Major Taylor Race Report: 1/3 of the Van Dessel Ladies Podium weekend!
When I was growing up, my Mom used to say "That girls has more legs than a bucket of chicken," as I loped my way along to track and field glory. Last weekend, multiple sections of the Major Taylor race course on both days required a fair bit of running., and my legs carried me to two chicken dinners!
Saturday: Rain, Rain, go away, and take the lightening with you.
Raylyn Nuss and I warmed up under a tent, resurrected after an earlier wind storm forced JP to fold it down. As the rain picked up intensity, a puddle began to form, and then a stream, around the drums of my Feedback Sports Omnium Trainer, which I only realized when my butt started to get wet. Warming up seemed futile, as I was almost certain the race was going to get cancelled. 15 minute delay, then a 30 minute delay. JP went to confirm with the officials that the race was still on while we stayed tried to stay loose, jamming to Lady Gaga in the Sprinter. The race was on!
I started in the back, after arriving late to the start because of a kit malfunction (couldn't get the damn zipper on the skinsuit up and was about to start safety pinning it). Hitting the first off-road section, the mud spray was impressive, and every line was equally fair game and awful. I weaved my way through the muck and riders, emerging in a group of 3-4 entering pit 1 for a bike change (it was that muddy). I managed to move into the lead on the next straightaway, maybe stupidly, as it was breezy and I have a big draft. I wanted the first crack at the run-up and subsequent off-camber. Which I took laying down... I had a great line going into the downhill off-camber, but my rear wheel slipped out on the slimy mud, and I found myself sliding down half the hill on my backside. #PicsOrItDidn'tHappen! #SunnyGSlide 📷 @palominoamericancyclross @thepenultimateStage Proof that I rode it at least once!
Losing the lead, I settled onto the wheel of Emma Swartz. She, Katie Clouse, and I traded and battled around the course. Eventually, it would be just Katie and I battling, constantly experimenting with lines, pitting twice per lap, and trading blows in the hub deep water into the final turns. JP and Rich in the pit, miraculously kept the clean bikes coming (DougEFresh stayed home to support our local @2TimingGuys race). And, the battle raged on right up until the line, so close on that final stretch that I didn't even think about posting up for the win for fear Katie would be right there.
Sunday: Run, Sunny, Run
A slightly better start position today, still missed my call-up, but got there in time to catch a spot on the front row (what was up with me this week?!), as I was preparing myself and working with Raylyn to get ready for a frigid and wet race. Think, Enzo's Embro Stick on the legs ("do not get this anywhere else but your legs"), vaseline on the face, chemical toe and hand warmers imbedded in the socks and gloves, neck gator, wind guard beanie, actually, come to think of it, I wore two pairs of socks on Sunday! Bitches, it was cold!
Hole Shot! I wanted it. No mud spray for me today. I geared down and prepared myself to churn my way though the peanut butter turns. And then, a woman RAN past me. I immediately adopted a new race plan, run for it. Running almost all the way to the first pit. It must have been 400m! This also meant that both of my pairs of socks were soaked through within seconds, I couldn't feel my feet anyway. With a fresh bike, and some of the running out of the way, I settled in to the pace with Katie, Emma, and Jen Malik. If I was going to run a cumulative mile through the mud this day, I was going to save some quads, and both Emma and Jen had battled earlier in the collegiate race (dude, that's hard core). At least this day had better lines and I was finding them! I took the lead into the flooded former-and-now-once-more field/lake, past pit two, with another fresh bike. I was riding
along, and like a deer picked off in mid-stride, I went down into an unseen hole/ditch/entrance-to-an-underground-lair and took an ice bath. It was at this moment that Katie found an exquisite line and pulled ahead. Let's find that line on the next lap.
But, I didn't need to. My bucket-of-chicken-legs produced a gap on the next run that stuck on the penultimate lap. Behind me, I gave Katie mental props as I saw her trying to ride this section (later she would tell me that not being able to match me stride-for-stride, she figured she had nothing to lose by attempting the ride - she's a smart one!). I encouraged my pit help "to keep 'em coming", as I avoided mechanical mishap on the FTB (do me a favor and check out the link!). After a "clean"-ish (figuratively speaking), bell lap, this time there was time to post up. @thepenultimateStage