To follow up on a killer race, Jay and I headed north on Saturday for the State Road Race Championships in Richmond, MN. The temps were high and the winds were out of control at 15-20mph... and I was very unexcited to race.
We got completely lost on the way to the race, driving around on fumes on a 30 mile detour, only to show up as they began staging for Jay's and Joe's races. Lucky for them, we had a whole five minutes to change clothes and get bikes ready before they rolled out of the parking lot.
Smokey and I hung out of the hill as Jay raced, cheering and trying to keep his spirits high in the race. Although he was off the front w/ Jim Bell for most of the race, when the chips were down, he didn't have a team to pull him out of it and he didn't finish the race. I'm proud of you for going out there, babe, and tacklin' that bitchin hill! Love!
As for our race, I was nervous as hell, trying desparately to keep my breakfast down as I spun out my legs on the trainer. At start time, I was utterly surprised that there were only 5 of us to make up the Women's 1/2/3 category. With 2 gals I hadn't raced with before and 2 others I've put a lot of miles on with, I was excited to see what the day had in store.
We headed into the wind and began our 54 mile trek to the title. Since there were two teams of 2 and me, I made sure I took care of myself where I had no one else to help. Lucky for me, my she-ro Tessy was in the race and made sure I was riding smart. Mile after mile, we battled the wind and rolling hills, working as a group to get closer to the finish.
Each time up the the hill, I felt great. So, with 10 miles left in the race and my legs only just beginning to cramp, I looked around and realized I had a chance to be the State Champion. Tessy is a Cat 2, so she wasn't racing against us. The 2 Heather's were my competition, and they were on the same team. I'd already figured out who the mark was just a mile or two before, so I knew who I had to beat.
At the beginning of the climb, four of us were still together and I knew it was going to come down to patience. This was a hill that you couldn't go too early on. You could throw in an attack with 1K to go, then hit the wall when you look up to see how little the official's tent at the finish looked. So, I waited.
One of the Heather's took point to climb up the hill, with me and Tessy all mighty-duck style on her hips. Heather G rested in our pocket and I knew it was her I had to beat to the finish. We hit the feed zone sign with 500m to go and Tessy jumped left. Heather 1 drifted her way and I took the open line on the edge of the road to make my break. Although I never passed Tessy, I came in as Cat 3 State Champ and put 6 seconds on 2nd place in only a short distance. It was so friggin awesome!!!! State Friggin Champ, bitch please! I still don't know what to do with myself.
And, not only was my hubby there the whole time, wishin me luck, but Tessy was there at the finish to hug me and celebrate an insanely joyous moment with me. I never would have guessed that could have ever happened, but it did and I will be forever proud of that day.
Thank you to everyone who helped me get to this point - Jay, for teaching me how to climb and loving me unconditionally.... Tessy for believing in me..... and to Dads, for making us see that we can do anything! I love you all!
State Friggin' Champ!