Here is a quick race update for your crappy snow/rain day reading pleasure:
Rob and I ventured up the coast of Maine for two days of Downeast Cyclocross this past weekend. With the race being close to great shopping, eating, and drinking in Freeport and Portland, we decided to make a long weekend of it. Unfortunately we forgot our camera, so I don't have any photos to highlight the great fun we had racing around in cow poop, I mean mud. For now I'll have to give you this photo to set the scene:
The venue was Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine. The Pineland grounds on the whole are beautiful. Think rolling green grassy hills, sweeping views, and trees at full fall color. However, the actual race location was at the low lying Pineland FARM. Now think racing around a farm barn that has the distinct odor of cow manure with long sections of unrideable shoe sucking mud. The Pineland grounds are huge and used for ultra distance trail runs. I'm surprised they couldn't use a little more of the nice terrain, but no matter...it's cyclocross.
As for the actual racing recap? A few weekends of racing the Verge series has rewarded me with better starting positions. I graduated to the second row this weekend and it paid off. On day 1 I had a decent start, no major mishaps and landed in 4th. Day 2, however, sucked every last bit of life out of me. I was making some silly and costly mistakes, but still in 6th when I mentally just decided that I was done. Every muscle in my body hurt, I wasn't exactly having a great time, and it's not like I was getting paid to race. I thought about quitting right then and there, but what would my fellow racer-xers say if I did?!?! For fear of their punishment and mockery, I kept the pedals moving and repeated, "I am not a quitter." in my head. Turns out that it actually got me through the rest of the race, and by another racer's bad luck, I even slid one more spot ahead to finish 5th.
Here's where I'm wishing the word "training" had entered my brain before the cyclocross season started. Being close to the podium and not having the fitness to close the deal is definitely disappointing. On the other hand, I'm also thinking that finishing top 5 against some super tough Cat 3 girls after a summer of no racing, no training and a lot of playing (i.e. beer drinking) actually IS winning in my book.
We followed the race on Sunday with an impromptu picnic in the warm fall sun with goods from the farm's kick a$$ market and split a large bottle of Alagash Black. To complete the race recovery, I also picked up some handmade dark chocolate truffles from Dean's Sweets in Portland. Yum.