From: Lee Penn
Date: Nov 12, 2007 5:01 PM
Good afternoon rodents!
Rum River – what a race. I think this was my hardest race of the
season, to be honest. I had been traveling earlier in the week, and I
had some asthma. I felt pretty good and pretty strong but not really
Going into the very last race of the CRY competition, I was in third
position with 111 points after six races. The two women in front of
me were June and Kris, both with 121 points totalled from their seven
best races. So, I knew I needed to do well in this race in order to
win CRY for the C2s….If one or both of them had beaten me, I needed
at least a third place finish in order to win CRY.
Ok – so, now I’m a little nervous. I’ve had the best luck – no
mechanicals – only minor crashes – no problems to speak of in my six c
races (although it really is strange how I seem to gain new bruises
after every race no matter whether I crash or not). So, I’m kind of
nervous that I’m going to have some kind of a problem that will mean I
will DNF or DFL or something like that.
I rode with Sara to Milaca (thanks for the ride Sara!), and then she
and I pre-rode the course together. It was a long and fast course
with a funky bridge with widely spaced boards, a section of very soft
sandy gravel, quite a bit of single track, some grassy sections, and
I ended up riding the course four times (seems to be my magic number)
before lining up for the c-race. For the first time, the officials
decided to start the women separately. Most of the C2s wanted the
separate start… Some of the C2s did not (I was in this category).
I’m not sure what motivated that decision…. As a result, the faster
of the women had to contend with passing the slower of the men and
So, the men and juniors go off before us. We waited about 45 seconds
before our start. As usual, I had a terrible start, compounded by a
dropped chain upon my approach to the first barrier (has never
happened to me). I ran up the run-up and then fixed my chain before
hopping onto my bike and ending up in something like 8th position,
maybe worse. Crud! This is NOT good. After the bridge, there is a
small descent into the soft, sandy, gravelly section, in which I was
almost taken out by another rider – she had some priceless verbage to
go with her wild swerving trajectory…. After she regained control
of her bike and I knew I could pass her without crashing, I laid it
out and pushed my pace hard. I quickly overtook two or three women.
At this point, leading into the first bit of single track, I think I
was in fourth position. Actually, that might have been after the full
first lap. Right, the laps of red just sort of melt together, making
it difficult to exactly remember what happened during each lap.
Anyway, June, Kris, and grey t-shirt were ahead of me leading into the
single track. I just held my position as I don’t have loads of
experience in this section while both Kris and June have single track
experience. On the grassy section, I pushed the pace hard, gaining on
them at the barrier and the barrier/run-up. June, Kris, and GreyT
were riding very strongly, and I was wheezing. Crud!
End of what I think was the third lap – the laps really do kind of run
together when you’re red-lining and wheezing – I passed June on the
barrier/run-up leading to the bridge section – I seem to like
attacking on run-ups, to be honest.
Then, the descent – I could see Kris in orange and GreyT ahead.
Fourth (or fifth?) lap – I passed GreyT after the bridge… I pass
Kris on the sandy gravelly road. She passed me on the double strip of
gravelly road. I decided to stay right with her on the single track
(she’s better than me on the single track) – carefully following her
every line and matching her pace (I think that was a really smart move
on my part!). Then, on the grass, right at the first barrier, I
passed her for good. Last lap, I kept my pace high and attempted to
pretend that I was not asthmatic (it was nothing like Red Barn,
actually). I focused on making NO errors. Finish had me outsprinting
Bruce, which was satisfying….
This race FELT harder than the other six races I had finished. It was
so rewarding to suffer so but end with success! I was tired at the
end, but lined up for the b-race anyway. Heck, I had paid my five
bux! Although I did go get some food, I didn’t do what I had planned
- spinning about until the start. Instead, I got kind of cold and so
on while chatting with people and just being generally pleased with
the world that I had really raced hard to an excellent result! And, I
knew I had won CRY/C2 – what a trip!
So, I’m lined up for the b-race, and I have a terrible start…. Sound
familiar? I have GOT to learn this start thing. Sara tells me that
you just have to hurt hurt hurt… Ok. Note to self – ignore the
fact that your bod apparently prefers to have a little bit of a warmup
prior to total all out redlining…. Right – back to the race. My
goal for this race was simple – finish. Everytime I remounted, I got
a hard knot in my left calf – people talk about cramps, but I never
had experienced the pain described. Yeah, now I get that. Note to
self – spinning between races is super important! As I was riding, I
saw that I was actually catching up to a couple of people in front of
me – my MO, I guess (crappy start followed by increased pace and
improved race position). But… that was just until the last three
laps. I did decide to pull out of the path of the lead group… and I
was FREAKIN’ TIRED!!!! I saw Charlie walking with his bike – I
offered him my bike (hoping he would say – SURE!!! Thanks!!! Nope -
he didn’t. Dangit, I really did have to finish that race). With two
laps to go, I just had nothing left. So, I just went for the finish.
On my last go up the second run-up, I ran half and then just walked
the second half. I didn’t even pedal on the road after the descent.
And, I signed “D” “F” “L” upon finishing. Indeed, I was 54th out of
54 finishers (or so the official told me). And, Michael – THANK YOU
for the handups during the B-race!!!!! You did a great job.
All in all, an immensely satisfying pair of races followed by a pair
of Summits that really just put the icing on my very very
sweeeeeeeeeeeeet CRY cake!
All rodents racing seemed to have strong races.
Yeah – I’m totally addicted to CX! More please!