Sea Otter Classic – CX

April 21, 2012
Sea Otter Classic Cyclocross – Monterey, CA

I am such a weekend warrior now! Flying out on Friday night after work and getting picked up by my Team Manager, Shannon Gibson in Monterey, CA brought back times I already miss.

I had yet to see my team this year and I have really missed everyone! Not racing out of state yet this year has been my choice. I have had a lot of readjusting to do in my life and I am trying to give myself the time to do that. I am letting my body adapt to a new life and in doing so I cannot push, although the athlete in me wants to. Instead, I must rely on 10 years of fitness and a passion for my sport to get me through for the moment. I must go easy on myself and Stan’s NoTubes has been totally on board with this process. I cannot thank them enough for the emotional support they have given me during an extremely rough period in my life. Their understanding and flexibility have not gone unnoticed!!

Once at the team house in Carmel, CA seeing my team for the first time was AWESOME. Talking about bikes, racing, and all the rest was incredibly welcome and really I must admit……fun. I appreciated the time spent with them that night as I was only going to be there a little more than 24 hours!

Saturday morning was your typical hustle bustle packing the necessities for a day at the venue while trying to get to the venue early as possible. Sea Otter is jam packed and it’s not a like a typical venue where you can roll up to your team tent in your car. You fight traffic to the raceway, in the raceway and then if you aren’t so lucky you may have to park far away too. Walking in the venue is crazy as well because you are fighting salmon (others who are walking the other way) while trying to make it to your team tent. It is a great event for everyone but you have to allow the extra time to get around!

Once under the Stan’s NoTubes tent it was GREAT to see Cindy, Mike and Rich again. It had been since the cross season since I’d seen Rich and the last time I saw Mike and Cindy was in Windham for the World Cup MTB race last June. It had been WAY too long!

With time to spare until my evening cyclocross race I found plenty to do at the Sea Otter venue. There is no shortage of running into people and doing things at this event which makes it fun! One of the things on the agenda was being a part of the Ladies Lounge under the SRAM tent. That was a very COOL event put together by Rebecca Rusch.

It was an awesome gathering of successful women racers in all the various disciplines ranging from Slalom, Road, MTB Endurance events, Downhill, Track, Cross country, MTB Stage racing and Cyclocross. It was set up as a Q and A with other ladies who came to ask questions about training, fueling, racing and all the rest about riding your bike. It was a very successful event!

But because I was hanging around and having fun I lost track of my “window” for getting my pre-race meal down the hatch and ended up fueling my race with the Kettle Corn!!!! I am seriously taking things to a whole new level of ridiculousness now!

I really didn’t mean for it to happen like that but it did and I was suddenly part of my own experiment. At this point eating my normal pre-race meal (you know….the one I have used for almost 10 years – ya that one) was out of the question because I didn’t want to over stuff myself. Oh boy. Kettle Corn was going to have to do!

After Jimmy, our team mechanic and the rest of the boys, Kenny, Mike and Rich had my Ridley cross bike working flawlessly I went to check out the course and it was WAY fun. Pretty impressive for a first time non UCI cyclocross race at Sea Otter!! If only they had not sent the course next to a wall of tires (it was near the actual Laguna Seca raceway) I would still have all the skin left on my right knee!! Nothing like sticking your knee out while trying to catch your balance and leaving DNA sample behind! I didn’t feel it until after the race, thank heavens. Ouch!!

After getting a lap in on the course, the small field of 8 Elite ladies headed to the line. Some of them I hadn’t seen since Chris’s diagnosis and their thoughts, warm energy and kind words meant a lot to me. This is such a great sport to be a part of for that very reason – we are all in this together!

As we lined up, some of us had fresher legs than others from previous racing in the day and weekend. Like a typical race, we took off like a shot and I was in about 5th position heading into the first set of barriers….not bad considering my warm up was sub par. Doh! I need to get serious and soon! I was able to make a pass after the barriers and dangle off the back of the blue Luna train in fourth. But that was going to be as good as it got today because the dangling didn’t last long before I found myself in no mans land after leaving my DNA on the tires. Mad at myself for bobbling, I fought like crazy to get back on, closed some but never reattached. I felt surprisingly good out there for this being the first cross race since December! I cannot say the same for the cross skills though. Not sure where those disappeared too in 4 months’ time??? I just couldn’t handle the bike around any corner to save my life!! Barriers were fine, running sections and dismounts were fine too so I guess I should be happy that those skills didn’t disappear as well!

After it was all said and done I came across the line in 4th place not to far off third. I was happy with the effort considering the lead up to the race! And yes, the Kettle Corn stayed down with no problem. The experiment was complete and successful (thank heavens!!)!!

A big thanks to all my sponsors for their love and support!

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