Monday, June 25, 2012

Guy's Neshaminy XC

Neshaminy is one of those races I'm just never sure about. I blame that on my last couple years there. Simply put, it's not gone well for me at this particular venue. But, I see every year as a new opportunity, and I'm ready to head back and give my all. Such was the case yesterday, though the past couple years' experiences were definitely doing their best to haunt me. We got to the venue, kitted up and headed out for a pre-ride to check out the course. I felt good and thought only positive thoughts about the day ahead throughout that pre-ride. Shortly after warming up, we lined up and were off. It was hot, but didn't feel worse than the heat at Mohican and certainly not 12 hrs. of Granogue. Once off the line we shot into the woods. Kristin, myself and Selene lined up following a Moda-Bikemagic racer who took the lead into the woods. We stayed behind her for a bit, but were able to pass her up the first main climb. We didn't see her again. From that point on, we stayed in tow together for awhile. Selene and I switched places, then switched again, and Kristin pulled away. During the 2nd lap it hit me. The burning that crept into my legs toward the end of the first lap was now in full effect and I could no longer ignore it nor kick it. I tried slowing up a bit, drinking as much as possible, but I couldn't seem to work it out and get the legs moving. Before I knew it, my stomach and back followed suit, cramping up and I was fighting the dnf demons. Don't do it, keep pushing, finish the race. Repeat. For the remainder of the race, I did my best to get out of my head and enjoy the tight, twisty trails, and the fun technical aspects of the course. I definitely looked over my shoulder once or twice knowing my heavy legs weren't doing me any favors getting me to the finish line as fast as I'd hoped. 

Ron, handing me a bottle after his hard crash/DNF. (Photo by Jennifer Sears)

In the end, I was happy I'd finished. Though I'd wanted to personally best the past years' times and experiences there, I had to accept I just didn't have it yesterday. It's tempting to give up on those harder days, but I really believe it's more important to push through and give it my all just as I would on a good day. I'm not sure what happened yesterday and how pinpoint why I'd felt great during the warm up and not so during the race, but these days happen and it'll fuel the fire for my next race. 

As a side note, I couldn't be more proud of my incredible teammates who each had a great race! I've viewed it as such a privilege to line up and race with such strong, accomplished women this season and look forward to many races ahead.

Women's Pro/Cat 1 Podium (Photo by Jennifer Sears)

Next up, nationals in Sun Valley, Idaho!