November 3, 2009

A weekend of Cyclocross in Astoria

A double header of Cross Crusade is a full weekend in and of its self.  Through some rain, wind and Halloween into the mix and you are sure to have a party!

The Sunnyside Team was out in full force this weekend, many of us spending the weekend at a house in Seaside, sharing stories, meals and Rad Racing (Thanks Matt).

Friday night the rain started to fall and although it subsided slightly on Saturday, the deluge from the night before made for slippery, sloping racing… just the way we like it!

The course on Saturday contained a little bit of everything and was the first race of the season that really epitomized cyclocross.  Fast downhills, technical off camber 180s, slippery slopes, sloppy run-ups, quad-burning climbs, barns, grass, and a lot of mud.

We all slipped and slide all over the course, the best lines changing with each lap.  The start was fast.  I got off the line well and took the lead.  I stayed up front for at least a lap before getting passed by a couple girls and settling into 3rd position. 

Wendy had a mechanical in the 2nd or 3rd lap and had to run to the pit, giving me the chance to move into 2nd place.  Megan was right on my heels and it was a hard fought battle for the second position.  With 3 laps to go, Megan got past me on a downhill section, but I was able stay with her and with 2 to go, I got a burst of energy and was about to put some room between the two of us.  I held the gap through the finish… smiling.

Don and Ben had been yelling me throughout the race and found me at the finish. 

Covering in mud, I gave Ben a kiss.  He didn’t seem to care that my entire face was plastered with dirt.

Don came over and gave me a hug.  I got his clean Sunnyside Jersey all dirty, but he didn’t seem to care.
Happy with that?  He Asked.
All I could do was smile!

Check out the Velonews recap photos.

I raced hard on Saturday.  Much harder than I had on Saturdays before at the Willamette Valley Series Races and on Sunday my legs remembered what I had put them through the day before.   

The field stacked and adorned with Halloween costumes; even Sue Butler was dressed up for the occasion.  The course had changed, the conditions had changed, the weather had changed; but the goal remained the same.  Get off the line fast, ride fast, then ride faster, be smart, stay upright and ride with the big girls.  

I got off the line well, focused on the sweeping left hand turn in front of us.  Right before the turn I heard a crazy sound.  Had my tire just exploded?  Had somebody crashed?  Had I just taken someone out?  I still don’t know what that sound was, never the less, it caused me to pause, loose my concentration and a couple of spots, right from the start. 

I chased up the first hill, trying to hang with Wendy, Sue and Alice.  There was a pack of about 8 of us going into the first barrier section.  I was right behind Rhonda; I needed to stay right there.
Through the technical muddy corners I passed a couple of girls, only to passed right back. 

I was trying to hang, but my legs weren’t responding to the instructions I was silently yelling at them.  On the bumping up-hill traverse, I tried to hammer;I should have been able to make up some ground… but all I could do was hold on.

Through the barns, I focused on nailing the corners and tried to accelerate on the straight-aways.  I was riding fast, but not fast enough. 

Come on legs. 

I saw Ben as the barns, Come on, get up there. He yelled.

I’m trying......

I was tired.  With 3 laps to go, I knew I was tired.  It was a realization that I had not yet experienced this year.  I was riding well, but not as well as I know I could.  I tried to punch it on the uphills, charge out of the corners, and take the technical sections smoothly, but it wasn’t enough to bridge the gap up to the girls in front of me.

Just hold on Bishop.

I crossed the line in 7th position.  I raced hard, as hard as I could.  I pushed the pedals as fast as my legs would allow.  Saturday I had given everything, on Sunday I tried to do it again.  7th place was my everything on Sunday…. And I was proud of it. 

I am proud of the way I have been racing this year. 
I am proud of the time and effort I have dedicated to my cycling. 
I am proud of the decisions I have made that allow me to smile every time I get on my bicycle. 
I am proud of the determination it takes to stand at the starting line every week. 

Cyclocross Nationals are only 6 weeks way. 

This week I am going to follow the advice of a good friend.

Remember the word REST.... Promise? 

I promise.