Sunday's race was took place at a pumpkin patch. Although I've spent a lot of time in the country, I found it surreal to be out at a farm, cruising around in and out of the rows of horse stalls, while warming up for my race. Reminiscent of 4-H shows of my youth, only this time riding an aluminium steed rather than a living, whinney-ing one. The race course itself was lined in pumpkins. Here are some beautiful images of the day from flickr photographer Ryan Richardson:
Skies were dry when I started, and although the sun felt good, the sun made the mud get stickier and stickier throughout the duration of our race. Parts of the course which were rideable in practice did not remain that way... so I found myself running. And running and running. After the initial shock of getting off the bike and choking for air, I settled into a comfortable rhythm, and actually almost enjoyed the running parts. There was a huge mud pit at the end of the running section- I tried to jump over it but landed in mud nearly to my knees- but a couple steps through that and then it was back to easy cruising across a graveled fire road. Phew.
Toward the end of the second lap, I found myself engaged in a battle with Rachel L. from Team Group Health. She surged past me, and I struggled to keep up but stuck on her wheel for the lap. About 200 yards from the finish, we were lapped by the race leaders which meant we were on our last lap, too. I stood up, cranked on the pedals with my last remaining strength,and edged past Rachel, beating her by 2 seconds. She is a super strong competitor on the road- I actually have never even come close to finishing with her- so I was excited to be right there at the finish line with her. Anyhow, that put me in 9th place, my first top ten of the season, for both road and CX. Woo hoo! CX is FUN!