Amanda Bye overcomes logistical difficulties to have the time of her life at CX Nationals.
Nervous? Yes, the logistics are tough getting to a race out of state and then you hope that all goes as planned. Fortunately I sent my bike with Pro Bike Express and thus that part of the trip is always flawless- my bike was perfectly tuned and ready when I needed it for my 8AM course preride. That was the only part that went as planned.
The day before I was to fly out of Denver to North Carolina, my flight was delayed, which caused me to miss my connection. The airport was great about rescheduling and even flew me into Asheville, however, with all the delays this meant that I arrived at the hotel at midnight. I made a plan for the next morning but sleeping alluded me much of the night.
The next morning everything went so smooth. I picked up my registration, prerode the course two times and stayed warm. I felt very confident with this technical course. The ground was frozen but not slick, just hard, everything was ridable, except the two crazy steep uphills. My legs felt good, even with 13 hours in the airport the day before.
The start of the race was great, I was sitting top 10, I pushed with everything I had. There was a gradual ascent on road, followed by lots of power zapping grass and then a steep fly over followed by more grass. Then the fun part– climbing, lots of it, one steep hill that I could barely run let alone ride, off camber grass areas that seemed to go on for days and more inclines, some gravel areas, a barn that was lit very romantically with white light on a string, more uphills and two quick downhills that were easy to ride as long as you kept your speed up. This led to another fly over, a punchy steep uphill that I ran and more, yes more, climbing that was less steep but so long, more off camber turns and another short, drop off, some winding turns over roots. Then there was mud and grass. Towards the end of the lap were two barriers in a straight away, likely the easiest part of the course. Unfortunately I dropped my bike straight on a barrier and my chain fell behind my chain guard, it took awhile for me to get it unstuck and back on. In the meantime, several ladies took this time to pass me. Psychologically I slowed after this, not from being scared to race but rather due to feeling defeated for a brief moment but that was all it took to lose several spots.
The rest of the race was fun, I slid out in the mud one time and out in an off camber area. Another lady and I battled back and forth. I would take her in the technical sections and she would pass me in the power sections. It was so much fun. At the end she out sprinted me but it did not matter as I knew I had given it my all. Is it nerve racking to race nationals? Yes. Would I do it again? Without a moments hesitation–yes.
Thank you to Pro Bike Express and all the Colorado hecklers–I mean “cheerers” that were out there. You sure did keep me going.