“So, I think I’m gonna race ‘cross this year.” Those were the words I can remember saying with such excitement. I was awesome at traditional sports growing up and had no doubts I would be good at cyclcocross. I gave running a try, ran a half marathon and decided the pain in my IT band just wasn’t worth it. I really had nothing else, other than my mountain bike, and being an athletic “has been” wasn’t my favorite choice. Getting old sucks…let’s face it. I needed a little competition in my life.
I bought my mountain bike in April. My brother built the Surly in May. I got as many rides in as I could. I rode a 25+ lb steel frame bike with a standard and Shimano 105. I went on every road ride I could, sucking wind and lagging behind. Thursday night rides up Buffalo Mountain nearly stopped my heart. At the end of the summer I road nearly 70 miles with 4,000 ft of climbing on that beast. Steel might be real, but it hurts like a bitch.
The guys asked me to come work at the shop in August. Trevor was nice enough to put me on his Stevens Prestige ‘cross bike since he wasn’t riding it. The MSG series kicked off in September. I totally thought I had this. I was SO wrong.
I had no idea what I was doing. My dismounts sucked. My remounts sucked. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t pedal. I always got the hole shot but couldn’t stay up front. I was a one-lap-wonder. I wanted to quit. Race after race…I died. “When am I going to get better at this shit?!”
I hired a coach. I raced Cincy3 and the USGP in Louisville. They changed me. I started getting better. I busted ass during the week so I could produce something other than a disappointment on the weekends. I got a Garmin. I produced data. I rode the shit out of the trainer. I got my ass handed to me a little more. Then….BOOM.
I got faster. I got stronger. I beat chicks that smashed me earlier in the season. I rode sand pits without getting off my bike. I rode nasty, muddy slop that I once could only ride on my mountain bike. I used tactics and passed people when it mattered. I suffered for the cause.
Last weekend was huge for me, placing 16 out of 27 ladies at the NC State Championships. NC brings the heat, no matter what category, and I was super stoked to finish mid-pack. Mars Hill absolutely kicked my ass the day before.
|Spiral of Death at MSG finale. Unicoi, TN.|
MSG held the series finale today in Unicoi, TN. I have statistically raced poorly here in past races. My motor always seemed to fail me. Today I just wanted to keep my 2nd place spot in series points. That was my ONLY goal. Let’s just say I surpassed it. From hole shots to log hops, I killed myself today. I kept my series position and walked away with a smile on my face…after I puked, of course.
|CX 4 Series podium. Grace Bishop, 1st. Megan Archer, 2nd. Jenna Carico, 3rd.|
Training…it pays off, kids. I’ve watched my body transform into something I don’t even recognize anymore. I’m a cyclist. This is something I’ve actually had to work my ass off for. For once in my life, I had to rely on my desire to work hard with no natural talent. Cyclocross wasn’t something I could just hop on a bike and be good at.
As I lay here utterly exhausted, I can honestly say I left everything I had on the course today. I’m inspired. I’m hopeful. Most of all, I’m thankful for a body that allows me to do such great things. So, hello Cat 3. I welcome you with open arms. I will kill myself all summer to be good at you. I’m a sucker for the glory that comes with being better than myself.