With Jake, Kenny and I racing both Masters and Elite National Championships, Richie Rich had his work cut out for him with 5 different races throughout the week.
As we arrived to find our compound already set up, Sprinter van and extra heater at the ready, the buzz from the course was something like “frozen solid into sheets of ice with snow on top”. The hourly temperature watch began, with speculation by all regarding conditions on the day and hour of each race. Perfect cross conditions in other words for our team, requiring the ability to read the course, pick lines and concoct strategy. Straw was set down in our compound by Rich, to prevent slipping on the ice underneath!
For my Masters race, at 11AM on Thursday, the ground was frozen solid and icy with large patches of snow and small patches of earth showing through. My first thought was AWESOME! The more tricky and treacherous, the better I can do, probably because I spent some years as a child racing a trials moto and scaring myself to death trying to “clean” rocky cactusy “traps” in the desert southwest.
For a gallery of the day’s conditions, check out http://www.cyclingdirt.org/photoalbum/447933-2013-CX-Nationals-Day-2
You get the picture, maybe too cold to be Euro Cross conditions, but they suited me just fine!
My strategy was to take the hole shot and have my choice at perfect lines, most importantly on the first hill where the usual line would be slick and off camber. My line would be the snow at the side which would provide perfect traction for my Kenda Kwickers at 23 psi. From there it would be a matter of staying focussed and not making mistakes. I received a call right before the race that my 97 year old Granddad had been admitted to hospital after a routine checkup indicated lethal blood sodium levels and the on call Dr. was saying she didn’t see him recovering. A quick text and my teammate Jenn Smith back in Colorado generously booked me a standby fare on the first flight out after my race, and I rededicated my focus to the race with my best efforts on behalf of my Granddad. ( Granddad has bounced back, is out of hospital and back to eating and drinking, something he apparently forgets due to Pakinsons or Dementia).
In a rare occurrence, the plan I made was actually what happened during the race! I got the hole shot and got my first gap on the hill when I rode the snow and the other women slipped on the more obvious line. My concentration was pretty good until near the end of the last lap. My mind wandered for a moment, thinking forward to the podium, and I slipped out so fast on the ice that neither my hands nor my feet left the bike. Crack! My butt cheek broke my tailbone I fell on it so hard (of course discovered later off the bike). Our SUPER host Jon was standing right there on course to see me go down too. Fortunately I had a big enough gap and my bike still worked (bent hanger but was able to work with it) that I was able to take my second National Champ jersey in Masters Cyclocross!
To cap off (well almost, we still have Worlds) a great season for the whole team, Jake and Kenny had stellar races for 3rd and 7th! I will let them tell you about it race reports to come! AND of course we are very proud of Mical for winning Canadian National Championships and gaining a berth to Elite Worlds!
On our grassroots side, Brianne Marshall pulled off an incredible 2nd in Master 30-34, and Walt Axthelm also 2nd in Master 70+. Nina Baum was on hand herding cats, helping with us and the Get Out! juniors Tiziana, Haley and Taylor. It was a full week and a spectacular showing for the Stan’s NoTubes crew. Thanks to all who made it happen!! www.notubesracing.com