The weekend before last I did a couple regional races - Canton Cup and Orchard Cross. I podiumed at Canton with a 3rd place finish in a smaller field, and had a great race with some strong riders to finish 6th at Orchard. Seriously, Orchard? I had a great start (!!!) and hung with the super-strong leaders for a lap or so. That is progress, right there.
Then last weekend was the Cycle-Smart International in Northampton. I just did one day there last year and I really liked the course. It's a power course with roots. I dunno, not super technical, but it works for me. And some good fast turns. I like fast turns. Both days I started poorly. More so on Saturday, but Sunday was no clinic on good starts, either. Both days I worked my way up to my teammate Christina. On Saturday we worked together, but probably didn't use our strength very efficiently because we ended up getting attacked and dropped by two girls that were sitting on while we were attacking from the front. Rookie move. But it's not very common in cyclocross to find yourself in a position where you can benefit from team tactics, and we clearly weren't thinking straight. Ah well. We resolved on Sunday to be smarter if we ended up together. I had to do a lot more hard work to catch up to Christina on Sunday - I think she had a pretty good start - and by the time I got there I was sort of worked. This time I was hoping to get to the front and block so she could attack, but I didn't have the legs to move up, and I eventually got dropped from her group. I was able to hold off a group of 4-5 girls who'd caught up, though, so that was really cool. Both days I had really strong final laps, which is also cool, and a good sign of fitness. I keep thinking if I could just pull my head out of my ass at the starts my life would be so much easier.
The quote of the weekend definitely comes from coach Larry, yelled at me while I was trying to recover from my poor start on Sunday. "Stop being so nice to the other women!" It was totally what I needed to hear. One of the chase girls passed me at the run up and I totally chopped her in the next corner. Nothing dangerous, but I stuck out my elbows and got mad and didn't give her any choice but to Get Out of My Way. I'm going to write that on my stem: "Stop being so nice to the other women."
In the end I finished 19th and 20th, respectively. Two fairly solid races, I just need to improve by, oh, 10 places or so and I'll be rockin' in. It was a fun weekend with teammates and Cody came along to cheer and be awesome.
Yay, two good race weekend, moving up in the world!
And I made cyclingnews, and not just as a "Ladiesfirst rider," but as me.