Monday, April 23, 2012

H2H Chainstretcher

So here I am, once again, at the season opener of the Campmor H2H Race series. After nearly a month with no rain, our long needed rain finally came on race day. With predictions of heavy rain and flooding, I feel as if we lucked out with just an afternoon soaker. Most of the Cat 2’s and 3’s got their races in with just a lightly dampened course before the big rain made it’s way to Blue Mountain Reservation in Peeksill NY.

My day started with a little pow-wow at registration to decide which class the team Cat 1 ladies would race this year. As you read this, you may think that this is silly, but as mentors, we try our best to set the right examples for other women, as well as do what is best for ourselves and our fellow team mates. The series has offered a higher purse for Pro/Open than just Cat 1 in hopes to encourage more women to race. So..... Typical of us three, our conversation started out overly polite, with us each trying to fit in with what was best for the other, then the thought of paper/rock /scissors came to mind, and finally a decision was made that M and D would race pro and I was free to do the same or stay Cat 1. I chose to stay Cat 1, and after my race, I realize that was probably a good choice.

With all the nonsense of figuring out what class to race in, I neglected to check my over aired tires and went out to pre-ride. I threw myself over the bars on the first creek crossing. Luckily, I did not get hurt, but that was a good enough reminder that the course was wet, a condition I had not ridden in months. As I went to line up, I ran into a friend who mentioned that his buddy took a spill in the Cat 2 race and was on his way to the hospital. That sealed the deal, and I decided to race it safe, even if I were slower.

I had someone wheel around me before the first climb. Normally in Cat 1 this is not a big deal, as the race is long and things will work themselves out, but this person began to flail about and eventually forced me off my bike. I stayed calm and hoofed it up the hill in last place, re-mounted, slammed it in my big ring, passed them, and in 20 seconds I was back on the leaders train. …. I love my Sram XX 2x10! It gets me the gear I need and when I need it. Monster was the first single track, and the one where I went over the bars on the warm up. It was tight and I was unable to make a pass, but that may have been good, as I rode conservative. When things opened up and went uphill, I was ready to go and made my next pass.

It was quite humid and misty on my first lap and my glasses were so fogged that I over reacted a few times, causing some near crashes. I eventually settled in as class leader and 5th overall women. I also got rid of the glasses, which was a big help. Then the rain moved in, and the dirt sections became slick as well. Someone commented that my pink wheels glowed in the gloomy, misty woods, but I never noticed that. I was just riding, head down, trying to get the rainy race done safely. I was very happy to cross the finish line and find out M and D took 2nd and 3rd in the pro field and SS took 3rd in Cat 2. It was a rubber side down good day for Team Campmor women! I am lucky to be surrounded but such an outstanding group of athletes.

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