Friday cyclocrossers from around the country converged in Portland. I hosted my buddies Wendy and Norm from Canada and Mr. Legg, sans Katie. And about a dozen folks ended up at our house for dinner. It was a full table and lots of conversations. Good thing we weren't all racers. That may have been too much. But we fueled up for great races the next day. Did it work???
OK, I will get to the point. SATURDAY was a fantastic day for the Butlers. Tim dominated his race from start to finish, riding off the front. Hands up in the air as he crossed the finish line and I had arrived just moments before the finish to embrace him and tell him he is the fastest husband ever! It was something he had been working towards. He already had a 3rd and a 2nd, so he really wanted a win in the USGP series to complete the set of plywood trophies.
The women's race was at 1:45. I was super nervous. This would be my first national level race back after my illustrious sinus infection that plagued me for far too long. Since the Czech republic, when I raced sick. Granted I had a short reprieve and went to LA, but that turned out to be bad. Very bad. So here I was, basically feeling like it was Star Crossed all over again. How will I measure up? Will I still be fast? How bad is this going to hurt??? Well, it hurt A LOT!!! My legs actually felt like lead. It was a hard, hard day, but I pushed into that pain cave and did not let go. When I was in third, I was determined to keep it. And I did. Podium finish. 3rd for the day. A great way to start the weekend! I was secretly hoping I would feel better the next day.
SUNDAY I did feel better. I made it to the course to see some of Tim's race where he attempted to claw back up to the lead 2, but he fought off chasers behind him and finished a strong 3rd. Another podium finish for Tim, thus putting him in 3rd for the series! A great year for Tim. Then it was time for me to get serious. I went out and warmed up on the path by PIR. The trainer did not sound appealing. In retrospect, the trainer was probably a better idea. I rode out a bit too far, and when I turned around into the headwind, I worried I may not make it back in time. I had to book it. Add to an already stressful situation, a very slow leaking rear tire that was getting lower and lower. With no time to fix a flat, I made an emergency call to Patrick. He rode towards me on Tim's bike just in case and I did make it back. 10 minutes to get all my stuff dialed. Rushed. Turns out I did have a great warm up. Perhaps too great. And eventful. Because I tore off the start line, getting the hole shot, and my legs felt great and then it started. Small mistakes here and there. Bobbled on the rutty side hill thing before the whoops. Silly stuff. Not getting into my pedals after the run up or barriers. Rookie stuff. I probably could have used a few more calories to get my head on straight. The pedals were driving me crazy enough that I pitted. One more lost spot, and that was a big mistake. It didn't make that much of a difference, but it was a clean exchange and good practice. Right? So I fought hard, didn't give up, not quite having enough of that top end to make up for my mistakes or perhaps just for the second day of racing. I finished 7th. It was my poorest finish yet this year domestically, but it was not due to any lack of cheering. Holy cats! If someone won from the loudest cheering section, I would have won. I wanted so badly to have a repeat performance for everyone yelling their heads off. It was sooooo awesome. Really. I love Portland. So much. Thank you Portland. I will try my best to make you proud in Bend.