Monday, May 22, 2006

Inches from a Double

Ok... so I've neglected updating my blog. Life has felt like a whirlwind lately. I'll start with what at this point I suppose qualifies as old news.

Sterling was definitely one of those days when I had hard time deciding to race. The weather in New England has never been so predictable: rain. More rain. There was so much rain on the highway on the drive out to Sterling that morning, that I had to wonder whether I'd actually hydroplane on my bike. I figured the conditions were at least prepration for cyclocross season if nothing else, and since I love cross so much, I may as well tough it out. Besides the weather, I woke up with a sore throat feeling sick. Naturally, I decided that racing in the cold rain is perfect for sickness. I just had to do what I love to do.

My biggest fan (my dad) came to watch me race despite the poor conditions for spectating. And I'm so glad he did. I felt really strong and was very happy to get in a break with Kam, and we rode pretty hard. Since my dad stood out in the rain for 6 laps cheering me on, I was thrilled to be able to win. He had never seen me win a race, so hearing his voice as I charged to the line meant so much to me. Thanks, Dad, for putting up with your daughter and her crazy infatuation with cycling.

The original plan was to continue straight from Sterling to Bear Mtn. for Sunday's race. I still felt sick, my knees were aching, and the rainy4+ hour drive sounded torturous. After much deliberation on my part - let's just say I'm not always the best at making decisions - Ward is a saint for putting up with me - we decided to head back home, set the alarm for 3:50 am, then make the call. I woke at 3:50 feeling better than the morning before, and that was encourging. I wanted to race, like Bear Mtn, and knew I would regret it if we didn't go. Ward packed the car in minutes and we were off before the sun by 4:30 am.

I didn't feel so great during the race. The cold rain from the day before took more out of my legs than I realized. On the second of the 4 laps, my legs felt crappy and I was climbing mid-pack when I saw 2 Advil girls make a move off the front. I reacted fast and caught them swiftly. I turned back and was surprised to see that 4 of us had a growing gap on the field. I stifled a chuckle in response to a bossy comment meant to shame us into working and looked back to see where the field was and whether it was worth my effort to try to make this break work. I decided to do it, charged, then they followed suit. We pacelined and eventully grew about 8 minutes on the main field, I think. There was a chase group less than 4 minutes back by the finish. My legs weren't great, so it felt like a long 56 miles. I have played the finish over and over in my head maybe a thousand times since! I was patient. I didn't follow the early attack around 700 meters. One more gear up on that downhill finish and I know I would have had it. The finish tape showed how close it was. I was just inches behind on the line.

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