Monday, October 10, 2011

The 48 hours of Colorado: USGP #3 & #4, Fort Collins. October 8-9, 2011

WHEW! That was the longest 48+ hours ever. Not only was I full of anxiety going to race cx at altitude the first time since 2007, but Tim's bikes decided to stay on the plane and go get some sun in Tampa. If we had known what was coming on Saturday, maybe we would have too! So not only did we get in and have to deal with lost luggage, we missed the number presentation and still drove to Fort Collins to pick up registration stuff, making for a late night and tired, stressed people. It wasn't pretty. 
Saturday: New Belgian Cup 1, USGP#3
With Tim having no bikes, we headed to the venue early to get him dialed with SRAM neutral support and the fleet of Specialized Crux's they have. It was ideal for Tim because that is the bike he rides. Aside from the handlebars being a bit narrow, the stem a bit short and the saddle different, he was pretty comfortable on the bike. That didn't help with the weather, however. Luckily Tim had managed to find someone to pit for him, so I did not have to sit in the cold rain prior to my race. Although it was muddy and wet for his race, it got worse. Much worse. He had a solid race, but missed the podium by 8 seconds. With all the stress and riding bikes that weren't his, I think it was pretty awesome. 
The weather deteriorated for our race. The temperatures dropped. I think it was about 40 degrees and pouring rain out there by the time we started. I was kind of excited. I like crappy conditions in a weird sort of way. And I think I had my mud legs back. My bike was working, my pressure was dialed. I dressed warm. My Castelli roubaix skinsuit was the bomb, along with leg warmers, base layer and a hat. I know, it is a lot, but I don't think in that weather you can overheat. And I didn't. I was pleasantly warm. My hands and feet were a bit cold, but nothing like I have experienced in the past. And although not the fastest race ever, I rode steady and smooth. Not one crash. It was slippery as can be, but I just rode my race, stayed calm, didn't think about the altitude and finished 6th. Yes, I always want to do better, but considering the stacked field, I was going to take it. I was the 3rd American finisher. That made me feel better about 6th. And it was fun. Until the clean up began. Ughhh. I love racing in mud, but I really despise the clean up.
Muddy & cold. But loving it...

Sunday: New Belgium Cup 2, USGP#4
Totally different weather. Totally different situation. Tim had his own bikes. Course was fast and tacky. Tim battled the lack of oxygen during his race, riding steady and gradually working his way back up to 4th. By a wheel length. Painful to be so close! But a great race and solid finish, keeping him 2nd in the series. 
Tim with his game face (& his own bikes) on Sunday.

I was really nervous for my race. I knew it was going to be fast. Really fast. But the gun went off and I forgot about any concerns I had. I found myself in great position for the hole shot, so I went for it, only to have Mani rocket past on the inside at the last second. Great effort by her, but damn. I didn't quite get it. 
I was shocked at how fast she came up on the inside. Couldn't quite get it.

I knew I had to settle in, so I did and stayed with the group for a long while. I had seen a few people slip out of corners, so perhaps I was a bit too timid. I yo-yo'ed a bit for several laps and could not close the gap to Meredith with the gals in my group. I was being too conservative, not sure how the altitude would shut me down at any moment. I was riding scared. But I rode smart, consistent and tried not red line it too many times. Ultimately, I finished 6th. 19 seconds from a podium. But if I could have, I probably would have gone and chased. I keep thinking, only 4 seconds a lap. I can find that. And I will. I am building still. My starts are improving. And I know the fitness is there. And this time at least I didn't have to run a half a lap like Madison on Sunday. It was Georgia's turn unfortunately. But then again, it is 'cross and anything can happen. And will. Already excited for the next race. I know that is a good sign.
Love that flyover.

Satisfied. Not scared of racing in CO anymore.


Anonymous said...

Good solid job Sue!!! Great to see you in the hunt!

Zephanie said...

Great Job Sue. You are doing awesome !!! Keep it up