After a relaxing week to recharge I was eager as a beaver to get out there and go fast! I was also a little nervous, hoping that there wasn’t some not so noticeable reason to why I felt like crap last Sunday and Monday.
Kerry Shields, Emmy, and I set off for Cincy on Thursday evening. We loaded up the RV and hit the road for 4hrs before pulling over at a rest stop and sleeping for the night. Friday morning we woke up and finished the remaining 3hrs and just like that we were in Cincy! We arrived around 2pm and got on course to check it out.
The first big thing I was excited about, different from last year, was that we would be racing in the daylight hours. They did a terrible job of lighting the course the last three years. So to race while the sun was still out to show me the way made me more happy about the 5:15 start time.
The course was mostly flat and the ground was a little soggy so there were some huge power suck sections, which gave the illusion that your legs felt like cinderblocks. Overall though the course was fun. The barriers were hop-able, which is always good. There were some steep uphill technical punchy turns and lots of flat straights, which would result in a tactical race, especially when you factor in the wind that picked up right around race time.
I met up with Dan Strine, the one man band, behind the Gnarly Monkey live streaming service. We collaborated on a course preview video, which was aired as an introduction to the live stream events before Saturdays races.
Friday evening I met up with the team and we had team dinner.
Saturday morning it was the typical team spin. Then off to the course, which was less than 1mile away, “As the crow flies,” from the hotel but 5 miles driving.
I everything at the venue was dialed, as usual. James, Doug, and Chad had our pink bar tape wrapped and ready, as well as everything else. It is really cool when you build a relationship with a mechanical well enough that they know your thoughts for tire pressure most of the time and have bikes ready to go. ***I am really digging the new sponsor, Lizard Skins, their bar tape is really nice. Super grippy, which is great for techy cross races and also for hopping barriers, and getting rad overall.***
The Women were off first and per usual, Caroline hole shotted. Then settled into a group and due to the tactical nature of the race missed the front group and had no one to work with in order to bring them back. She finished up 4 or 5. Rebecca had a good race and made up spots all day to finish just outside of the top 10. Laurel held her own in the deepest field of the year.
We lined up next! The time to see how my legs were really feeling. This was going to be the test for sure. With Saturday being a C1 and Sunday the Pacific American Championships there were a lot of points up for grabs. Therefore, there were a lot of guys lining up.
Off the line I had a good start. Found myself in a good group but then tried to hard to move up. I wasted a lot of energy just trying to be in front of one person instead of being patient and settling in. Jamey made the front group, which then got widdled down to JPow and Stephen Hyde. Jamey took to chase… I was working damage control. I wasted too much energy and then couldn’t follow the moves I needed to so found myself in no mans land. Luckily, I had Drew Dillman to help me bridge back up to a big group fighting for 7-11 (he did most of the work). There was so much pedaling I felt like the only time I was able to take a breather was after hopping the barriers. Everyone else was running and hopping allowed me approximately two pedal strokes easy, the rest was hammer down.
I sat in the group until the last lap where I finished at the back of it simply due to fatigue. I couldn’t even contest. My legs were fried. 11th for me.
All photos in this blog courtesy of Meg McMahon, except the one that Carly took of Meg taking a photo of Caroline helping out… haha
Head to the Raleigh- Clement Facebook Page to catch up on all the excellent photos and other content you missed from the weekend. https://www.facebook.com/raleighclementcyclingteam?ref=hl
Lance battled as usual, the trooper he is. I think realistically he was happy to be done with Saturdays race so he could race the U23 Pan Am Champs Sunday and finally get some points. Jamey finished up 5th, not a bad day for Raleigh-Clement.
I was happy with how I felt, I just didn’t race as smart as I should have. So I was looking to build on my effort Sunday.
Saturday night we spent Halloween dressed as tired bike racers… We are use to the role and play it well. At least “Emmy the M&M” showed up for Halloween with post race sweets!
Caroline was sidelined because she isn’t American. I am sure she was torn up about it because the course was the most technical of the year and it was a little slick. I am sure she would have excelled. The team player she is spent all day, kitted up, helping Laurel (racing the U23 race) and Becca (racing the Elite race) with lines so they would feel more comfortable on a challenging course.
Laurel was the first of the crew to race, unfortunately she had an off day. These things happen.
Lance was next! I had him predicted at 3rd. He raced hard and had good positioning at the beginning of the race. He dropped a chain about half way through on a technical section and lost some time. He fell from 4th to 6th but managed to dig deep enough to claw his way back up to 4th where he finished! Points! Points! Points! It’s about time Lancy Pants!
Rebecca was up next. She was a little out of her element on the technical terrain but managed a top 15 and grabbed some points.
Jamey and I toed the line… I managed a really good start. I was third wheel into the first turn then fell back some. I knew I didn’t have it in me to stay there so I figured I would race a little smarter and see how things played out. I am not going to lie my legs were smarting from yesterday and it took a few laps to warm up. I took on a rear flat close to the end of lap 2 and I lost contact with the group I was with. Fortunately, it was fairly close to the pit so ridding it in didn’t lose me too much time or position. I clawed my way back up to a group with T wells, Adam Craig, and Mitch Hoke. I managed to find some separation and then found myself in no mans land with 5 laps to go. So I rode it out and finished 10.
It is always hard to try and make up time with no target to shoot for. I rode smooth the rest of the race and nearly caught Jermey Durrin by the end but he had more in the tank on the last lap then I did. After I found myself alone I was enjoying listening to the Dave Tolle (race announcer) talk about Jamey clawing his way up to Powers and Hyde! Then by the finish straight I heard he surpassed Hyde, who had been trying to knock Powers down a peg or two all day. Hell Yea!
Here is a video link to the finishing corner, the race for 2nd. https://www.facebook.com/CincyCX/videos/831140026994926/
Post race track… #ruts n #guts
Again, I was happy with how I felt but my result is just shy of where I want to be. With two hard races in my legs I loaded, back up, into RV with Kerry and Emmy. Back to NC to rest and reset before heading to Louisville!
I can’t stress how awesome the mechanics were this weekend! With a venue change after Saturday’s late race they still had everything dialed. It was like we never changed venues. James, Doug, and Chad are a good crew, and I am always happy when they lay wrench to mi bicicleta.
P.S. The pink bar tape we got from Lizard Skins, which we rocked all weekend, signified our support of breast cancer awareness. And as promised I am donating 10% of my winnings this weekend to the National Brest Cancer Foundation, who donates 81% of proceeds to the cause. Unfortunately, that is only $25. Next year I strap my bars with pink tape for the entire month of October and hopefully have more to give by Halloween!