Have I ever mentioned how much I love racing in the dark? I am pretty sure racing in the night under the lights is my all time favorite type of racing. Come to think of it, I believe some of my best results have come from me racing in the dark.
I know it has been far too long since I last posted an update about my life, so why not talk racing. First things first, I never mentioned my team! I'm racing for Rock Lobster, out of Santa Cruz, California. I was waiting to make this announcement until I received my bikes so I could post pretty pictures, but I don't have those yet and I want to share my joy with all of you! I feel so lucky and privileged to get to race with such an awesome group of people on such awesome and beautiful bikes.
It is pretty safe to say, cyclocross season is here and I'm ready to rock. I have my first race out of the way along with my first UCI race done! My debut race this season was the MFG opener at Big Finn Hill in Kirkland, and I barely squeezed out a win in front of my pal Jess, who is stronger than ever and has been working hard on improving her techy skills, and it shows! I then raced the Men Cat3 race to finish a solid 13th of 50, pretty good. I'm glad I raced the double race day, as it cleared out the cob webs from my lungs and got my legs under me for Starcrossed the following weekend!
No matter how much anxiety racing causes me, I still go back for more. I won't lie and say the past month I have thought about quitting and taking the easy way out and changing my lifestyle from a bike racer to.....well.....something else. I ask myself, is all this anxiety worth it? Is the pressure worth it? I then quickly remind myself, abso-freakin-lutely. The spectators, the silliness, the pain cave, the fans, the pros, the achievement, the ability to push myself beyond the imaginable, is all worth it. This is me, this is what I want, this is what I'm going for. To answer my question "is the anxiety worth it"? The four days of anxiety in my chest, the rapid heart beat, the self talk, the day dreams of racing wondering how I will match up, it's all so worth it. I am so lucky to be where I am today.
Starcrossed. The anxiety. The line up. The front row.
I had a great start, second wheel after the first turn, stayed second or third wheel for the first half of the race. I realized, I can do this, I can rock this freakin' sport. After about 25 minutes the front groupo dwindled down to 3, then it was 2, myself and Gabby Day (erg, I heard she got married....). A little before 2 laps to go Gabby's crazy strong legs, superwoman lungs, and incredible cross skills out powered me. Behind me about 15 seconds was a three (then two women) groupo chasing hard! I knew the best I could do was hold them off, since with every turn Gabby was putting seconds into me, she wasn't catchable. I spent the last two laps of the race pressing hard, trying not to crack, doing my best to hold off a fast charging Mical Dyck and Sue Butler. I came across the line in 2nd, barely holding Mical off (6 seconds)!
A few things to highlight from race night. First things first, the crowds, the cheering, the people, my homies, my pals, my family!!! My hometown competitors and their children yelling my name, Alex over the mic, the beer garden spectators, people yelling split times. Every
where along the course someone was yelling my name and cheering for me. YOU are the reason I can keep going and keep pressing on, so thank you. Thank you to everyone for all your continued support!!!
Secondly, I feel so lucky to have been at the front of this race. In the 45 minutes of racing I learned SO much about racing, and about my racing! I have Gabby to thank for this (and she probably has no idea)! First of all, I don't pedal enough. Never stop pedaling, always press on. I realized I was coasting on some of the bumpy stuff, and that's silly because every time you don't pedal, you lose a second, before you know it, you're gapped. Pedal through turns, I need to work on pedaling through turns. I also need to work on going harder when I am already going hard. There's a very large difference between a World Cup racer and myself when it comes to cross specific skills. Things to work on, be smooth and be fast. Gabby was off her bike and on her bike in one fair swoop, extremely smooth and very talented, I'm so lucky to have had the chance to race with her, it showed me things I need to work on that racing locally doesn't do.
Since a disappointing race at nationals last year I have wanted to come back with vengeance this season, get better results, and find a sponsor and a team. The best thing I knew I had to do to take it up a level was hire a coach, so I'm happy to say Kristi Berg has taken on the task to help me this season, we have been working together since August and I am so excited to see how the rest of the season will pan out. She knows her stuff and is such a positive person to be around, I can already tell she is going to help drastically with rest and specific workouts, mid season peaks, and nationals. Thank you Kristi!!!!!!!!
The following day was Chris's and my 1 year anniversary. So naturally, we had the breakfast of champions....cake and coffee. MMMMMMMMMMMM