This is something that a friend said to me after her race. She is a super speedy kick ass girl on a bike. When she rides by me I always tell her I want to be her when I grow up and that she is my hero. She is not the only person I yell for. If I know your name I am going to cheer for you and/or heckle you. It is part of the fun of cyclocross racing. You can see so much of the course so it is perfect for spectators.
I saddled up for race number 4 on Sunday morning at John Bryan Park in Yellow Springs, OH. It was about a 2.5 her drive and we (my totally awesome teammate, Kelly G and her hubs) left at 6am. We got to the course in time to change, check in and do a pre-ride of most of the course. After that I hopped on the trainer for a good 15 mins to keep the legs spinning and to help me stay warm. It was about 40 degrees when we were called up to the line. I was ready for this race. This was my kind of course, or so I had been told by a few people. No major elevation change or major hills, some fun fast short tack, and a few other fun things put in to make the course just right.
This was by far the longest course I have ridden. In 30 mins we did 2.5 laps. Yes .5 is strange but hey it is cross, why not? The start was a long long straight away that was a false flat and when the cat 4 women rode it, it was still wet. That was my least favorite part of the course and my slowest, I think many people felt that same way about it. There were lots of 180’s and some single track thrown in just to keep us on our toes, a rideable sand pit, barriers, and some logs that a 10 your old could bunny hop, but not me.
Overall my legs felt great, I mean really great. I did all my workouts for the week given to me by my coach and could tell how much they helped me. What was not great was breathing. My lungs suck. A lot of it is fitness but some of it is the fact that I just have crappy lungs. I was told once by a doc that I have the breathing of a couch potato even though I was/am super active and maybe spend 5 hours a week on the couch. This slowed me down. It is really hard to keep up with someone when you cannot get full breath. My lower back would cramp ever time I would try to take a deep breath (people with lung issues will understand this). In my mind I knew that I still needed to do the best that I could and not stop. I kept going and did not get last. That was my overall goal, not to get last. I am still unsure of how many people finished behind me but I know there was one or two (or maybe more depending on who you ask).
In all of the OVCX races this year riders are chip timed. I am not sure why as I was told, by officials, that the chip times does not matter. I was told this because sometime during the race I lost mine. I went to look at the results and they said -1 lap. WTF? -1 lap, chip must have gotten lost some time during the last lap, maybe when I crashed. I asked them to give me that lap back and they said it did not matter, what mattered was my placement being right. I have no idea if it was correct or not, I was trying not to collapse as I crossed the finish line. After determining they were right about my placement from what was hand recorded I asked them to changed the lap results on paper to reflect that I did all the laps and again was told it did not matter, I looked at the lovely, very understanding official (can you read the sarcasm in that) and said it does matter, to me at least, I worked my butt off for that last lap and I would like it to show that I finished without being lapped (I wanted to add, all’s you did all day was sit in a chair and write down numbers, but I did not). They still did not change it. Oh well, I know so I guess that will have to do for now.
I finished, and I finished as strong as I could, I did not give up and I am happy with myself. I crashed, but not hard and I got right back up and kept riding. I thought at one point I was going to puke (maybe when my heart rate was at 192?) and said so out loud. Some kids heard this and told me to keep going, I would be fine, just keep riding. So I did until I crossed the finish line.
Getting back to the title of this post Cheering does help. I reflected on that as my friend said it to me. To hear your name being yelled, for someone to tell you keep going, you are doing great is AMAZING. Thanks to everyone that comes out to race, to watch, to cheer and support. It means the world to me to hear your cheers and to be able to cheer for you.