Things weren't quite right. I slept for 10 1/2 hours Saturday night into Sunday. I awoke to a phone call from one of my best friends and dedicated mechanic, Greg. Apparently he was in an ambulance with a finger shooting off in the wrong direction. Crashed while warming up. :( Dislocated, fractured, and tendon ripped away from the bone. Sorry you didn't get to race, G-Man. More sorry that you busted one of your digits.
When I got to the race, more wasn't right. The first time I walked up the hill toward the race, I felt something was out of sorts. My heart started pounding and I was out of breath just walking up the hill. Not sure why. But I told myself it was a good thing - that my heart was jumping fast into action and ready to work. I was nervous, too. The course looked hellish, and I studied Paul Curley to learn some lines. I was psyched to race. I wanted to have a great ride. When I rode the course at 12:30, though, I grew really afraid. I had a hard time riding the majority of the course. Many sections actually scared me! Luckily, adrenaline took over and fear dissolved once the whistle blew.
I hoped for a front row start, but the ice in the start/finish chute forced them to start fewer riders across. That's fine. I would rather have been second row than have to ride through the ice as one of the last staged in the first row! I know that I can't blame my start on anyone else. I am always told repeatedly that I just have to go around people. But I did end up behind the slowest wheel in the front row. She went sideways, and even bumping those beside me, I still couldn't get around her. It was a bad start for me. I was probably riding top 15 for awhile, then I went backwards. My legs wouldn't pedal, I just had nada. I don't know why. I didn't feel the fear I had when I was warming up (except in the treacherous off-camber) but I just couldn't go fast. I don't really understand it. Couldn't run, either, and last weekend I felt like I was flying on my feet. I guess I couldn't "get out of my own way".... (:-P) I am a bit disappointed, cuz my performance at the year's biggest race just wasn't even close to what I hoped for or what I'm capable of.
There was one amusing part of the race, though:
I see London, I see France,
Marianne Stover ripped her pants!!
Man, I wished I had a camera on the bike. I couldn't believe the sight as I rode up behind her and saw, well, more than I had expected anyway! Don't worry, Marianne, probably not too many people got the look that I did... you were so covered with mud.
Kudos to Mo, Anna, and Pauline and all others who had stellar rides! Oh, and Bill Sawyer who got 3rd in the 50-54s!!! Only 10 seconds out of 2nd and 1:17 off Curley... I also can't believe that Paul Curley has been winning national championships since I was 8 years old.... wow.
Anyway, I can't believe it's all over. I'm sad that I have to wait another 9 months to try again. But a lot will happen in between. Stay tuned if you'd like, as my blog will continue all winter into road season.
The saddest part about nationals was that the beer tent was closed by the time my race was over. I never even got to sip a frosty libation in good company. That's one bad thing about being the last race.
So Everyone, thanks for the cheers. I hope to give y'all more to cheer about in good time.