Fresh off a redeye Saturday morning, I popped on a fresh shirt, stopped by Buzz for a Pumpkin Latte (omg I miss those!!) and went to cheer on my teammates at DCCX Day 1. Mel was racing the Women's Elite race at 12pm and the boys would be racing the Men's 3/4 later on. I almost cried when I strolled up to the team tent - it felt like I was home again for the first time in a long time. Everyone was there - full of smiles and hugs. Mel had even made cupcakes to pair perfectly with beer on a perfect fall day.
From the team tent, we had a good view of some barriers and the "W' turn section (a couple 180s up and down a small hill), which made for an awesome place to cowbell and cheer. The course would go the opposite direction on Sunday, but in between races, I threw on some shorts and spun around with Dawn to get a feel for the course, as well as the awesome Trek Boone that she was letting me borrow for the weekend. And not only was Dawn letting me borrow her sweet ride -- she had put pink bar tape and cable housing on the matte black frame - making it look ladylike and badass at the same time. Perfection in a bicycle :-)
The course was fun and fast, and I was excited to attempt to tear it up on Sunday. We rolled back to the tent to prepare to cheer on the guys - and fuel up with some pizza and cupcakes of course. Something's gotta soak up the beer...
|Matt crushing them Men's 3/4|
Matt had a solid race - and I was excited to see Rachel and Dave out cheering as well. Everyone was at DCCX it seemed! We watched bit of the men's pro race before packing it up and heading over to Mel's for a team barbecue. So good just to sit and catch up - watch Griffin and Bryce play -- and the excitement got even bigger when Coach Brian and Amy stopped by for a bit! Great to see them.
The evening flew by way too fast, and before I knew it, it was bedtime for little racers.
Up and early Sunday ... and when I say "early" it's early by the fact that I was still on west coast time. I may have gotten 8 hours of sleep, but 7am still feels like 4am and is painful. My Mom made pancakes, which was awesome pre-race fuel. Then it was time to head back to DC to not only cheer, but race myself today! Time to get stoked!
It was freezing (again - by west coast standards) so I did my pre-riding wearing fleece pants and an assortment of jackets. I guess my blood has thinned a little out on the west coast... The "reverse" direction ..which is actually the "normal" direction from the past few years, had a few tricky spots in it - but again, more than anything - I was just stoked I could corner with traction and without fear of sliding out on crazy loose dirt.
|Start of the Women's Elite Race|
The whistle blew and I completely botched my start -- awesome. But seeing friends and family smiling and cheering I decided I might as well see what I could do, shifted down and sprinted to bridge up to the lead group. Gigidy. I wasn't going to win - but I could at least have fun for a few laps - right?
What brought a HUGE smile to my face, more so than any place I might be fighting for - were the people cheering for me. When you're in the pain cafe and can only focus on the taped off stretch of grass in front of you - most of the sidelines can be a blur - but you DO hear and sometimes you DO see the folks that are there supporting you. What I heard - was my name, my old race nickname, and tons of cheers. It felt like home, because, well it was home.
Coming up on the W-turn, I did about fall off my bicycle laughing a few times because the BORT family was there in rare form. Mel was cheering and laughing, and well, munchkin had brought a little bit of SF to throw in to the wild mix and Hot Cookie was waving as the ladies passed by. Nothing gets you riding faster than a pair of bright red undies ....
While my legs started to poop out, my smile didn't - I grinned at my parents as I climbed up the finishing stretch one final time and finished around 15th or so with a huge grin on my face. At the end of the day - this was one of the first races, where a less than stellar performance didn't annoy me - and while maybe it should have, what really mattered this weekend, were the family and friends I was reconnecting with and the sense of home and happiness.
Thanks as always to the amazing Doug Graham for the photos, HUGE thanks to the ENTIRE Bicycle Outfitters Race Team for a fantastic weekend, DCMTB for a fantastic race as always, and all my MABRA friends who I got to catch up with - I miss you all so much -- anytime you want to visit California - you've got a place to stay!
Up next? Rest weekend and then back to NorCalCX up in Novato November 2nd!