September 23, 2010

Season Opener

Thirteen hours is a long time to be in a car – that’s how long it took to get to the first race weekend of the season. Last year’s Star Crossed kicked my butt – I wasn’t ready for the speed or mud. This year I knew what to expect and it was still hard. Like last year we had plenty of rain for the race making many of the turns and transitions slippery. Wendy Simms, my former travel partner turned Mom, showed up for her first ‘cross race since early 2009. She doesn’t seem to be slowed down at all by having a nine-month-old: she finished a close second to Katerina Nash. Unlike last year I stayed upright and pedaled as hard as possible and managed to squeak into tenth place for one UCI point. The new Hakkalügi worked flawlessly and it was the first time on my new American Classic Carbon 38 wheels.

Night races are fun, but I think they are harder on a racer than a normal daytime race. After a wet dark race it’s difficult to motivate and do a cool down. You really just want to get out of your wet stuff and eat dinner. Dinner ends up being very late and if the race was messy, clean up and bike maintenance can go way into the night. Also, racing at night makes sleeping difficult – it’s hard to wind down enough to fall asleep and I’m usually overheated all night.

I finished laundry and bike cleaning the next morning before Tim and I headed out to the Rad Racing Grand Prix. We left super early for my race, but just in time for Tim’s first ‘cross race. His race started in a brief moment of sunshine and ended not too long after when he was plowed over in the sand pit and then had someone run across his ankle in hard bike shoes.

My race started in the calm between storms and I concentrated on staying upright on some very slippery mud and running as hard as I could on the beach. The rain held off for one lap and then came down with a vengeance. It actually cleared the mud from my bike and made the drivetrain work better. I could see the racer in front of me but couldn’t close the gap to her. In the meantime Wendy Williams was slowly closing in on me from behind. I pedaled so hard on the finish straight that I felt a little bit sick, but I held off Wendy for another tenth place finish.

Up Next : UCI races are back in SoCal!

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