Some people have noticed that my kit has changed :). I was asked about joining Kathy's Blue Steel Cyclery team a little while ago, and after much discussion and a lot of thought, I decided that the timing was right for me to make a change. I have been racing against Kathy and Karen T. since I started racing 'cross oh so many moons ago, and know that I still have a lot to learn. Who better to have as teachers than a multi-time World Champion CX racer, and someone who has won her fair share of CX races?
So, the past two weekends, I have registered and raced for Blue Steel Cyclery, and I will continue to race for them for the remainder of the season. I'm really excited about the change, and what I can learn. Oh - and after the muddy racing in ME last weekend, I am even excited about the fact that my new kit is black :). Some of you have commented that it will take awhile to get used to me in the new kit - well, me too! Just look for the crazy knee socks - I promise that won't change :)
I guess I should also comment on the racing that has been going on. Here's the short version of the past two weeks.
- We'd never done the long-standing Mansfield race, so decided to make the trek down. We weren't disappointed, and as I said to Ron M (the promoter), our first visit there definitely won't be our last!
On previewing the course, I absolutely loved it. There were 5 dismounts per lap (depending on how good your technical skills were - some of the guys likely only had two), with two sets of barriers, sand, a run-up and a diagonal uphill crossing of a telephone pole. Oh - and there was a chicken running around the course :).
My race was reasonably uneventful, save for one lap where I miscalculated my speed heading into a turn/uphill/rock/root and hit the rock/root head on. Stayed upright, but it cost me at least a few seconds. I still managed a second place finish, but the best part of the race was that we had a new convert in the women's field! Allison S had raced in the Women's 3/4 race earlier in the day, and then jumped into her first SSCX race. Talking to her afterwards, I knew it wouldn't be her last race on the SS.
|Photo: Nick Czerula|
I could see Teri and a B2C2 rider in front of me for a long time, and I SLOWLY was making progress closing the gap. As I was nearing the end of the third lap, I could see the race leaders (Curtis and Mike) coming up behind me. I COULD. NOT. GET. LAPPED. So, I dug harder and managed to get across the line before the leaders, but barely.
Heading back up the straight, I managed to catch and pass the B2C2 rider. That left just Teri ahead of me. At one point, she called out, "C'mon, Cathy!" - I was TRYING! I didn't actually get by her until the back straightaway, after the sand "pit". When I passed, I called out "Don't you give up now!", and the race was on. I knew that Teri was there as we crossed the logs, went through the tough uphill turns by the parking lot, and then into the barriers. As we were about to make the final turn into the finish I called out, "Are you ready?", and then I hit the fence. Not hard enough to put me down (thankfully), but hard enough to get my foot unclipped and to let out a yell. Keeping the bike upright, and not having Teri plow into me was a good thing! And we really sprinted it out for the finish - racing at its finest. What I hadn't realized was that we were racing for the final podium spot of the day!
Downeast - Day 1 - What's not to love about racing in mud and cow poop? The race at Pineland Farms has long been a favorite, and John G and his crew did a FANTASTIC job with the course this year. I loved every minute of it, as painful as it was!
Early in the race (despite a bad start), I managed to get around some mayhem and bad handling skills, but still sat somewhere in no man's land. Mike yelled at me at one point to "Go!", and I managed to put a gap into the riders who were right behind me. I was never passed by any riders, and rode solo for much of the race, so didn't know where I had placed when I was finished. It wasn't until after Mike's stellar race (he won another one!) that I found out I had finished in 6th place, just missing the 35+ podium (and what would have been a Blue Steel sweep). That was one of my best Verge finishes ever, reminiscent of Green Mountain. And it had been so much fun!
Downeast - Day 2 - My mother always told me that if I didn't have anything good to say, I shouldn't say anything at all. So, there you have it :).