Winning at house tours and joy riding CX

The week approaching Hyattsville CX, I was finally feeling ready to race. I had my bike re-cabled, my wheels finally converted from my mountain bike and set up, and I was recovered from both the SM100 and chaos the end of fiscal year proposal season, known to most as simply September. But as it turns out, schlepping all over the northwest quadrant of Chester County Pennsylvania on an unseasonably hot day trying to see as many historic homes as possible in 7 hours is not a great way to spend the day before a race. However, the only alternative was to skip the race all together. Skipping the house tour was not an option. My parents have been asking me and my husband to come with them for several years, and have been disappointed every time we missed it, including the year we decided to get married instead.

So finally, there we were, sweating our way across walking tours of both West Chester and Coatesville, winding along back roads in the car, chasing my dad down gravel driveways through the woods, and climbing long steep hills in the countryside. The final count was 13 houses. I think you would be hard-pressed to find another group that covered as much ground as we did that day. After 30+ years of Chester County Day, my parents are seriously pro. By about 5:30 p.m. we were finally able to put our feet up and drink what was probably a little too much wine. Overall, it was a pretty good day.

Race morning started out with the drive back to D.C. from PA and I was having trouble wrapping my mind around racing. Part of me wanted to head straight home. Kind of a big part of me, but I did my best to ignore it. The start list for my race included many of the usual names, plus NUE series champion Cheryl Sornson. Quite the reminder of the level of racing I am attempting to take part in. Maybe eventually this stuff will stop intimidating me, but for now I feel completely out of my league. As usual, on the start line, I told my husband that maybe I didn’t really need to race today, and as usual he said yes you do. I wonder how many races I might skip for waffles and beer if he wasn’t there?

Photo by Bruce Buckley

Photo by Bruce Buckley

My race wasn’t particularly eventful. It was hot and dusty, which had been the norm so far this cross season after a very wet and cool mountain bike season. My favorite part was the sketchy part in the woods that people either love or hate. It was the opposite direction from last year, which I think I liked better, but I can’t totally decide. I ended up 10th out of 12. Not bad considering the competition, but I feel like I have a better race in me, and that I am just riding and not really racing. I have two races this weekend, so none of this waiting an ENTIRE week for my next race, and thanks to the remnants of Tropic Storm Karen (that is right, Tropical Storm ME) we should be done with this dry dusty business.

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