Monday, September 29, 2008

Cross Vegas!

While in Las Vegas for Interbike, I did the cyclocross race attached to it, the Wheelers and Dealers race for people in the bike industry. There was a pro race too, but hey, I'm no pro.

So I don't know how many women actually raced, and what categories (manufacturer, sales, shop, etc) were eligible for the win. The roster listed six women total, I saw a handful at the race, and Cale says he saw at least 10, but you can't trust a serial exaggerator. It was hard to keep track of all the ladies because the guys and gals raced together in the industry race. And you know, it's sometimes hard to tell the difference from behind/a distance.

Anyhow, I didn't know what to expect because it was most likely going to be a mix of people from desk jockeys to 3's who just hadn't made the leap (I felt I was somewhere in the middle). After Elvis sang the Natl anthem, the race started and all the guys took off and I let everyone get out ahead and then started picking people off (which is the opposite of what you're supposed to do, but I wanted to race it my way). I got ahead of some guys and a woman who had gotten caught up in the first sprint. A little ways ahead I picked out a woman in a skirt who was riding away from me. I decided to warm up and see how I felt about about stalking her down.

After a bit I noticed I was hanging even with her, and decided to move in for the kill. She was just as fast as me on the flats, but she was slower on the hills, of which there were a few. I got behind her for a while and then moved out in front on a hill. She caught up over a half a lap, and I let her have the lead again, hanging right behind her (I love that doing that stuff). I waited until a hill and then sneaked around her. I blasted up the hill and didn't let up after, when I knew she'd be catching her breath from the climb. She stuck behind me maybe 20 yards back for a lap or so, but then I started putting more distance on her with the hills. It felt good. At this point, I thought there were more women ahead of me and that I had 3rd or 4th. It was supposed to be a fun race, so I had made my goal to catch the woman in the skirt and not get too concerned with the results. I was pretty happy that I had done that, and for fun at the end, I was tearing it up in a nice sprint against a guy who was finishing with me. People were ooh-ing and aah-ing over my great power ;)

So what you really want to know about:
They called my name and I perked up, because I thought maybe I had missed the awards ceremony. They had kind of announced the guys' wheelers and dealers race with no mention of the women. I went and asked up at the announcer's stand, and the lady said 'You won, congratulations. The podium is over there, they'll do the awards shortly'. I just smiled and said thanks, because I thought she had gotten it wrong- that I was on the podium, not that I had won. I was still pretty excited. I got over there and was indeed shocked when they called me up first in front of a crowd of press- no lie- to accept a jersey, special engraved Moen cowbell (it's super awesome) and cyclocross book. They had me put the jersey on and then called up the men's winners. They stood me in the middle of the dudes and then the press snapped photos like crazy. There were at least 20+ press quality cameras that were flashing away, with all the photographers crouched on the ground in front of the podium. Pretty much like in the movies.

I stole this photo from someone's flickr (please don't sue me):

I tried to look presentable, but my hair was a mess and I wasn't sure where to look or how to hold myself. I felt like I needed to keep swiveling my head to look directly at all the cameras. Or should I look straight ahead? It was confusing, and I'm pretty sure I look a little dazed. I need to go to a finishing school for cyclists or something.

Aaand that's it. It was pretty super fun, and we all got to see Lance Armstrong's pain cave face.

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