State Championships this year were my best ever! The course was pretty good, but the competition and the race itself will live forever in my mind.
As the first race of the day, the temps hovered around a bone-chilling 30 degrees. As one of the only races I've pre-registered for all year, I found myself getting the third call-up and on the front line at the start of the race. The bummer was the women's/men's/jr's mixed start - causing quite the chaos for the first 1/2 a lap of the race. I did everything in me to get the hole-shot, but had to sacrifice a few spots to keep from getting driven into a pole by some testosterony men.
I battled through the waves of people to take the lead in the women's field by the time we got out of the sand pit and kept hold of it lap after lap. For the first time ever, I was RUNNING up the stair case, rather than suffering up it at a walking pace. When we popped out of the woods, I attacked down the hill onto the dirt path as fast as I could.
With one lap to go, Jeanie Fleck (an uber-strong duathlete that had my number for the last couple weeks) caught me and put 5 seconds on my by the time we got out of the woods. I knew I had to make a move, so I bombed the decent as fast as I could and dropped it into a harder gear to launch one of my greatest attacks ever. In less than 100 yards, I closed the gap and was right there on her wheel, ready to tackle the last 2 barriers and sandpit before the finish.
Neck and neck, we got to the sand and she dismounted and took the inside line... the same line I'd been flying across all day as I rode my bike through the sand. Instinct took me out left and I tried to ride around her....
Sadly, my bike stalled out in a deep section of sand and I had to dismount. By the time my bike was shouldered, she was remounting on the other side and sprinting for the line. Any chance I had sunk in the sand with my wheel, and I slowly crossed the line for 2nd. Jeanie was waiting for me after the finish with arms out wide - we embraced with huge grins that stretched our faces as we reminisced about the preceding race. It was AMAZING!!!
Happiest 2nd place finisher ever,