Last weekend was the Continental Championships in Cincinnati. It is always one of my favorite weekend of racing, because the courses are super fun and everyone shows up. It was really great to spend time with the team again and to see everyone at the race. It had been a while since I had not been racing to one of these big events, so it felt really good to be back and feel the good vibe of 'cross races.
Here's a quick description of how the weekend went. I tried to give as much details as possible with the least words I could.
Format of blog post was inspired by my friend Dani Mariea. Pictures are from Luke Batten, Waldek or Katerina.
Wake up at 4h AM and David drives me to the airport. Eat overnight oatmeal in the Air Canada lounge and High 5 myself for preparing a breakfast! On the plane to Chicago: read, eat, sleep, land. Get on the plane to Cincinnati: Meet and chat with a nun (interesting lifestyle!), read, sleep, land.
Meet Waldek at the airport and arrive to the venue. Build up bikes while grooving to Myron's jam at the Clif Bar tent. Pre-ride at Devou Park. Hang out sesh on the course with the Ten Speed Heroes. So fun, can't sop smiling. Quick shower. Go to restaurant for Waldek's birthday. He orders appetizers (yes, he had calamaris). We order rest of meal. All the strangers at the restaurant want to sign his Bday card. Quick stop at Whole Foods for tomorrow's lunch. Bed.
Me and Hannah have breakfast in the hotel. They have waffles, I am happy. Pack bags. Go to race site. Eat sandwich and pin numbers on. Pre-ride by myself. Hannah races at 12h50. She races really well and finishes 3rd. Everyone is happy- woot woot! Pre-ride with Katerina: Conclusions - 1. She is smart. 2. No more pre-rides, it is HOT! So grateful for Katerina's help. Studying of Junior and U23 men's race start.
Chris preps bikes. 18.5 psi. Drink slushy water at the start to cool myself down (Thank you Katka!). Based on early races and beginning of season studies, I purposely choose to stage behind Courtenay McFadden...
- She delivers and gets the hole shot = opening for me to move up from second row. Think to myself: "Nice work Courtenay!"
- Someone crashes. Tiny chaos... "Just relax and go around".
- Katie is at the front... "Better get going, this is going to stick. Georgia would definitely go."
- Opening to pass 3 girls before off camber: Take advantage of it. Bridge to Katie.
- On Katie's wheel: "Hmm, she's fast."
- After 3 laps... "It's really hot and I don't feel good at all. Want to stay 2nd, don't want to end up at hospital again".
- Figure out a strategy in my mind. Confirm it with Katerina on the side of the course: "Stay calm, ride technically well, keep momentum, stop "pushing too hard".
- Slip on a corner, Crystal passes me, I end up 3rd. PanAm Champs podium - cool.
- Fun race, happy/grateful to be back racing and happy to share it with my teammates!
Podium. We got chamy cream! Give my flowers to Waldek. Cool down for me. Team is tearing up the tents. Call David to share excitement. Cheer the guys race. Jérémy has a mechanical (Crap!) but he is riding so well and even bunny hops the barriers. So proud of him! Leave the venue and stop to a "very fancy asian restaurant". Katerina and I take a picture under a gigantic horse statue...We are at P.F Changs. Waldek orders appetizers. HE has calamaris. Waiter is horrible: Hannah almost dies and he blows Waldek's surprise birthday cake. Go to new hotel. Laundry. Waldek is awesome and gives me a massage. ZZZZzzzzzzzzz
Wake up and Katka is still sleeping. Try to be quiet, get downstairs to eat breakfast. Team goes to breakfast. Can't resist, I eat 1 pumpkin pancake. Pack bags, quick stretch, go to Kings Park. Pre-ride with Hannah and Katka. Pre-ride again with Hannah, Katka and Waldek. It's hot. Hang out in my sports bra and bag of ice on my head...Not classy, but it's hot. Pre-ride again. Chill out, prepare, mess around, wait for 3:20 O'Clock. Warm up. IT'S HOT...I stress out about the heat, talk about my worries to Waldek. We put iced water bottles on my bikes. I stop panicking.
- Good start. Make front group selection.
- Someone messes up on the little steep hill. I'm behind Katka. We all mess up on that lil steep hill.
- Spectator yells: "YOUR TEAMMATE DID THAT TO YOU". I laugh.
- First 2 girls get a gap after the steep hill. Not laughing anymore.
- Katka + Katie go away. Not able to bridge back.
- Trying to be tactically smart for the rest of the race.
- Ellen Noble ends up beating me on that same little steep hill.
- Katerina wins! Wooo!!
- I finish 4th. Oh well. Lost podium, still happy!
Post race stories with the Ten Speed Heroes. Cool down with Hannah and Katka. Call David to share excitement. Pack bikes, watch men's race. Drive to hotel. Go to Mexican restaurant. Have a sip of Margarita, already feel drunk. No more margarita. Katka gets massage, I hang out with her and Waldek. Can't sleep, too excited.
Wake up at 5AM and fly home. Share excitement & good meal with Dave and family!
Conclusions of the weekend: What a fun weekend that was! Excited for Nationals this weekend. I love my teammates. I love the 'cross scene. I love my family. CX Fever is so high.