I cannot honestly say that I was ready or in the most advisable shape to race this race, but regardless of having the same Spring cold that 90% of the population has, I awoke at 5am and made my “Hell Smoothie”.
Maybe it was the psychocross bitch in me who wanted to come out and race in rain, wind, and cold while wearing spandex…I really don’t know.
What I do know is that I lined up as prepared as I was going to be, with the same old bike, with the same old stock wheels and waited to do the dance.
I didn’t buy the sweet ass Colnago that Craig tempted me with when he came for a visit a few weeks ago.
I didn’t glue up my sweet ass 404s.
Aside from my super sweet bar tape and Quarq, I was riding the same bike that I had ridden in my very first crit.
(That race was an effing fiasco, just in case you missed the sobbing, snot-covered mess in a fetal position at the lovely Tilles Crit. Yeah. That mess was me.)
Today, I simply drank a smoothie, strapped on my HRM, signed some paperwork (which Jay filled out for me), rode the course in my jeans (no worries, I pre-rode it on Friday and also have done this one before…), chit-chatted with Kate “The Rockin’ Rocket” Hrubes, and aimed for the podium.
- I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever entered a road crit and aimed for the podium.
- By “aimed for the podium”, you will find it difficult to imagine/believe that I was NOT implying a crash into Buddy and Mike Weiss, but a genuine successful finish in which I and 2 other racers are awarded very exciting medals for our effort/time. Force yourself.
While warming up, I saw a very interesting thing…Tricia Work. (No effing way!!!)
Now, because Trish is an MTB badass, I can only assume that due to the weather forcing The Luau at Lost Valley to be rescheduled, the little badass decided to get her shit on and jump in a crit.
Right the f*ck on, man!
I didn’t care why she was there. Trish is super cool! The girl has mad skills and is wicked chill. I want to be her when/if I grow up.
(When she reads this, she will likely punch me for calling her “Trish” a zillion times.)
Anyhoo, Trish was in my race.
Now while this let me know subtly that this would be no easy race, I was still excited.
One thing here, I trust Trish’s wheel.
I took it.
For a good portion (more than has ever been the case for me), Kate, Suzanne, Trish, and I were the leaders.
We were a tight little pack that seemed like it would stick.
Sadly, I must report that upon Kate’s badass 3rd attack, I fell off. More sadly, this was the 2nd time that I had fallen off on one of her attacks. I had bridged the first time and was not quite yet recovered when she made another jump.
(Here is where I would generally insert catty, girly words at Kate for being a strong bitch, but Kate is not someone who ever does anything wrong to anyone. She’s just a fantastically wonderful human who always has a smile, is always a blast, and would absolutely help me if I asked her to. She’s pretty hard to be a bitch to. It’s also pretty difficult to be a bitch to someone simply for being better at something than you are.)
Kate and I did our very first crit together. Last year, she came back and won it.
I may have mentioned this before, but Kate effing rocks!
Mmmmmkay, so if you are doing the Math, I have Kate and Trish in this race.
I was amazed that I was not mind-fucked, but also completely aware that I was allegedly battling for 3rd.
That was when Kate’s 3rd attack came.
OK. It happened. I dropped of.
Not like I dropped off last year with my head down and defeated while I rode the course kicking the shit out of myself.
Today, I actually just dropped off and worked, but saw Kate churning like a machine and saw the gap getting bigger as my legs dreamed of being grown-up racer legs like Kate’s.
Sweet Joshua on a cracker!
*winks at Leif.*
I refused to soft-pedal and ride around in a circle being completely defeated.
There were still racers to beat and chances that someone ahead would snap or drop off.
(The latter didn’t exactly happen, but the former did, so that was cool.)
Not only did I not DNF or come in DFL, but I actually lapped a racer who was above the age of 9 and regardless of actually liking the racer, I still had to do it.
Not to be a dick, but I did my share of singing cumbaya on the bike last year and I absolutely learned that when the whistle blows (or Buddy says “GO!”), it’s time to race a bike and there are no faces. It’s a race. It’s not personal.
Soooooo, with Jay saying the things that I like to hear in a race and Cristel blowing her air horn, I sprinted to the finish and came in a respectable 6th.
More importantly, I felt simply awesome and was crazy excited.
I loved it!
It was spectacular!
Sure, I had dirt/mud in the crack of my ass and eyes, my socks were soaking wet, and I had blown my nose in my glove…
But for the first time in any crit, I felt really, truly alive and happy.
There was not one thing I could have done differently other than have stronger legs.
I had done everything that Dan and Jay had told me regarding training, nutrition, and hydration and had paid close attention today to myself and those I raced with.
While I absolutely have my work cut out for me, I think I may have actually have finally been bitten by “The Bug”.
I am raising a “magical” berry mixer at the thought as I type this.