Sunday, October 12, 2008

Midwest Madness: Cyclocross & 85 degrees in Ohio.

In retrospect, perhaps Gloucester would have been the saner choice, but when have I made choices based on sanity? It was more about simplicity of logistics and affordability, and who wouldn't want to race against Katie Compton and Georgia Gould for 3 days in a row? Defending my NACT title (or at least attempting to) would have just been paled in comparison to the great tan lines I acquired in October! It was mid 80's. Way too hot for CX. And I like mud. There was no mud here, that is for sure!So, I flew into Louisville, KY on late Thursday and spent the night. Woke up 6 a.m. Portland time (a late 9 a.m. here) and put together my bikes and then the first disaster occurred. I went to put on some riding clothes to take a spin, only to discover I had NO shorts. I forgot to pack them. Did I mention I was going to be gone for 2.5 weeks??? without shorts? Just 4 skinsuits? I love my husband, I love my husband, I love my husband. He left work, rode home, got my stuff and overnight fed ex'd it, Saturday deliver so I didn't have to be the dork riding around in skinsuits!As if that wasn't a bad enough start to my trip, my host, Kiet, wasn't even here and I took a shower and then flushed the toilet (#1, mind you) and the toilet began to overflow. Not just a little, but a lot. I was so shocked, b/c pee should not clog a toilet. And I had a race at 4 p.m. and had to drive an hour and a half and it was almost time to load the car. Stress, no plunger, stress, whole bathroom is flooded, stress, basement doesn't look so hot either, stress, Kiet is going to kill me. Still no idea, but I did go to whole foods to go to the bathroom on my way to Ohio!
Racing in the heat is hard. Racing on a rough course with no shade at 4 p.m. in the 80+ degree heat after flooding a toilet, not having shorts and driving 1.5 hours is hard. But, racing CX is fun, so off we went to the line. I had a great start. Perhaps the best of my career thus far. I got the hole shot. Did I mention that Katie & Georgia were on the line with me. For the first quarter lap, I was pretty stressed being out on the front. I knew they were just sitting there, letting me set a nice easy pace for them. Yep, I did get passed, and yes, I did get dropped, but I did it well. And when I knew there was no getting back up, and when I knew there was no one even close behind me, I started to focus on the fun factor, working on better lines each time. Working on trying to swallow. I was parched. I finished 3rd.

Saturday there was no relief from the heat in sight. A "normal" 2 p.m. start, which was delayed, but a super fun course. I am still amazed by how long the course is at such a small venue. And it is anything but easy. The evil sand section with one long section, a quick 180 degree turn an another section. Needless to say, without the momentum, I ended up walking the second half. I had a horrible start and made a few mistakes, but in the end, luck was on my side and not on Georgia's. I passed her like she was standing still. Oh, she had a rear flat. I never let up, however, b/c I knew I was being chased down. I could feel it and although I carried water and had a few sips during the race, it was really hot. I survived, had fun, kept a good attitude and finished 3rd.

Sunday was another warm day in Ohio, 2 races in my legs and feeling better than the day before, so I was going to hope for the best. I carried water again, because I figured it couldn't hurt. The course would hurt, but water could only be a nice relief if it was needed. It was. But what was more needed was just a little more gas. I had another great start, taking the hole shot, but let Katie around right away to lead the off camber section and Georgia and Rachel were right there too. I found myself in 4th through the sand and dabbed at the very end of it (a good reason to not go into sand last) and they got away a bit. I got Rachel back at the barrier and then sat on her for the lap. I overcooked a turn in a big way, landing on the grass and the gap was formed. I was on my own in fourth. I wanted deep within me to be able to chase back and I tried every lap, the gap bigger and smaller at times. I was afraid to blow up b/c of the heat, but I was working hard as I could, although a bit cautious on the turns now after my blow out. Rachel is not cautious on turns. I was losing ground and then getting it back where I could. I made the gap smaller on the last lap, but there was too much time between to close it down and I knew she would never let me even close. I was off the podium and in 4th. Respectable, of course. Racing against the fastest girls in the country is never easy. And since this weekend wasn't hard enough, I figured I would jump across the pond and race against the fastest in the world next weekend. That sanity thing again.

Thank you to my wonderful host family in Ohio: Jeni & Geoff. They were great.

Geoff's family bike store. Nice to have a mechanic as a host.

Compton may have a street in Ohio named after her...
But I have a county.

One week after my spill on the apron at Alpenrose, the bruise is still pretty ugly. 80+ degrees means wearing tank tops and everyone stared. I just told them my husband beats me. And speaking of beating, Tim continued his winning streak this past weekend at home, winning his second Cross Crusade race ever! Nice work honey! Wish I could have been there to cheer you on!


Jeff said...

Way to kick ass cross chick!!! So cool to follow your results on Velonews, since your finish is high enough that they list you. My Willsonville race sucked by Tim did kick it. Keep up the killer season, we are all cheering for you.


Kris said...

Awesome Sue! Go take down those Euro girls, but be kind to my folks. And most of all, have fun!

Monilee said...

Nice work! Keep it up ... look out worlds!