Monday, October 24, 2011

MFG Raceway Cyclo-crash fest

This weekend's race was a tough one. The women's field started out with a crash right at the starting line- it sounded awful, that unmistakable sound of carbon hitting carbon and pedals caught in wheels.  My teammates steered clear and in fact capitalized on it- Tina took the hole shot and didn't look back.  Brianne had a really fast start, too.  Theresa got caught up a little in it but fought her way out and caught with the race leaders within the first 200 meters.  All four of us were in the top 10 for most of the first lap.

I was on Theresa's tail until the stairs, which had a really slippery approach and a tricky remount.  I tried to run up the rest of the hill to the flat part, but found it to be super slippery and I couldn't quite get up there so I just kept running across the hill until it flattened out enough to remount.  I looked up and Theresa was a good 25 yards ahead of me, pedaling away in the distance- smooth and collected.

Things started to get tricky in the second lap. Two masters racers in front of me lost balance and went sliding down the hill into my wheels.  I went down on top of one of them, but he seemed ok and I was too.  I popped up and got back on, only losing a spot or two.  Towards the middle of the lap, it became painfully evident that I still wasn't fully over this cold/ flu crap I spent Friday and Saturday fighting. I just didn't have any gas and couldn't respond when girls passed me.  I settled down and just focused on riding my own race and being ok with where I was at.  I found two girls in a similar spot and traded leads with them, much like last weekend.  I love how in cx, no matter where you are or what kind of day you're having, you can find someone to battle with!

 I finally passed both of them and was holding my own by the middle of my third lap when I heard the race leaders behind me, which meant that I was only going to get three laps in today.  Two men came past me and that kind of lit a fire under my ass, so after they were safely past, I took off and went for broke for the finish.  I picked off a couple more ladies and was feeling great heading into the tricky off camber section, sticking with my fast, low line on the right of the course. WHAM!  Someone way bigger than me who was moving much faster than I slammed into me from behind.  I tumbled off my bike and landed on my head, trying to roll out of it but accomplishing more of a neck pinching body crumple than a roll.  I never actually saw who it was, but by the time I got up and  shook it off, I was by myself.  I got back on my bike and pedaled around the fence into the last two stretches before the finish, but I was definitely done racing by that point. 

I was pretty shaken up afterwards. This was really the first time I have ever felt scared in a cx race- I find that most crashes that happen in front of you are easy to avoid, or at least mitigate, so I don't fear that scenario.  It is a different story when someone mows you over from behind-  there is no warning and no time to respond.  My SCCA teammates were fantastic and accommodating of my emotional state post race.  I spent the rest of the weekend quite sore, but I'll be ready to go again next weekend.

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