How much fun?

August 14, 2006 § Leave a comment

Soooooooooooooo much fun.

Manhattan Beach was awesome. The whole trip I felt elated to be heading down to such a big race; the excitement of just being there overpowered most of the bad nerves and for once I was just able to just plain enjoy the experience. It’s a good thing, too, because if I’d been panicky the way I usually get I would have missed the beautiful ocean view on my tune-up ride and wouldn’t have realized that “beach coture” (i.e. wearing your bathing suit as normal clothing in restaurants, shops, and just driving around) is a very comical thing.

The race itself was great — it wasn’t as star-studded as I had hoped, but there were enough recognizable kits to make me feel like I was starting in a new league, and it definitely was not an easy race for me. The hills were a little more than I expected, but the pack didn’t use them to their advantage and it seemed like each lap I would come through the start/finish trying to close an eight-foot gap, only to nestle back in as everyone slowed way way down on the bumps. Seemed like a silly move on their part, but it worked for me.

My teammate took the first prime — so proud of her! I didn’t have the legs or the guts to even consider primes; I just wanted to finish the damn thing. As we came into three to go I realized I was going to make it and had a big grin on my face as I tried (again) to close that darn gap. The announcer apparently wasn’t as sure as I was that I would make it; as I went by he called out “three laps to go — hang on, honey!” At least they knew I was trying…

The final lap had an explosive crash that took out a friend and shook me up a little, but it was behind me and to the side (though somehow one of the bikes ended up tangled in the back wheel of the gal in front of me, perpendicular to her bike). I got through it and caught back up with the pack, and went up the side to try and get the inside line for the final turn. After seeing that crash and realizing that I was so tired I couldn’t possibly be a good judge of what was safe and what wasn’t, I chickened out and didn’t move up the way I’d planned; instead I waited in line and sprinted for a mid-pack finish, six spots out of the money. Not bad for my first time.

I cannot wait to do some more of these NRC races next year. So much fun.

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