As most of everyone knows, I travelled to the East Coast for two whole weeks to do some bike racing! Really, the thing that brought me out here was seeing pictures and videos from the races last year and I thought "wow look at all that mud, I want to race there". So, when planning my race schedule I knew a trip out East was a MUST! The only problem was the whole financial thing, truthfully I shouldn't be spending my money on plane tickets and luggage to race my bike as a "hobby". At the end of August I looked up tickets and saw round trip I could fly to Boston and back for about $350. I sat on this for awhile, I ho hummed over the whole thing, and then one morning before work I shut my eyes, bit my tongue and purchased the tickets with the thought "these tickets aren't going to get any cheaper". I decided to take a risk hoping that somewhere along the way I would be able to do some fundraising to cover the costs of the ticket (which thank you to all your generosity, it has been covered).
My dear and ever so excited friend Dave P. set me up with some host housing in New Hampshire. After re-organizing myself from Vegas I ended up unpacking just to pack again and take a red eye flight to Boston on Wednesday night. Thank goodness for Big Daddy McFadden, who flies like it's going out of style, he gave me all the tips and tricks to sleeping on a plane and getting on East Coast time STAT. Since I was trying to find the cheapest tickets possible, I booked a red eye flight out of Seattle for Wednesday night. My flight went pretty well, I was somewhere in that half-ass sleep mode, and then all of the sudden we were landing. When I booked my ticket I envisioned empty rows after empty rows, thinking "who in their right mind takes a red eye", so I figured I would have 3 seats to stretch out and sleep on. Turns out I was dreaming up a false reality and everyone else is just as cheap as I am, the flight was 100% full and any form of stretching and real sleep, well that didn't happen. We landed in Boston just as the sun was cresting out of the Atlantic Ocean, which was the first for me to see.
In a comatose state after exiting the plane, I found my luggage, which I am sure is a site to see for spectators around me. Picture this....one bike box, one checked bag (not small by any means), one carry on messenger bag and one little person to carry it all, I'm sure it's quite something to witness. I sat around the airport entertaining people with all my luggage, and waited for the bus to come pick me up, only to wait at the bus station for my host housing to then officially pick me up! After being picked up we went directly to the bike shop that they own (right on!) to put together my bike. I so wish that I remembered how to put my bike back together, because that morning was one for the books. I was lacking in sleep, brains, and any kind of confidence. I couldn't put my derailuer back on correctly and then once someone helped me put it on, I couldn't get it to shift into all the gears. So in my Courtenay manner I sat there twisting the barrel, when inwalks who...not going to say names but our convo went something like this:
"Wow, you're doing your own mechanic work"
"yea...and I'm having issues"
"You need a mechanic with you. Don't you think it's kind of...like...low class to work on your own bike"
"...um...well...you gotta do what you gotta do"
I had this joke with my dad before I was married, saying how my income was low class, and I was low class (thanks Chris for putting us in the middle class category now). I called myself low class because my income is minuscule, but my dad always corrected me, saying I wasn't low class. So to actually be called low class, while I was sleep deprived, and while I am traveling on my own (which has it's own issues in itself and is very difficult), well that was a low blow and left me in tears, not the best way tostart the trip. Thankfully after this I was able to grab some lunch and go take a nap to catch back up on some lost sleep.
Lets fast forward to race day on the East Coast. Here is what I noticed...not much is different on the East Coast versus West Coast. A cyclocross community is a cyclocross community no matter where you are, and people will take you under their wings no matter who you are. I was welcomed with open arms, like I was one of their own, to the Gus'/Raleigh Cyclocross team for the weekend. Everyone was so friendly and inviting, I felt like I was right at home, thanks guys!!! I can't say how appreciative I am for all of their help, cheers, and general awesomeness. I even found myself a mechanic that could pit me for me, and he was the best. I asked him if he could come home with me and travel to all the races, but I guess he has a job or something? He did everything and was the most fantastic person to have around for the weekend (well everyone was, but he helped a lot)! Thank You Erin! Jeff (the owner of Gus') was even kind enough to lend me a demo bike from the shop as a pit bike, incase something went terribly wrong.
Remember how last year I travelled and raced around to get UCI points, well not only where those awesome for Nationals, but this year I got a 2nd row call up. Pretty awesome if you ask me! So we lined up under the bright sunny sky and warm air (oh and a very dusty course) and started up a nice long pavement section with a right hander onto the grass. The first day I thought I was being all sly and moved up the right side on the pavement only to find out why no one was moving up the right side....I went from about 5th/6th wheel to....I don't know top 15/20 in the blink of an eye. I was swarmed by riders and before I knew it I was behind a line of people. I spent the rest of the race chasing, attacking, smiling, and having a good time, but when I look back on the ride, I know where I missed my chance and where I let the wheel in front of me go. Not a good idea! Must stay attached to wheels. On the last lap I realized I had moved myself up to 7th place. The only thing I would change about Saturday's race would be...concentrate, focus, and race harder. I tend to get distracted by the spectators and when they say stuff to me....I want to respond. Must...Focus...More. I finished 7th. POINTS!
The following day I decided I wasn't going to move up the right side and I wouldn't get pinched on the right hander. But still somehow I found myself swarmed by riders and once again spent the race chasing hard and working on staying on the wheel in front of me. Every time the wheel in front of me got gapped off I would have to move around the rider and find those wheels in the front!!! Then...I realized I was in the chase group!!! YEA! There where 2 riders up the course riding much faster than myself and I was doing everything I could to hang onto and race against the gals in my group. One of the gals was able to gap us, so now we were racing for 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th. I tried really hard to get in front of the gals and not get gapped off their wheels, made up some time thru the barriers, but turns out the other 3 where much faster for the up hill finish then myself. I lost the finish in my group of 4 and finished 7th, once again. MORE POINTS!
The highlight of my weekend was being interviewed for the first time (do I really sound like that)? I then realized being interviewed post race is really difficult, I kind of get race brain and can't think properly!
I am extremely thankful for everyone and their help to get me here! I thank my cyclocross community in Seattle and I thank the new cyclocross family I met on the East Coast. I am (as always) stoked on my Mad Fiber wheels and I super duper dig my PDX Clement tires.