Two days down, one to go. Saturday's race was a fun twisty course in a park in Middletown, Ohio. Another solid field with strong riders Rachel Llyod and Laura Van Gilder showing up. It felt like mid July out there with the heat and sun - I know it's not true cross weather but the cold will be here soon enough! After a slight number mixup on the line - somehow duplicate numbers were given to almost 10 riders - we were ready to go. My start was a little better but I still got stuck behind quite a few riders and luckily avoided a crash of girls at the barriers. I picked off a few riders and then on lap 2 took a corner too hot and slid out. Two riders came around me and I tried to stay calm and move back up to them. Following the one set of barriers was a bit of a hill run up and I took back my 7th position. I pushed it on the open sections trying to get any sort of gap I could. I had maybe 5 seconds with two laps to go when I passed a running Georgia Gould. She had an unfortunate 2nd mechanical and for a moment thought 6th might be within reach. Devon and LVG were duking it out for 4th maybe 30 seconds ahead of me. I was getting a little tired and thirsty as I came through with one to go and I could hear the crowds cheering on Georgia as she was on a mission to make up some lost ground. With just half a lap to go she came around me and I tried to stay on her wheel but knew that wouldn't be an easy feat. Admittedly I was sort of complacent with 7th and the 15 second gap I had on the rider behind me. I just wanted to stay upright and make it through the monster sandpit. And that I did for another 7th place finish. Given the talent at these races I'm really happy with that and how I've been feeling. Hopefully I can continue to improve in the weeks to come.
After the race I hightailed it back to the van to rehydrate when I heard the music box sounds of an ice cream truck. I thought it was a cell phone at first but there it was just down the street - an ice cream truck. I grabbed my wallet and Mike (who once again was a trooper in the pit for me, cheering me on every lap) and we picked out some frosty treats. A frozen cherry slush for me and a rocket pop for Mike - it was perfect.
The men's race was next and there was a huge pileup of guys in the start. Marko was able to avoid most of it but Brian was not so lucky and went down and got run over by some riders. Marko was ridding top 10 all race and was looking powerful as he hunted down riders. He kept seperating himself from guys and ended up moving up to 6th by the finish - a great race for him. Brian moved up on a lot of riders and was able to still finish 15th despite the bad crash.
We're all feeling a bit tired from two hard days of racing but are looking forward to today's big race. It's a UCI C1 which means more cash and for the guys it means more points. This is probably the closest I'll get to a cross stage race and am excited for this last day. Just 45 minutes of suffering! Sounds like fun to me! Thanks for checking in - I'll post photos tomorrow.