So when we drove up, I said to myself, "OMG! It looks like a dirt crit!!" And once I prerode it... I decided I had underestimated. The course served a refreshing complement to the mucky course with serious elevation change that we saw yesterday. Although I'm growing pretty fond of the mud and rain, today's crystal blue skies and warm temps also felt refreshing. I even donned my short-sleeved skinsuit!
When I woke I feared racing. I felt so tired - like last weekend - that I feared cracking and suffering another disappointment. My resting pulse soared all week, often seeing rates 10 bpm above my normal 40-42. This morning my legs felt heavy, but I know that never forecasts my race performance.
I had a decent start up the long road stretch, but found it difficult to take the muddy switchbacks as fast as I needed to, and I got passed. I guess Barbarella did, too, cuz she BIT IT right in front of me on one of the corners. Luckily I avoided the carnage and continued along. I just couldn't quite hold their pace though the lap. They slowly pulled away from me.
Have you noticed that the start of a cross race really continues through most of the first lap? I always thought of the start as up the road (if it's a paved s/f) and through the first couple of turns. It's much longer than that. It lasts all the way until "the selection" is made. I need to be able to push harder through that whole interval, but without blowing myself for the rest of the race.
I was in a group of 4 on the last lap. And I sooooo want to do it over!!! I was really suffering, and a little afraid that I wouldn't have anything left for the sprint. That's crap - I'm never holding back again. I knew I needed to lead up the hill barriers on the last lap, and I didn't. I didn't push through the suffering. I hit the road gapped, and lost out on the sprint, which I KNOW I could have won, cuz I felt like I blasted up the finish straight. I know what I NEED to do, but I need to practice execution. Learn from every race.
Overall, I was psyched to finish only 2:49 down from Lyne! (Forget the fact that she was probably only going as hard as she needed to maintain her lead and I was suffering like a dog....) I had a blast racing. I wasn't slogging around in misery alone on the course, I was actively RACING the whole time. That's the thrill in all of this.
After this much needed rest week, I hope to be refreshed and aggressive out there.