That's a Wrap!

All my blog posts start the same, so there's no denying I'm not the best blogger these days.  I used to blog all the time, write race reports, etc.  Now I just don't feel I can write the same race report over and over again.  I started quite a few blog posts, and never posted them, so then I deleted it, started over to update where I was in the season, never posted it, and well now...it's over.  

So I'm here to write a season recap, and lets start with the first weekend in Rochester, NY.  

I actually have chosen to forget this weekend.  This was the weekend where I asked myself why I race this sport, and then I questioned my entire season.  In case you missed it...it was about 95 degrees and 400% humidity (or so it felt), basically New York tried to roast my insides.  

After Rochester I flew home to be at home for a weekend before heading to Vegas to for...THE WORLD CUP!  The first ever World Cup outside of Europe.  That event was probably the most special event I have raced in my entire CX career.  I feel SO privileged to have raced it, and because of that I think I put the biggest dig in a CX race I have ever done!  I came away so close to the top ten, but finished lucky number 13.  Straight from Vegas I drove to Reno with Mical Dyck and we raced in Teal Stetson Lee's even, "Cross Reno".  Probably one of the hardest CX races I have ever done.  It was hot, it was at altitude, and it was CHALLENGING!  I flew home on an early flight straight to SEA-Tac where I raced a local race after Chris picked me up from the airport.  

Photo: Motofish

Photo: Motofish

After that, I flew to the East Coast for my biggest trip yet!  I raced Gloucester, and it was dry and dusty, and my mental attitude was low and high.  It's never REALLY my favorite race of the year.  After that, we went to Providence, one of my favorite courses.  Unfortunately the course changed quite a bit, and I didn't like it as much as years past.  This was the weekend where I realized the season wasn't going to be as delicious and golden as I wanted, and I knew I needed a new attitude to make it through to the end.  Truthfully, between you (the internet world) and I, I wanted to call it quits because fun wasn't being had.  I added more smiles for miles and after that my season made a turn around!  

Photo: Dave McElwaine

Photo: Dave McElwaine

From the East Coast I flew to Madison, WI for the Trek CXC Cup, a twisty and dusty course, but always a fun one.  I had a solid day of racing for the C1, and was extremely satisfied.  Day 2 left me with a punctured tire after hitting a very sharp rock on one of the downhills.  Having some hip issues I opted out of running to the pits, and called it quits for the day since I knew Europe was the next weekend.  

Photo: Jeff Corocan

Photo: Jeff Corocan

From Madison, Wisconsin I flew to Belgium to race the Valkenburg World Cup.  I came out to this race to experience a new race course, go to Belgium at a different time of year and test my ability to sleep.  My trip over went flawlessly.  Stayed with the most lovely of friends and had a great trip over.  The race was unfortunate because I flatted and didn't realize it until literally right after the pit exit.  Fear of ruining my rim, I ran all the way back to the pits, and that was a LONG run, and a very sad day for me.  I was pretty upset with the flat, I wanted a really good result, but alas fate got the best of me.  I had a very positive attitude coming out of this race.  Valkenburg brought back my love of the sport.  Racing a new course to me, something challenging and awesome, and having a fantastic trip to Europe really helped with my smiles. 

Photo: Bart Raeymaekers

Photo: Bart Raeymaekers

I had 2 weeks at home (finally) after being on the road for 26 days.  It was a great chance to re-group and spend time with Chris and Nugget (my adorable kitty).  

Those 2 weeks went up quickly and it was time to pack it up and head to the midwest for the Pan Am's and Louisville weekends.  Chris had the chance to come with me to Cincinnati, so that was very special.  Saturday I had an unfortunate twist of luck and went sailing down the camel in a wonderful fashion.  Then my legs got tired and lost power.  Unfortunate result for a C1.  The following day was another favorite course of mine, the Continental Championships!  This course is so much fun!!!  I had such a blast, my legs felt the previous days efforts, but I couldn't walk away sad finishing 7th on the day.  

Photo: Yet Another Bike Photo Facebook Page

Photo: Yet Another Bike Photo Facebook Page

The next weekend in Louisville is another course favorite of mine.  Last year we raced under the lights, one of my all time favorite ways to race, this year we raced more at dusk, a very terrible time to race when the daylight is shifting from being able to see, to not being able to see.  I believe we call it twilight?  I still had a blast and finished 5th.  I was super stoked with a 5th place finish.  The next day during pre-ride a Junior boy pulled a U-turn in front of me and I pulled my hamstring.  I opted to sit out the race and let the hammy rest for the next couple weekends of racing.  

Friends make the world go 'round

Friends make the world go 'round

After 10 days in the midwest I went home rested my hammy on the couch and raced a local UCI race in Tacoma!  I love being able to race in front of the home town crowd, the cheers and heckles from the Hodala crowd is like nothing you will experience anywhere else.  

Photo: Woodinville Bike

Photo: Woodinville Bike

The weekend after that I traveled South to CXLA - Long Beach Edition.  Racing in LA is always really hard for me.  It's a mental struggle every single time.  I struggle in the heat and the dusty dry conditions.  And as expected, the weekend was a rough one on Saturday, but I turned it around on Sunday and I'm happy to say I had  solid day on the bike.  

Photo: PB Creative 

Photo: PB Creative 

Home for 10 days before heading out to Iowa City for JINGLE CROSS!  My favorite race of the year!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this race SO much!  I love the course, I love the scene, and John Meehan does the absolute  BEST job at promoting this event.  He gets the entire community wrapped up in Jingle Cross and I love it.  This race is usually always my best race of the year.  Not sure if it's the course, or what it is, but I always do best at Jingle Cross.  This year we were graced with not 1 but 3 FULL days of mud, and it was awesome. 

Photo: Mauro Heck

Photo: Mauro Heck

On the hunt for better C2 points, I came home from Jingle and went to Dallas, TX for the Resolution Cup where the rains fell and the mud is clay.  I had a great showing on Day 1, taking my first (and only) UCI win of the season.  Day 2 was a little bit more of a struggle and my legs felt the previous day, finishing in 3rd.  

I arrived home Sunday night from Texas, and quickly unpacked to pack up again to head to Belgium the following Wednesday (2 days later).  Per Murphy's Law I got sick on Tuesday, travelled all day Wednesday to arrive in Belgium on Thursday feeling yucky pants and not being able to breathe.  Trying to make the best out of a not so great situation, I convinced myself it would be okay, and I wasn't THAT sick!  Namur wasn't the prettiest of pretty races for myself, but I finished and I'm proud of that, because the past years well...they where even uglier!  Hoping Zolder would be better with more time to relax and recover, my legs did feel better, but my result wasn't all that much better.  Not really sure what happened there. 

Photo: Tom Prenen This climb...every time ouch

Photo: Tom Prenen

This climb...every time ouch

Leaving it all out there in Zolder

Leaving it all out there in Zolder

Photo: Luc Van Der Meiren

Photo: Luc Van Der Meiren

Came home the day after Zolder, celebrated Christmas with Chris and relaxed and rested before Nationals.  I felt I did everything right when I got home.  Didn't work much, slept in, relaxed, didn't ride too much.  The Wednesday after that (10 days later) I packed up the bags again to head to Asheville, NC for NATIONALS!!!!

Nationals gets a post of it's own.  :-P