Thursday, November 02, 2006

The best race report ever...

From Renee's blog:

Washington Park Race Report as told to my teammates

The beauty of cross is in looking deep within yourself and seeing what you find. It's in pushing yourself when your heart is in your throat from barreling down an off camber turn and feeling alive from fear and excitement. It's in barreling into barriers with a faith that you can get off and over without landing on your face (or tweaking your knee). It's in pressing on when you are gasping for breath and feel like you're barely moving on a so-called run up.

The glory of cross is in the personal challenge that you know everyone is facing. It's the glory of a section where you find the sweet line and rail the turn or the downhill. It's the glory of finally feeling like you finally had one time when the mount or dismount happened like you dreamt it could. It's the glory of pushing yourself just a little bit more on an uphill or a long flat section or to not brake in the corners.

The fun of cross is in doing something that isn't quite sane. It's the absurdity of the mistakes you make when you're redlined and aren't thinking straight. It's the absurdity of reliving painful moments over and over with your teammates, friends and people you hardly even know. It's the absurdity of trying to explain your sport to friends, family and co-workers who can't get over the idea that you run with your bike over man made obstacles.

And at Washington Park the full on wonder of cross is displayed in doing all that in a costume or surrounded by people in costumes.

For me that is Cyclocross . . .

Washington Park always challenges me at every level . . . it has beat me down psychologically in the past to the point of wanting to stop. And yet I've carried on because even at Washington Park I can find something that I love. Last year it was the run up that kept me motivated. For some reason the run up at Washington Park is perfect for me. It's neither too long nor too short. It's not to flat or too steep. It's really just right Yet last year that was the only thing that I liked.

This year I was determined to put all that in the past and start a new relationship with Washington Park. I realize that of all the courses in the series this is the one that has the most to teach me. It starts with the little steep kicker climb that I have had to learn to embrace and believe that I can stand and power to the top. It continues to challenge me with super fast flat barriers where I must shut out memories of similar barriers where I tore my ACL. The challenge continues on with long straight sections with grass or pavement that tear at my soul and make me look for strength deep within myself to overcome my doubts that I can push through these sections and maintain speed.

On Sunday I learned that I will make it to the top of the steep little climb every lap if I dig down deep. That I can fly through the barriers if I clear my mind of haunted thoughts and just do what I know. That at times I have the will to ride the flats especially if I'm being chased.

I also realize that I have a lot more to learn about myself in this crazy rollercoaster ride that is cyclcoross and that every race will have new challenges for me to overcome. It's not easy finding that perfect focus that can propel your performance to new heights but every week gives a new opportunity to try. That's the beauty, glory and fun that is Cross.

Well, that and getting to wear a "sexy" Little Red Riding Hood costume at my age!