Sunday Sufferfest

My mom and I both spent our Sunday afternoon suffering on two wheels. In snowy, frigid Iowa they have a winter series of roller races held in places like shopping malls. Since today's roller race was sponsored by my parent's/sister's team, Mom decided to toss her hat in the ring and give it a try. She practiced all week on the rollers (which I think means she figured out how to ride them faster than me) for today's race, a 2-mile time trial. She was worried about getting last, but she didn't by quite a bit. Pretty darn cool! Here's Mom's suffer face in the middle of the mall for all the post-holiday shoppers to see... RollinMom

As for me, today was the second Peak Season series race, but more importantly, it was the finale of the NCNCA Cup. Way back last spring I made a goal of getting myself on the B's podium for the NCNCA Cup. Then I got all obsessed with track racing and sort of brushed aside 'cross racing. I missed the first two races of the local series while we were in Idaho, but when I came back and did my first race of the season the following weekend, my lust for the crazy sport of cyclocross came rushing back. And the rest of the season was a blur of giggling schoolgirl fun with a few wins tossed in along the way, all culminating in today's race. Coming into the race, I held a narrow lead in the NCNCA Cup standings, but if Melanie beat me we would tie on points and I had no idea what the tiebreaker might be. I was actually a little nervous for this one.

The race was at the Watsonville Fairgrounds, infamous in past years as a huge mudfest (like what I experienced last year!). Fortunately today was crisp and sunny, though there was still some mud to go around. The hard part about racing at the fairground is the terrain we don't really see anywhere else...first there's the mud--thick sticky peanut buttery mud in some places with slippery-snotty mud in others by the time our race started.  There's also a tricky off-camber section across the hillside--something we don't see in many races out here. And you can't forget those huuuge barriers--I swear they are nearly as tall as my waist!


Anyways, to the race itself...Mel didn't show up, so I knew at the start that I had the NCNCA Cup wrapped up. Phew. But my inner uber-competitive self still wanted to win. So off we went, B women and 35+ Master's women together, and through most of the first lap I had two other girls hot on my heels. I heard them behind me asking each other what category they were racing--one was a B and the other was a 35+ Masters racer, but I didn't know who was who, just that I had to keep one of them behind me. I slowed down on a corner and they both went by. Crap! I caught back up on the run-up and passed one of them who was struggling with the sticky peanut buttery mud in her shoes. But the other girl took off! Crap! I pushed and suffered and rode hard, but she just kept pulling away. By the time we had two laps left, I couldn't even see her anymore. Crap! All I could do was keep riding hard and see what happened. I actually started riding better and better each lap after I figured out how to negotiate some of the slippery mud at speed. By the last lap I was exhausted, waiting to slide out in one of the snotty-mud corners. But I kept it upright and finished, where I saw Jill, the girl who was ahead of me. She asked me, "did you win?" I was thinking, uh, you crushed me, but I managed a "Are you in the master's category?" between panting breaths. She nodded, "yes". Woohoo! I won! But she did crush me by two minutes. Ouch.


So that was my last race as a B. And probably the last 'cross win I'll win for a very, very, very long time as I enter the big, bad, scary fast world of A racing. But at least I've had a blast racing this year. I'm sad that its almost over.

There are lots of people to thanks for the great 'cross season I've had this year. You know who you are and I'm truely appreciative of all the help! Thanks!