What a weekend. This weekend's weather was hot and sunny down in Harrisburg, PA, drawing an amazing contrast to the wintry weather in Gloucester last weekend.
Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share, as I forgot to put the memory card back in my camera for the weekend, but there are great shots of the races on mountainbikeracer.com.
Saturday's race under sunny 75-degree skies felt a little too warm for cyclocross. I wasn't particularly fond of the gravel start (not fine gravel, but little rocks) but managed to get a good jump up the road and onto the grass in 5th place. I slipped back from there. Christine V. went down in front of me in the first lap, allowing me to make a few seconds on her. We ended up trying to work together to catch the lead group until she dropped out for some reason. I was left alone, feeling really flat. I had no spunk in my legs, and my HR was pegged much higher than normal. I think I made a big mistake in eating a double caffinated GU 10 minutes before such a hot race. I definitely won't do that again. I slipped back one more spot and finished 6th. I am having trouble mentally pushing though when I feel like I'm cracking. I just say in my head, "Damn! It feels like I'm popping!" and perhaps it's even a self-fulfilling prophecy. I begin to drag and lose lots of time. I have to learn how to push through it - my HR graphs look like I don't actually crack. There's usually no distinct decline in HR. I guess it's in my head.
Sunday I wanted to be mentally stronger. The course was flat and there were few technical sections, only a muddy section and one run-up. I knew getting to the top of the first hill first would be so important. I have gotten sick of blowing starts and resolved to change that. So I actually got he hole shot on this one. Someone told me after the race that I even had a little gap on the field at the top of the first hill. After that came the barriers. I was still out front. We snaked around a baseball diamond, and I decided to let someone pass me. It ended up being two people, though, Barb and C.V. I stayed in the front group of 5 - we had a gap on the rest - staying out of the wind. Then I made my biggest mistake of the race. I guess I had a little adrenaline going, rendering my brain defunct. They slowed up a little, and I got worried that we would get caught. I wanted to keep the pressure on... I attacked on the back straightaway by the water... in the wind. Dumb move. Duh! Everyone sat on my wheel in the strong wind, and then on the muddy run-up section, put the hurt on me and opened up a small gap. This couple second gap grew since I went out so hard. Their wheels slipped away as they were drafting together on the long windy flat sections. Well, live and learn. I know that I can ride with these girls, it's just that I haven't put it all together yet. I'm happy with 5th place, but definitely not satisfied. I'll just keep learning every race and try not to repeat make the same mistakes.
Other than that, I rode cleanly and smooth. I had a really smooth dismounts in the run-up section when I was able to grab the downtube, thrust the bike onto my shoulder, and step forward in one swoop. Unfortunately, for some reason, my running was really slow. I'm getting there... improvements every weekend. I don't feel so run-down and exhausted as I did the past 2 or 3 weeks, either. I'm ready to go!! More more! More cyclocross!! =D
Oh! The perspective part...
I finished 29th at the Highland Pk race last year... TEN AND A HALF MINUTES BACK and almost DFL!!! I could beat myself up about making some dumb mistakes on Sunday, but when I compare my performance to last year, I have to be happy.
Happy, but not satisfied...