Gayle not only crushed her first SW3 race, she pulled a double racing the SW35+ race too! We’ll have the turkey that she made for Thanksgiving next year!
Photo Creds: Bo Bickerstaff
After a couple crashes, difficult riding conditions and some tough courses I had kinda lost my CX mojo. I went into Turkey Cross a little nervous about the course due to the challenging run-ups and descents that were muddy and still had some icy patches on my Friday pre-ride. Add to that it would be my first SW3 race…and then top it off with the MW35+ race directly after (also my first time racing that category)! All I could think about Friday night and Saturday morning was coming through without injury – and that is not the way to go into race mode. When I pulled into the parking lot there was an ambulance and a bunch of commotion. Someone had broken their leg on the first descent. Great, just what I needed to hear.
As my race time grew closer I made a conscious decision to put all that out of my head and just ride. I was pretty familiar with the course, I just bought toe spikes, the weather was great and I had nothing to prove. I just wanted to ride and have fun. I got to the line, no more call up now that I’m a SW3! I hit the back and hoped for a clean start in the gravel. My favorite part of the race was right in the beginning at the big run-up…I was probably in 10th place coming to the hill and while everyone was trying to find their place along the edges I decided to run straight up the middle and made it cleanly up and landed in second place behind Amanda Bye. That felt pretty good. There was a great vibe of people cheering and having fun. I lost a little ground throughout the race, but every run-up was clean and I didn’t hesitate on any of the descents.
I finished up 6th in the SW3 race and had a few minutes to decide whether to race MW35+. I may have cut it a little close, but I rolled up to the line just in time and did it all again. Although I was definitely tired, I found that I was still riding cleanly and managing to find some better lines in the second race. I pulled through with a 4th place finish, but decided that may placement that day wasn’t the most important part. It was how I felt afterwards. I was a bit more confident and had shaken the nerves off. I’m excited for my next race and hope to keep improving.