This past weekend, I headed to the Providence Cyclocross Festival in Providence, Rhode Island to duke it out with some of the best racers in the country I drove up on Friday night and knew I’d be facing a similar field to Gloucester, which meant making the top ten was going to be quite a feat. The courses in Providence don’t generally favor my strengths as a cyclocross racer but are two of the most fun and challenging courses we face all season. There’s always something for everyone… a challenging run-up, barriers on one of the fastest parts of the course, challenging corners, and some fast power sections.
I got to the course super early on Saturday and did some course recon…probably too early in hindsight but I was so amped up sitting in the hotel room I didn’t know what else to do. The more I prerode, the more I realized how important a good start would be if I wanted to finish in the top 10. I also knew it’d be important to find a group to sit in with. I had a second row call up and chose to line up behind Andrea Smith as I knew she’d have a killer start. Unfortunately, when the whistle blew, I had a less than stellar start and found myself much further back at the first turn than I’d hoped. I worked to maneuver my way around some of the other racers but found myself chasing from way back well before we hit the third turn! I knew quickly that my legs felt empty – no snap no mojo. I would spend the rest of the race working as hard as I could to stay in the top 15. I crossed the finish line in 13th and feeling pretty frustrated; I’d had great legs all week and a fire in my belly and as much as I wanted to race well, my legs just didn’t have it. I got in a good cool down and hoped for a better day on Sunday.
The weather for Sunday called for rain to begin just was our race was to begin and it was a pretty accurate forecast. Even though we’d gotten to preride a dry course, the rain that started 30 minutes before our race made it seem like we were racing on oil! I didn’t have a great start but was able to make my way towards the front of the race just as we hit the first off camber straightaway. As soon as we got there, a huge group of riders went down, followed by 2-3 more. I breathed a sigh of relief as I made my way around them only to go down moments later. I got up and took off as quickly as I could, still sitting in the top 10. The course was so slippery – it seemed like no matter what line I took through the corners, I had to go so slow. As I passed the pit, Dan yelled that I needed less pressure and to come in for a bike. The next time we passed by, I pitted and grabbed a bike with less pressure in the tires. I chased hard, trying to make up for lots of bad bike handling and early in the race but it took a long time to pick the riders in front of me off. Just as I felt like my legs had come alive and my handling skills had kicked in, I realized we only had 1 to go! I knew I was sitting 11th and didn’t want to finish any further back but still felt 10th was attainable. I put every ounce of mojo into the pedals that I could muster but to no avail… finished in 11th for the day.
I left Providence feeling disappointed in my results for the weekend. I know I’m not racing to my full potential and making silly mistakes. I haven’t put together as many weekends of great racing as I’d like at this point. I’m headed to Ft. Collins for the USGP this weekend and will spend this week revisiting some of the basic things I used to do to prep for a race. I know it will all come together soon and the good news is there are over 20 races left in the season!