Sunday brought my 2012 mountain bike race season to an official close, and while I loved every minute of it (almost), I sure am glad to take a break. It's funny though... I say this, but earlier this morning I found myself on Bikereg.com looking at the remaining mountain bike races in the New England area.
I'm signed up for a handful of cyclocross races with the hope that I'll learn how to push myself a little harder. It's not my favorite sort of racing (short, intense, lots of dismounts and remounts), but it'll keep me going while I'm plugging away at my education. I'm a little nervous... I'm inexperienced at it, and I am expected to race at the Cat 1 level because of my experience in the MTB race world. I've never done a road race, so I can't even draw from that sort of experience (nor do I ever wish to have that experience).
So, mountain bike race season, for me, is complete for 2012. The Landmine Classic, at Wompatuck State Forest in Hingham Mass, is a race I've done a few times before. The first time I did it, I hated every moment of it, but I went back and raced the marathon version twice and loved it. This year, with time constraints and my daughter there waiting for me to finish, I figured there was no need to be out racing for half the day. Besides, it sure would be nice to come through the 25 mile loop and be finished rather than get back out there for another lap.
The week leading up to the race, like many years in the past, brought with it a fair amount of rain. For me, that would work to my advantage - I knew I wasn't at my peak for speed, but I knew I could ride the challenging wet roots and rocks without much of a hitch.
The race started off in the usual fashion - me trying to keep up with the other girls at the start. I think I actually stayed within 20 feet of them for the first 1/2 mile or so. My starts are terrible though, and they slowly started to slip away. Hopefully a little bit of cyclocross will help me with that. Meanwhile, I didn't let that bother me. I knew there was plenty of tech coming up and hoped they'd slow a little in there. I never saw either of my opponents again until the end of the race, but I wasn't far from second. Crystal Anthony finished in 2:08:26, Karin Holmes in 2:14:01, and I was right there at 2:14:52. There were definitely places where I know I should have been going faster or harder. I could have passed some people sooner, and instead of taking my time to eat and drink on the paved sections (they connected a lot of the singletrack sections), I could have chugged a little faster and really hammered. But, as I've already said, I'm not at my fastest right now anyhow.
The course was a blast, and I was fortunate enough to have friends from the NBX team offer to keep an eye on my daughter while I was out racing. Not only that, but along with the Union Velo team, my NBX pals also provided us with a post-race gourmet buffet. It was a great ending to the season.
Based on the number of races I did this season with the Root 66 Race Series, I finished in top standing for points. This means I got to take home a Series Champion Root 66 Jersey!
A big thank you to all of my friends and family this season for putting up with me and this crazy obsession... it's been a lot of fun. 2013 will be even better!
In the meantime, I'm back in school full-time - 5 courses + 2 labs = a lot of f-ing work. The good news is, I'm almost done with my English degree, and then I can completely devote myself to Bio and get it done. Don't ask me what I plan on doing with my degree(s)... I haven't officially decided on anything yet. It's an evolutionary process for me, but I know that I'm on the right track with biology. I can't get enough of it.
Okay, now where did I put that cowbell...