Monday, September 13, 2010

no woulda coulda shoulda for me...

Nittany Cross.  A long drive.  A very early morning - Shea's race was at 9.  Walked the course with the dogs.  Flat. Fast.  One rooty section, a couple of high speed corners to pay attention to, lotsa flat grassy power sections.  Two laps on the bike before the 9am race, some cheering and getting dressed and soon I was on the trainer for my warmup.  A few moments of holy crap, cross season is really here in the morning, but race nerves weren't too bad.

Going to the scrum fest, I realized that a) I was late even though we still had 20 minutes til our race (hey ladies, when it's colder out, we won't do that) and b) I didn't care that much because it was staged by order of reg and I was on the ball.  Actually, maybe it was by last year's final standings, but the first 12 or so got a callup, then it was scrum... As we're standing there, they changed the start to dis-include the prologue loop.  I was actually sort of expecting that - our race is the only one of the day with 3 waves of starts and the prologue took you backwards on the course for a couple hundred yards.

I was aggressive in the start and had the hole shot to the first critical corner.  It felt like the field spread out immediately.  Others told me it didn't and there were some early crashes, but from my perspective I was pulling about 45 women single file up toward the master's riders who'd gone off a minute earlier.

Feeling strong and racing my own race as I worked through the master's women, I just put it all out there.  That was good enough for 2 1/2 laps.  Then I got passed and couldn't hang on by the end of that lap - the leader and another woman were about 10-15 seconds ahead of me for most of the last two laps.

Eh, whatever.  The announcers noticed I'd led the field, I felt awesome, and I finished 3rd on the day in a deep field of 3/4 women.  How cool was it to see that many ladies out there?!  That doesn't even count the 27 pre-registered in the women's UCI race - nearly as many as the men's pro race.

What a blast. Lots of familiar faces and voices in the pits hollering for each other and sharing a beer afterwards.  A great virgin race for the new Santa Cruz Stigmata.  Turns out we parked next to another woman who had the green one.  Not too many of those on the east coast.

As a side note, after seeing podium pics I've decided to never wear that skort with a jersey again.  Suffice it to say I don't sit around my house trying on my jersey with various bottoms to see what would look good in pictures.

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