John and I headed out to Indiana for Thanksgiving to see his family. While in Indiana, we did some riding on the Rum Village trails. I felt like we were offending people by showing up there on ‘cross bikes, but the trails were SO FUN. Also, great practice for my next two races…
My goal for the MABRA Championships was to have a good start and see what happened. Turns out that having a good start is pretty helpful. I had a front row starting position and went into the first lap in the top 3. I dropped back to maybe 5th and tried to keep the front group in sight. One girl flatted. Then two of the women ahead of me slipped out on the same off-camber section on different laps. I passed them. One passed back, but slipped out again on the next lap. I thanked my tires for holding me on that hill without a problem. The course was a constant, flat, all out effort with little breaking, slowing, recovery, or technical sections. I didn’t love the course, but I finished the race in second place. Even more exciting was that I caught up to the last of the elite field that started ahead of us.
Capital ‘Cross was the following weekend and was on of the races I had been looking forward to the most this season for a few reasons. Mainly because the Bike Lane hosts the race, it takes place in a park near my office where I run and mountain bike, and it’s an awesome course.
I spent all morning Saturday helping to set up the course. The work we had done two weeks ago really made Saturday much easier. I spent a good portion of the morning on “the Chute,” helping to set up and clear the series of turns that would slow riders down enough so that it wasn’t a dive bomb down the hill like last year. I didn’t really mind the dive bomb, but the new chute was much improved.
Fast forward to race morning. I had a great start off the line, but I’m still working on balancing a great start with a great finish, so I didn’t fight too hard to stay in the top 5 during the first lap. I lost a few positions in the first lap, but I gradually worked my way back up until I was solidly in third place and closing the gap around every turn.
On the beginning of the last lap, I passed into second. However, shortly after I passed, I realized that I didn’t create much of a gap going into a long paved section. I was not going to pull this girl all the way to the run-up so I let up a bit knowing that she would pass. As expected, she went around and I jumped on her wheel. I was going all out to stay with her, but it was better than going all out with her on MY wheel.
I stayed behind her for the rest of the lap and decided that I might need to wait until the final road stretch and pass her in a sprint. I shifted into my big ring as I came off the last hill and started picking it up before I made the final turn. I worked my way up to her, sprinted my butt off, and passed her.
This second place somehow felt much better than the last one. Last race, I felt like I sort of just got lucky because my competition flatted and fell. This time, I legitimately beat one of my newest nemeses who I always kind of saw as some elusive fast girl that I would always be finishing behind. As it turns out, she is really just a normal person who has her own strengths and weaknesses in bike racing, and like everyone else I meet at these races, she is super nice. Darn those super nice people!
I was also only 9 seconds behind first place. If I had done each of my remounts one second faster, I could have been sprinting for first. Sounds like SOMEONE needs to keep practicing!
Even post-race tear down was kind of fun. We got to fill our new truck with all sorts of stuff. However, it was sad to see the course go. I wish ‘cross courses could last more than a day.