The last set of USGP races always comes too soon. But this year they came later with a change of venue. Instead of PIR, they were moved to Bend. I still considered it 'home court advantage', and by the awesome cheering around the course, it did feel like home. THANK YOU OREGON!!! However, I don't think the weather could have been more different than one year ago on the same weekend when we descended upon Bend for nationals. Dusty and dry with sunshine. But it still managed to be cold.
The highlight of the race weekends are often seeing friends, who are like part of your big extended family. This weekend was no exception, when we were graced with an overnight visit in Portland from the Thibault/Simms family. With 2 kids in tow, Wendy and Norm make it look easy and it was fantastic to catch up and spend some time with them. I don't think kids get much cuter than theirs. Seriously.
Friday we headed down to Bend for the usual routine of of pre-ride, number presentation & dinner. It was even better, however, because it was almost like being at home. Ryan is always a brilliant host.
Saturday was cold, but sunny. I made it to the course just in time to see Tim get passed in the last 500 meters of his race and take 2nd. Although a huge disappointment, because the leaders jersey was also on the line, he had an amazing race!
My biggest regret of my race: taking my numbers off my regular skinsuit and putting them on my roubaix. I boiled to death the first two laps of that race. My legs definitely didn't feel as awesome as the prior weekend, but aside from my one big wipe out before the barriers, I had a solid race and finished 5th. I know I was too cautious in the loose corners, but at least I didn't go down more than once. I would risk all on Sunday.
Sunday was cold. I unfortunately had to conserve my energy and not go see Tim take the big "W" for the season finale! Finally a win. He raced smarter than Saturday and pulled it off, taking 2nd in the series.
As for me, I was a bit apprehensive of racing in the cold after my lovely experience in Iowa, but Madison was a month away. I had better get over it. Madison would be cold. I warmed up outside to get the lungs ready for the chill in the air. I was feeling the efforts from the day prior, but who wasn't? The temperature was dropping and when that whistle blew at 2:15, I was in slow motion. My start sucked, but I got back up there. And then my body just wouldn't warm up. Finally by the last lap, I was back on track. Too late to do anything, but I pulled myself back up to 6th. My last lap was 20 seconds faster than my 2nd lap. That is a lot of time. So maybe I need to go do hot laps before the race at nationals to get my body ready to go. The plan is starting to form.
Celebration is always in order at the end of the USGP series, but unfortunately for me, I had to hustle on out of Bend that evening and get ready to get some wisdom teeth extracted on Monday. I'll blame that for my delayed blog. And as I write this, I am usually landing in Belgium to get ready for some Christmas time racing. It has been a different kind of year. But one that is not over yet. There is still some good racing to come.