Monday, December 15, 2008

Last Race of the Year

Hard but oh so much fun! Thom and Colin (and all of their elves) did a fantastic job promoting and putting on one of the best races of the season! I know they were really stressed out, but they should be proud of their efforts. I don't think anyone left the Ice Weasels without a smile on their face. A great way to end a season of racing (and for some really cool photos, check out what PK put together).

The course was technically challenging - there were 22-180 degree corners (yes, Colin counted them all), three sets of barriers, a nasty down followed by a run-up, two passes through a mulch garden and a run after barriers that felt like running on concrete (and which further bruised my still healing foot - who put running in 'cross? ;-)). The laps were short, about 5 to 6 minutes.

On the first warmup lap, I quickly realized that I was over-geared on the SS. Mike had put a bigger gear on based on a posting by Thom (39x16), and it was too much for me coming out of all of the corners. He changed it back to a 39x18 before the race (yay!), which made a difference. They set the SS class (there were 3 women, and 15 men) and the 1/2/3 women off all at the same time - no gaps. Needless to say, the start was chaos as everyone fought for position going into the hole shot, and Rosey's chain exploded on the right side of the group (I later told him he need to fire his mechanic).

I felt good, but was pretty tired still from the NBX races last weekend. I wanted to have fun, but the competitive side of me kicked in on the line as well, and I pushed as hard as I could through the race. It's hard to take oneself too seriously when adorned in reindeer antlers, a jingle bell, and flashing candy cane socks, but I tried ;-).

After 3 laps, I looked and the lap cards said 5 to go. I almost quit right there - they were kidding, right? With 4 laps to go, I could see the SS leaders coming up behind me, including Mike. They came upon me as we started into the twistiest section of the course; I did my best to stay out of their way and let them by, but I had a racer on my tail, and couldn't let off too much. I was, however, VERY excited that I now had one less lap to race, despite being lapped by my husband ;).

Going into the final lap, I could see MegA, who was racing in the 1/2/3 women's race, closing the gap to me, and I really wanted to be sure to finish ahead of her (I don't usually beat her in a race, although she had already been drinking mimosas...). I put my head down into TT mode, and sprinted to get on top of my gear coming out of every corner and barrier remount. I managed to hold her off, finishing 14th of 18 in the SS category (second woman), and I would have been 5th in the 1/2/3 field. I think the course would have been better for me on a geared bike, but I'll have to wait until next year to find out.

Mike decided it would be a good idea to do a second race, and lined up for the combined Masters 1/2/3 and Elite Men's race. At least he brought his other bike, so didn't have to race on his SS again (unlike Cort). And our new friend Matt showed up for one more race of the season as well. I was excited to see him back on the bike after his crash in RI the weekend before (check his blog for a cool video of the SS/Women's race!).

The pace was fast and furious, but Mike and Matt were hanging onto the leaders of the race - at least until Matt decided it was time for beer handups instead ;-). Despite having raced earlier (and finishing 3rd in the SS category), Mike had an awesome race finishing 5th overall in the combined race, and winning the Master's category! A triumphant end to a stellar season for him.

So, the racing is done. We left the [most awesome] venue with promises to stay in touch with new friends over the off season, and hopefully do some riding together.

I'm sore, and I'm tired, and looking forward to some time off the bike, but will miss all of my friends!

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