I have had a ton of people asking about the trip to Texas. Thanks for all the good luck wishes and support.
So, here's the report:
Texas ROCKED!!!! I rode well and surprised even myself at how I stacked up. It was hot, technical and really an all around tough course. I did my thing and came out 8th against some of the best riders in the world. I couldn't have done it without my family, friends, sponsors and especially my husband. Thanks to all of you. My goal this season is to have good enough results to be able to race the World Cup Finals in Windham, NY. Ultimately, it will be up to USA Cycling to decide if I can go, but I think that I am on the right path currently.
The trip began with a LONG drive to Texas. Mark drove, I navigated and we arrived almost when we planned with very little drama. We stayed with our awesome friends Jason and Jill. It is always so nice to be able to stay at a house with friends instead of a hotel. And it was so fun to see them again.
We arrived in Austin at rush hour and after battling traffic, made it to Rancho Juan Pelota, Lance Armstrong's ranch, for our pre-ride. I am not a huge Lance fan (not that I am an anti-Lance person, he's done a ton for cycling, I just don't really get "star struck"), but it was cool to be racing there. I aired up the tires as I usually do and headed out to ride. FLAT. In the first 20 minutes of my ride. I walked to the car and changed out my tire and headed out again; this time with more air in my tires. The course was rocky and technical, I decided that bouncing with more air than I usually run was better than flatting. What a fun ride!!! Friday was another day of pre-riding and relaxing. I rode fairly well both days and felt ready to race. Other than the heat, it was a really good course for me.
Saturday was HOT. It has been so rainy in the Southeast that I was not ready for the heat yet. 95 and sunny was going to be miserable. Oh well, hopefully I could stay hydrated and do okay. All the "big girls" were here so it was going to be tough regardless of the weather. I was called up in the second row and when they said go we started FAST. My goal was to be strong and stay near the front and not blow up. I knew I was a good bike handler and that my ability to stay smooth and fast on the bike was going to be key. Well the bike handling thing worked well for about half a lap but as I got tired and hot I started riding a bit like a beginner. Things that I rode easily in the pre-ride were now forcing me to fall all over. That was my key to back it down a notch and settle into a pace that I could sustain. As I came through the feed zone the first time I had no clue where I was positioned and was hoping Mark would tell me. He was jumping all over and yelling that I was in 9th!!! Holy crap. I was having an incredible ride. I pushed as hard as I could for the rest of the race. It was so hot that I was forced to take some recovery in the shaded sections. I rode smart, listened to my body (a little bit anyway; had I listened too much it was screaming "stop this!!!"), and finished strong, passing one other rider in the process. My whole last lap I kept thinking "Don't mess up, and DON'T FLAT". I rolled in with 8th place, the first non-trade-team rider to finish. I made money and got UCI points. WoooHoooo!!!! Mark met me at the finish line with ice water and a cold wet towel, both of which nearly put my overheated body into shock. Wow.
The rest of the weekend was a blur. Mark raced Sunday in not-as-hot conditions and took 10th. He did awesome and I am so proud of him. He did have an unfortunate run in with a cactus that required me to remove cactus thorns from his ass but I guess that's all in a days work. Monday we rode some killer fun trails in Austin with Jason (instead of driving home) and left late Monday towards home. Tuesday was another LONG day in the car. We arrived home at about 11pm.
I am still exhausted from the trip and my legs have been sore all week. This weekend is BUMP and Grind in Birmingham, one of my favorite races. We should have big fields and strong racing. I am looking forward to it, even if I am tired. Texas was worth it.
Thanks for reading...