Please start by watching this video from Amanda 1.0, then proceed to the race report. Congrats to all the Naked ladies who represented in Louisville 2013 for Cyclocross Masters World Championships!
There were many unforgettable quotes this weekend. The one that stands out most was by Susan’s coach, Jon Tarkington, “The race is not the most memorable part of the experience. It is everything else.” I have to agree. The race was a 63 minute grueling experience. The training, rides, nerves and spending time with others before and after was much more memorable.
We arrived Monday and got up bright-and-early on Tuesday to pre-ride the course. Not so bad, warm weather, cloudy, did not need leg or arm-warmers. The course itself had some off-camber turns, some easy barriers as they were on a flat area of the course, sand that would easily pack down from the humidity. The most challenging area was a run up, then an off-camber s-turn, another run up and a steep descent before heading back to the finish. Did it take some practice? Yes. Was it very technically challenging? No, but that is all about to change.
Middle of the night, we were awoken by tornado warnings, we looked out the window to see high winds and pouring rain (what else would you do during a tornado?). The course was flooded by the morning and the race sign had been blown over. Races were all delayed that morning. We decided to do leg-openers in the heated tent that was provided by the amazing crew at Pro Bike Express but would forego riding the course for fear of injuring ourselves or our bikes. There was a heat that Joan had to race in and they pronounced her last name wrong but said they would get it right when she won the championship. We picked up our race numbers and Susan found out that her new lucky number was actually 18.
Thursday–race day. Joan raced first. It was a muddy mess and cold so the ground was a bit more firm than later in the day. She did very well with few mistakes and took 5th place in the World (women, non-elite, age group).
I then raced and had the fortunate pleasure of a very muddy, grueling course. I had to pit my bike every half lap. At one point my wheels locked up from the mud and I ran my bike into the pit, it was estimated that my bike weighed 45 pounds. My pit crew was absolutely amazing. An announcer said that “Pit crews don’t win a race but they can lose one.” This is absolutely true but luckily my pit crew was flawless. Each time I came through my bike was a mangled mess but when I left it was clean, in the correct gear, pedals in the proper spot, chain back on and ready (although let me also add that they probably had 10 minutes to get it right as I was going that slow). I ran approximately half of each lap with an increase of weight from mud on the cleats, shoes and calves. I kept thinking that I am a cyclist, not a runner, and would try to get back on my bike but could not move. This is also the moment that Michael Hanna’s running intervals came through for me. The downhills were slick and the flats were slow. Two laps done and my legs were burning like never before, I pointed to the time as I could not speak from over-exertion trying to indicate that my race was over as I was pass the time limit. The official looks and me and calmly states that the “Race isn’t over until I say it is over. One more lap…” It takes everything in me to not DNF. According to the officials, I passed two more people that lap and rode exhausted but with few errors. I remember thinking at the end that I would take the final decent as fast as possible as my racing season was over and if I broke an ankle, I could hobble in and then have time to recover. Cyclocross is all about pre-riding and figuring out how to ride the course, but each lap was so different that it was like a new course each time. I finished in 8th place.
Susan then raced and had a wonderful race, she was so strong and watching her race reminds me that I have a long way to go. She had the largest women’s field that day and raced against very strong women. We finished the races proud of our accomplishments and ready to get some well-deserved rest.
Then the unthinkable happened, we started talking about planning to race the Cyclocross World Championships in 2015 in Tabor, Czech Republic. Watch out World, Naked Women’s Racing is coming back for a podium…
Special shout out to City of Louisville for being so friendly, welcoming and hosting a great week of racing. To Pro Bike Express for ensuring that our bikes were working perfectly, for keeping everything running smooth and for remembering all the things that we forgot. To Naked Juice for giving me the strength to train, to Michael Hanna for always being a wonderfully supportive coach, to Bike Source for keeping my bike in working condition (it is coming in soon), Rudy Project for the flashy helmet and Colorado Women’s Cycling Project for being a super supportive women’s cycling team. To Emily Zinn for my good luck socks and magazines, Katie Macarelli for my mix CD, Nicole Mack for the personalized cowbell and for all the well wishes from everyone. You all rock.