USGP Portland is a special weekend of racing for me. It is always a blast to be racing in front of the home crowd. Add nationals a week later in the same state and people that always don't bother to fly to the WEST coast actually come and play. Including old friends and additional house guests. Unfortunately we could not provide the epic mud and rain that has become synonymous with USGP Portland, but the weather was anything but mild. Plummeting temperatures proved challenging, but the sun kept shining and it was a great weekend of racing.
I was a bit nervous going into the weekend, being the first time racing after the asthma attack in New Jersey, except for Kruger's, I guess, but it was all an unknown. I had gotten my TUE earlier in the week, did one day of intervals to experiment with my new 'puffer' and Saturday was game time. I wanted to be able to ride at the front and make that podium like last year, but it was not in the cards this year. I hope I am saving that for next weekend. It was, however, a good weekend of racing.Saturday I focused on my start and was back in the game. I was in the lead selection, but soon was dropping off and racing my race. Mostly in no man's land. I tried to keep Emmett's wheel as she surged passed me, but I was riding in 7th and finished there. It was a good solid race. The field is strong and I raced smooth, clean and no mistakes. And I could breathe.
Sunday, I again got the 'hole shot', but then decided not to pull in the wind. I made the lead group, but at some point there were small separations and I was dangling after the first lap. I was still making progress. Sydor was in my sight and Dunlap not that much further ahead of her during the penultimate lap, and I was determined to close it down, but that last lap, I started making little mistakes that added up and I could not. Another 7th place.
So, some lucky number 7's for the weekend. It was cold, fun racing. A great course and great fans cheering. I think, however, when it is muddy and raining there are more fans. What's up with that??? Nationals this weekend!!! Riding in the snow. My favorite.