Sunday, August 16, 2009

Windham Kenda Cup East

arriving in the catskills just as the sun comes out

how can you help but dig any place with pink mud

trip to psychedelic suds

a study in rotational wait

life imitating art, imitating life

girls in search of beauty

icing the legs for the big day

Super-D: August 15, 5:30 p.m. …..
Who would have ever guessed that a 50 year old women would be riding the chairlifts with 5 other girls to lay in the grass and gaze up at the clouds waiting for the word “go”. Once prompted by this word, we would jump up, somersault and run to our bikes for a downhill race. Thanks to Tom Spiegel for this crazy idea of a start that got me pictured in cycling news in full form of a forward roll. Both jumping up and rolling did momentarily make me a tad dizzy. I may recall an article in AARP about standing up too fast, and although I don’t really like to think that I am 50, it just may be true.

Once on the bike, I felt at home and found myself pedaling like crazy down the meadow road. I instantly passed 2 girls, but could still hear someone right behind me. She flew by me on a steep downhill section of road and took off. Once in the single track, I managed to bridge back up to her and noticed she was off pushing an uphill. Then she faltered over an uphill root, and before she could push up and swing her leg back over the bike, I was by and never looked back. I passed another girl walking out the bottom with an unlucky flat tire. When I got to the bottom, I found out that Alex had won the pro field and Laura the 19-39. To sum it up: It was 12 minutes of all out adrenaline, grinning inside and out, childish fun, for all ages. If you have not tried a Super-D and you enjoy riding downhill XC, you must give it a try.

Cross Country: August 15, 8:00 a.m. .....
Both the XC and the Super-D courses were really fun and well maintained. Similar to last year, they had many rock cribs and well constructed bridges with chicken wire that allowed racers to cross wet areas with ease. The climbs were broken up and the last two climbs from last years course were taken out, making for a shorter lap. The climbing was still plenty challenging and the downhill always went way too fast.

On race day, some of the rocks were wet and somewhat slippery, but most of the course was perfect. We started at 8:00 a.m. in a cool fog. I wasn’t feeling a fast start in me, so I succumbed to a steady diesel pace for lap one. We rode from open ski slope into dark woods, which was difficult to adjust our vision. I made a note of obstacles and made sure to trust my memory during the brief blind moments for the remainder of the race.

As we rode up the mountain, the sun began to peek through and particles of some sort created a sparkling effect. It was like candy for my eyes. Suffering some with my start, the sparkles were a welcomed distraction. By the top of our climb we were each greeted by name by the very loud announcer, Bruce, as we rode out of the clouds into bright sunshine. Knowing I needed to focus on my race, I could not resist but to glance out across the mountains. I'm glad I did because it was a magical sight as the mountains tops rose out of a bed of clouds. From there on, I found my stride, and each lap got better than the one before. I finished strong with a little left in the tank.

In all, it was a great weekend of racing and as always, it was inspiring to see the top pros race.

oh willy loves sweets!

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