18 January, 2012

and CX season 2011/2012 ends

CX Master's Worlds week was unbelievable. 4 full days of excitement and fun. 

I spent the first two working with Barb. One of the best race registrar's around. She introduced me to all of the officials and judges. My job was to run start sheets to everyone. We also took racer's jackets/gear and made sure it was secure at the start line.

The third day was spent spectating, I wanted to watch all of my friends race and I cheered to the best of my ability. Cooper started off the day in the Women's 30-34 race with a course full of frozen ruts. I learned a few things that morning. Next up was Kiersta in the 35-39 race. She went airborne down the first grass/mud straightaway, but kept the shiny side up. There were numerous friends in the Men's 45-49 race. It was super exciting getting to cheer for all of them. One friend barely missed the podium, finishing in 4th place. The founder of my race team raced after having a nasty crash earlier in the season and busting up his shoulder really good. So glad to see him get out there! Another friend had a few challenging crashes. One of them put his handle bars through his kit and he had a very interesting time trying to keep all parts tucked inside.

My race was first up on Sunday morning. 27F and the course was frozen solid. Ruts were deep and narrow. I was able to pull up to the big white tent and unload my A bike and trainer before parking. I thought I had plenty of time to finish dressing, ride the trainer and preride a bit of the course. My pit crew showed up and tuned up the A bike. He helped get my shoulder numbers pinned and attended to a few other tasks. My skinsuit malfuntioned! The zipped popped a hole in the zipper material and it would not zip up or down. It was lodged about two inches above my navel. So out come more safety pins. Brian convinces me I just need to preride and forget the trainer. He was right. I needed to see how the bike felt and the air pressure, etc. However, I got out there and was very tentative. I didn't want to crash and hurt my bike or me before the race even started!

I rode about half the course and then made my way to the start area. There were 21 women registered in my age group. I was thrilled at that size field. (Cooper's had 7). There were many talented racers in my event. A couple of US national champions, the Italian national champion and a former Olympian to list a few. They were salting the pavement just before our start. This made me somewhat nervous. Then as the official gave instructions he mentions that there are places on the course where the tape has been replaced with yellow tape. This tape is made NOT to break when you go through it. Be especially careful and it will act as a big rubberband. YAY. The whistle blows and we start. I started in my small chainring, stupid. I was probably 15 into the holeshot. But I'm confident as we hit the grass and the first downhill. I pedal hard and fast and am flying over the first hump to the straightaway. My frontwheel finds a rut and suddenly I am airborne. But I manage to keep things upright and work my way down to the first sandpit. Memory gets all jumbled after this. I hit the flyover and those steps are way too tall for my short legs. I get to the top and see the frozen white ruts at the bottom and do a very stupid thing. I started riding down it with my brakes on. It's a wonder I didn't endo. 1/3 of the way down I let go of the brakes and let 'er rip. I remember hitting the second sandpit and people are getting off, but I stay on the bike and keep riding. We get to the far backside on the grassy area in the woods. Women are being tentative and I pick off three of them over there. As I make my way to the pit area someone (I don't know who) was screaming, "take a bike Sherri, Brian needs to make a change, pit and take a bike". So I did. Two women pass me, but I just keep going. My legs felt good, my lungs felt great. I hadn't used my fast acting inhaled for 3 days. I was worried I might be selected for doping and didn't want a positive result to DQ me.  At one point I'm riding a straight stretch and hit a bit rut. My bike is heading towards yellow tape. My mind is thinking, holy moly I'm going to bounce off of this stuff. But instead I broke the unbreakable yellow tape. Whew, I was so scared I was going to bounce back into the lane and crash.

I should've been in bigger gear maybe. I should've been in smaller gear and spun faster. I should've spent more time running all season and running hills with my bike. One thing I had no opportunity to do was ride frozen ruts. I know I went airborne twice. I had at least 5 majorly wonderful saves. I fell only once and dropped my chain. This lost me more time and another woman passed me. As I rode my third lap, almost to the pavement the leader lapped me. Then the official pulled me before I could get on the pavement and get my third lap time. 

This was such a wonderful experience. Brian change my air pressure in my tires and that definitely helped the rest of my race. I wasn't last. I really and truly want to finish on the lead lap in all of my races next year. I wish I had a Garmin so I could've recorded my laps for me. I need to do a lot more power work and weight training to be sure. 

The rest of the day was: getting changed and warm, going and getting some food, and watching other friend's race. One got a gold medal, Yay Karen! Unfortunately, Tim broker a rear der and had to run a long way to the pit. However, he still finished the race! I know I'm missing a lot of things that happened that I should record here.

So very proud of everyone that came out and competed. I'm impressed by the turnout of volunteers for the week. They did everything from registration, to parking, to crossing guards to course maintenance. 

Did I mention that this year was the first time EVER that CX Master's World has been held outside of Europe? Major coup on behalf of Joan Hanscom and Bruce Fina. 

Goal for 2013 Elite and Master's World Championships - get out the population to come and cheer and spectate and be a part of this excitement.

It's taken me days to find the energy to sit and write this down. I woke up on Tuesday with a sore throat and sniffles. Still fighting it today. Need to get back on my bike soon, but need to get well also.

Give someone a hug, Ride a bike, Smile




Allison said...

I went through the race pictures on Cyclingnews and it just looked GRUESOME. If it wasn't frozen ruts, it was the mid-day thaw. You have my undying admiration for being out there.

Anonymous said...

Sherri I really enjoyed reading your blog on this. Way to go riding, cheering, volunteering and writing about the experience. Feeling your braking, mud rut, tape avoiding tale put me there and made me laugh and kinda thankful I only watched. You Rock! Shar