I was feeling primed and ready on the start line Saturday afternoon. The lack of attendance, due to a race on the east coast, had me lined up on the front row and I had my eyes set on a good start.
As it were, I had a great start. I found myself sitting 4th wheel off the start loop. I was sitting on Jamey’s wheel, which was awesome and also a bit of a shocker. It was great to see him have a good start. We hit the first two off camber technical sections, past the pit and about halfway through the laps. I was still there feeling comfortable.
Then I hit the deck… It was like I hit a patch of ice. I had no warning my front wheel just washed out. Consequently, I bent my hanger (went down drive side). I was able to keep going and I got right back up. I lost a few spots but was still ready to do battle. I hit a steep climb and shifted into my easiest gear then my derailleur went into my spokes, got ripped off, and I broke some spokes. That was the end of my race.
I can’t begin to describe the frustration. Like I said I was feeling good, it was a C1, and I was in the front group. Things were going my way for the first 4-5min of the race. Sometimes that is racing though. At least, that is what I kept telling myself so I would calm down but it was no use. My tank was full and I was sitting on the side lines watching everyone else bleed out of there eyes in enjoyment.
The biggest thing that kept haunting my thoughts was the enormous opportunity I missed out on, UCI points. Saturday was a C1 and the field wasn’t nearly as deep as Providence had been. Coming into the race I had my eyes set on the podium. I knew J-pow and Stephen were probably going to take 1-2 but I was ready to do battle for as long as I could and probably learn some things along the way. Life goes on and lucky with cross there is always Sunday, though Sunday was a c2.
The silver lining was Jamey did well despite some mechanicals of his own, finished 3. Also, Caroline charged hard after having a bad start and managed top 5. Rebecca was 10 and Laurel was 14. Everyone in the UCI points.
I had a hard time sleeping, replaying things over in my head as well as anticipating Sunday’s race. Redemption was on my mind. With Powers gone and Stephen tired I was gunning for the top step.
Front row again, and another good start. This time I managed to keep it together for, almost 4 laps, until I laid it over again. This time taking Stephen Hyde with me. So to see him come back and win was really impressive. Again, I was feeling good in a front group of 3 or 4 with a gap on a chase group. I was ready!
Then washed the front wheel unexpectedly and lost the front group. I struggled getting my bike to pedal again but once I did I was 8th or so. My confidence/ego took the biggest blow and it was hard to overcome the disappointment and fight again. Not to mention my timid cornering from then on. Good legs bad luck again, or bad handling.
(Post crash because I lost my shades in the incident.)
Jamey fought another mechanical as well after getting caught up in a crash first lap. A lot of guys were crashing, which eases my mind a little, but that isn’t my style. I am usually pretty composed on the bike not spastic. I recently made some cockpit changes so I think I will go back to the way things were. Jamey finished 5.
Then the women raced and Caroline, struggled on the start again, came from the chase group and charged to 2nd. Rebecca had some bad luck but Laurel had another good race and finished 9th.
I guess I can pull some positives from the weekend… My fitness was good. I made the front group both days, so going into Boulder the theme is more “Redemption!” The field seems a little smaller so eyes are set on the top step. At altitude anything can happen, I’ll have to keep that in my mind as something that could hurt or help me. The other thing to realize is the immense amount of support I have from the team. The mechanics work all day these race weekends to make sure bikes are running like swiss clocks. They do a tremendous job in the pit and all I ever have to worry about is racing, which is a great feeling and position to be in.