Sunday, June 29, 2008

State Chump Race Report

So this weekend the crew went up to Levis Trow to do the second WEMS race of the year and the Single Speed State Championships. A lot of racers already had camp set up when we got there around 11 Friday night. Levis is a three hour drive from MKE and 2 from Madison, so a lot of people chose to go up and camp the night before. It was a cool scene- everyone was looking forward to riding the trails the next day.

It was a little wet here and there throughout the weekend, but all in all it was just fine for camping and racing. The trails tend to dry out quickly in most of park because of the sand content. But listen to me, talking about the weather. I should get started on the 17 paragraphs I'm sure to wind up with...

So, what can I say about the SS Championships? I managed to eat a good breakfast provided by the volunteers before my start at 10:00AM. The race was going to be two 12.5 mile laps with about 1,920 feet of elevation total (it was pretty hilly). I was riding the Pecan (Motobecane) with 34/20 gearing, and I cherished every single tooth of that somewhat ridiculous 20 tooth cog in the rear. There were just three women present for the race. On one hand, I wanted the title for the team's race resume (it's what we send to sponsors to show them how serious and awesome we are) but on the other hand, I wanted to have to fight for it. I wasn't let down- I don't want to make the whole thing into some epic battle story, but I've gotta say, it wasn't a cake walk for me.

I was sticking to my plan of just riding it and seeing who came out ahead for the first half of the first lap. I put one woman behind me and watched the other one ride away from me in the first section, about 5 min into the race. I was going at a decent pace and warming up to the more technical trails when, maybe a quarter through the first lap, I spotted the woman ahead of me. Well, that settled it, it was no longer a ride but a race. I caught her just before a downhill and watched her go over the roots and rocks. I figured that here I had the advantage. Have I mentioned I've been practicing this mountain biking stuff? I got ahead of her and put a little distance between us. Phwew, right?

Not the case. I would get a little gap in the technical single track areas, then she would reel me back in on the fire roads/double track. She was like a nightmare that kept coming back. Have I mentioned how much I loathe being out front? In a race, I like to be the stalker. I especially love it in cylcocross, you know. Well, here I was the mouse trying to scamper away, and it made me so nervous to not know where exactly she was. During the first lap she caught up again two or three times, and not knowing if she could catch me at the end caused me to feel a slow burning, diluted sort of panic for most of the race. Ugh.

Just before the start of the second lap, I shook her off again. I pushed through the first section of double track and didn't see her at the end of it: a good sign. When I got to the single track, I went as fast as I could, taking the corners quickly and only using my rear brake a little. I had to increase the gap where I could, because she could close it again in an open section. I embraced the things that I deemed difficult, because I knew they would probably slow her down a little. I was pushing it hard and hoping my energy would hold out.

Somewhere on the second half of the last lap, I met up with Russell on his Communist bike, who were tooling along for fun while I toiled away. He rode along with me while I wilted and became ever more unpleasant to ride with. How so? Actual groans and whimpers from me for me. Poooor Katy. In my haste to build a gap, I had run myself down and was scraping the bottom of the barrel, just hoping that I had gotten far enough out or that she was also tiring. Russell helped me out as much as I could be helped- it's tough to bike when you're busy wallowing in self pity! But seriously, thanks especially for the Gu shot. I'm thinking of not washing my jersey, so that the gooey green apple Gu lined pocket with dirt stuck to it will forever remind me of your shining face.

So we all know how it ends. I managed to haul my sack of bones in to the finish, first of the women. Cale, my External Ego, was waiting for me at the finish line, no doubt so he could either start crowing about my win or consoling me for my loss. It would be interesting to hear the race reports from the other two women- was their gearing as agreeable as mine? (Thanks to Cale for prescribing the 20 tooth cog). What were their favorite or least favorite parts? We may never know...

Here's the happy ending. Am I the only one that thinks this looks like the vows at a wedding ceremony? I mean, look at that eye contact!

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