’ll crack, when those weaknesses will float up, because you know they inevitably will.

So the first lap comes and goes and I’m still chasing.  My mind is focused on catching up to the rest of the pack so I push the pedals harder and faster.  This course has this looooong mud section where some people would ride it (causing the drivetrain and brakes to get clobbered up with crap) and some people would run it (heavy muddy shoes but hey, clean bike).  I opted the running part because I couldn’t afford a slippery fall here.  I needed a guaranteed shot right through the thickest part of this race and it worked.  This is where many women fell behind and I was there to slide pass.  That 2-second gap turned into 10 seconds which turned into 20 seconds.  I passed two opponents and dug deep to keep my space from them, so deep I damn near buried myself out there.  And then there it was, finally, the finish line, and a waterhose with cold water to greet me and my trusty steed.

I love this game.
2nd place.
It’s gonna be a good year.

-Heather

 

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