After 5 hours of driving, I wasn't really too excited to race. Legs didn't feel good, stomach didn't feel so great either, and though it was exciting to be there and under the lights and such, the doomy cloudy sky wasn't really revving me up. I did a practice lap and headed to the line with all the rest of the Cat 4s.
|GO! Watch 608, she's my competition...|
|Running up Mt. Krumpet. Beastly long and steep.|
|Under the flyover. You're supposed to ring the bell for good luck.|
|Friday podium, with two girls half my age.|
It was raining steadily when we woke up, and it was clear that the ground that had already been a bit soft Friday was going to get soggy pretty quickly on Saturday. Luckily, when we raced at 9:30, it hadn't yet gotten much colder, and the temperature in the upper 40s was perfectly tolerable despite the rain.
|Start line on Saturday. Rain, but not too cold yet.|
|Soft, wet ground. Not bad here, much worse elsewhere.|
One of my favorite spots for food in the Midwest is Masala Vegetarian -- it was an oasis of great vegan food that I always tried to make part of my road trips back and forth to Providence when I was in college -- and after a cold day in the rain, Indian food sounded so good. A group of 10 Nebraskans met up and gorged ourselves on spicy deliciousness. It's so awesome to get a full menu from which to choose!
Sunday was going to be cold, windy, and full of the muddy effects of Saturday's rain. It was a mess. I warmed up in the parking lot, knowing I wouldn't actually be sprinting much once on the course. Again, there was a new set of characters (albeit smaller this time), though all three of Saturday's podium finishers were on the line again, too.
|Running through the logs.|
I took the holeshot, but not having pre-ridden the course meant I was completely unprepared for the first re-routed turn. Oops. I maintained position for a little bit, but two-time 1st place finisher Skyler Schneider moved around me pretty shortly. Along with her came Saturday's second-place finisher, and another girl who hadn't raced yet this weekend. I settled in to my tempo again, trying as best as possible to find good lines through deep mud and puddles. Slow and steady, no mistakes, that was my goal.
|Holding steady in the mud.|
|Sunday podium, and an end to my 2011 season.|
|SHEnanigans on Mt. Krumpet.|
I'm pretty tired of being on the road every weekend -- I've only had one weekend home since the end of September -- and my house shows for it. I have freelance projects demanding attention, cats demanding attention, and knitting projects to finish before friends have their babies. I still haven't unpacked my race travel bag, but I'm hanging my hat on racing until spring. Being at a race age of 29, I'm in an odd spot for Nationals. I could spend a bunch of money for a Wednesday "non-competition" race, or I could complete my upgrade and race the elites, only to get pulled after Katie Compton blows by me a couple times. Next year, I'll be old enough for Masters', and with Worlds being in Louisville, I'll plan on extending my season into January. This year, though, I'm going to build up my anxiously anticipated War Axe, goof off on it in my parents' pasture, ski for the week between Christmas and New Year's, and enjoy that 29th birthday.