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Jingle Cross Weekend
It's 4 O'clock. The women's World Cup starts in 15 minutes. The men have just finished racing, and the conditions seems drier than they have been all weekend. The mud is tackier and the guys have created nice ruts for us to ride in. I will race the Baby Limus tires, a semi-mud tire. My warm up is done, I get in the trailer for one last pee stop (isn't it incredible the amount of times you need to pee on race day?!) and to take a minute to focus.
That's when I hear it. Tic. Tic. Tttttt-t-t-t-tic. It's falling on the roof of the trailer. Louder, faster, heavier every second. I peek outside and David looks at me : "It's pouring!". I can sense my adrenaline rising. Last minute decision: "Dave, please change the wheels. I'll race the Limus (heavy mud tires)". We get to the start line, it's pouring rain, course conditions are changing by the second. I'm excited. That's exactly why I love cyclocross. It’s unpredictable and you have to be adaptable.
The gun goes off and I have a clean start, until 30 secs into the race... Someone unexpectedly washes out in front of me, in a straight away, and takes me down with her. I tried to jump over her, but at the speed we were going, I didn’t have time to react and hit the deck. People were flying around me and although I stood up pretty quickly, I soon found myself in almost last position. My first reaction was “well, that sucks”. Luckily, however, I quickly changed my thoughts and got into chase mode.
It was completely chaotic out there, and so awesome at the same time. People where everywhere, all of us sliding down descents, running in deep mud and trying to figure out how to move up. My motto was: JUST. KEEP. MOVING. No matter how ugly and un-elegant the technique. It worked out pretty well as I was able to move up to 9thplace in the end. I was happy with my ride considering it started quite badly. It was a good fight, and I like to think that those fights make you stronger.
The day after the World Cup, we got to do another race. The conditions were not as slippery, but the mud was thicker, which made the running even harder. As we started, I felt like I was going to throw up, but I told myself to suck it up for a while and that it would go away. Luckily, it did. As I focused on following Katerina’s short, quick steps in the run up, I quickly got into a rhythm. The two of us got away early on and rode together for about 4 laps. It felt like the old times! I caught myself thinking "how fun. it's like we are playing team tactics", until she attacked and dropped me, where I was quickly reminded we are not teammates anymore! I still finished 2nd and felt that my CXFever was stronger than ever after this great weekend of racing!
I didn’t train much this past week because we were trying to recover from the cold I had caught the previous week. Nonetheless, I felt surprisingly good this weekend. Goes to show that when you are healthy, all goes well!