November 7, 2010

Boulder

What better way to start a race weekend than a 4:30am trip to the airport. That’s how Tim and I started our trip to Boulder, the benefit is that there’s absolutely no traffic at that uncivilized hour. I like racing in Colorado because the flights are cheap, it’s only one time zone away, the racing is fun and I get to visit friends and relatives who live there. I don’t like racing there because the altitude makes lots of things (like breathing, recovering and sleeping) hard. Since the good outweighs the bad I keep going back to Colorado to race. We had an easy drive up to Boulder and unlike last year there was no snow on the ground and temperatures were in the mid 70’s. Not bad for the end of October. Saturday’s race at the Boulder Reservoir was fast, dusty and bumpy. This was my first race back after being sick and it hurt. I started off slowly, got caught in every bottleneck and hung on for dear life to finish in in the final money spot. I seriously considered quitting racing after this race, not because I finished poorly but because I felt so bad while racing. I just wasn’t having fun out there. Not all was bad though, Danica, the world’s cutest two year old cheered for me and I got to see Jen Tilley and Shannon Gibson, former teammates from Velo Bella.

Sunday was a better day, not just because it was Halloween and not because we were racing at a mall but because my body was working again and I felt like a bike racer! Halloween brings out the holiday spirit in me in the form of sparkly kitten ears taped to my helmet. These particular ears have made regular appearances at Halloween races since their debut in Gloucester in 2004. The only other Elite woman to take Halloween seriously was Wendy Simms. Her Nancy Kerrigan figure skating outfit made my helmet decoration seem inadequate. For once a crappy start paid off, a large crash on the first grass corner took out several ladies. I was far enough back to jump off and run around the pileup. From there it was a matter of pedaling hard (thank goodness my legs were working today) and not hitting the ground too many times. Not many ladies made it through the race without some sort of mishap, torn clothing, scuffed knees, several DNF’S and even a broken frame attest to the difficulty of the course. I used the hilly terrain to move up person by person and ultimately formed a chase group with Wendy Simms and Mo Bruno-Roy. The three of us battled for the last two laps with the final run up deciding our finish order. Wendy’s long legs and superior stride length gave her the advantage on the run up and thus was the first to finish in our little group. I ran as hard as possible knowing that Mo’s running skills surpass my own. By turning myself inside out on the finish stretch I managed to squeak in ahead of Mo finishing in eighth place.

While traveling all over the place seems glamorous I usually don’t get to see much more than the race venue, host housing and a restaurant or two. Because Boulder is only one time zone and a short flight from home I booked our return tickets for Monday afternoon. This gave Tim and me a chance to relax and enjoy a glorious fall day in Colorado. We met up with our friend – four time Danish Cyclocross Champion Joachim Parbo – for a morning hike up the Sanitas trail. It was really nice to be able to walk and talk - a far cry from the normal rushed “Hi, how are you,” pre -race chat. We basked in the sun on top of the mountain admiring the view before walking into town for lunch. After a post-lunch pastry and tea I was relaxed and ready to fight my way through the airport and head home.

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