Sunday, October 14, 2007
Gloucester - Day One
It couldn't have been a more beautiful day at Stage Fort Park. Sunny skies and a dry course with few difficult technical sections made for a super fast course. We started up the road, and Amy Wallace was quickly out front with one of her characteristic leg-burning fast starts. But the hill stretch was long, and I came around Amy and found myself out front with the hole shot, able to take whatever line I chose through the first two corners. There was a short decent into a 180-degree left hander, and then a short rise to the next right turn; this short uphill was where Lyne first passed me. I knew it was going to happen, just didn't know where. She took the next couple of turns with more speed than I could. On top of the fact that she has great cornering skills, her "warm-up" racing the men's 2/3 race probably helped her be more comfortable taking the first turns at warp speed. A small gap opened, and I had to make a decision to try to jump to her or let her go. I had to admit, I was pretty maxed from the start. I thought I might blow up if I jumped again and went all out to get on her wheel. Ideally, I wanted someone to pass me and pull me up to her, but that wasn't to happen. There was a strong wind on the course in the power sections, and I didn't want to be alone in the wind trying to ride faster than Lyne to catch her. I chose to be conservative. Part of me felt disappointed in myself for conceding victory so early without a fight, but mostly I was excited to ride in a group and practice tactics. Too often I ride alone in no-(wo)man's land, trying to suffer through 45 minutes as deeply as possible, striving to close the gap to some rider head (who is doing the same) and desperately trying to stay ahead of the lone woman behind hunting me down (ie, doing the same thing I'm doing). My greatest accomplishment today was that I rode a smart race. I stayed out of the wind when I needed to, attacked when I needed to, followed when I needed to, and had a good kick for the finish sprint. It felt like a crit, and the race went by so fast! It was an amazing feeling to be on the podium at Gloucester. I have dreamed of this day since I first got lapped by Alison Dunlap and the Clif Bar girls here in my first season racing 'cross in 2003. No, it wasn't a USGP race, but there was a great field from all over the country and Canada. I rode a smart race in front of so many spectators, including my dad, cheering for me. It felt amazing, thanks for the support!
I love Chucks... and my new Ridley!
How can I mount some cleats on these shoes?