December 16, 2010

Cyclocross Nationals - 2010. A great end to a great season!

Photo: Brian Bulemore
Clothes changed, mud boots on, burrito in hand, the 2010 Cyclocross Season had come to a close; at least for me.  Matt and Damian had one more race - the Men's Elite Championship Race - and I was fueling up to be Spectator Extraordinaire. The infield was packed, 10,000 people strong, for the biggest race of the season. 

I turned around when I heard  my name.
First came the bear hug and then the smile!
You looked like you belonged out there.
Damn Swift, you know how to make me smile. 

Photo: Brian Bulemore
For the second year in a row, Bend hosted the best party on earth, Cyclocross Nationals! And I got to be a part of it.

This muddy, pain filled circus called cyclocross; it gets in your blood, it infects your spirit; you just can't shake it.  The entirety of Bend seems to embrace 'cross, and under direction of Cassondra, the art community joined forces with the bike community and put on a fantastic show.  Oh, but there was racing too!

The Sunnyside Team attacked Cross Nationals with speed and the team was out in full force.  We had a sweet set-up, the tent right along the course tape, with full views of the infield, stairs, and flyover.  Don raced first, bright and early on Thursday morning and had one of his "best races ever".  Renee finished 10th in a uber competitive masters field and Karen stood on the podium once again.
Damian finished 4th in his Masters Race and made me cry, again.  

I would race twice - Friday it was my first attempt; I had set lofty goals and, in hindsight, put way too much pressure on myself.  The competition was strong and I raced well, but not well enough; not my best.

My emotions were a roaster-coaster as I tired to process the race.  After 24 hours of marinating in a bit of self-wallow, I found some wise words.

Get over yourself Bishop

Sunday was a new day, another chance, a clean slate.  No pressure, just race.  Be honored and excited to be lining up with Katie and Sue and Georgia. Starting in the 10th row, I didn't have the start line jitters. I couldn't even see the start line.  The crowd was huge, my family was there, and the sun was shining.  The course was nasty, peanut-butter like mud, power sucking, fabulous!  My kind of course.  The whistle blew and we were off - and I was ready.

I don't remember much about the race, except that we did 5 laps, it hurt alot, and whenever my legs began to scream I stood up and pedaled harder.

I crossed the finish line, grinning ear to ear.  Friday had been a tough day for me.  Expectations went unrealized.  Disappointment struck harder than I had imagined.  I second guessed myself and what I was doing.  Sunday was a new day, another chance, a clean slate - and I had taken full advantage.  27th.  That was rad!  Ben and Papa were at the finish line.  I felt like I had just won; because, it did.  I raced my best race of the year, at Nationals!  That's the way it is supposed to work, right?

Damian, making me cry, again.  Photo: Heidi Swift
Team Sunnyside - Killing it!  Photo: Matthew Lasala

Pre-Race Words of Kindness Photo: Matthew Lasala

In the pain cave, but loving it!

Photo: Brian Bulemore

Me & Katie!  Thanks Karen.....