What a week it’s been! The CX national championship in Hartford, CN did not disappoint.
I got to shred the course in four different races this week, and it felt like a different track every time I rode it.
The event started for me on Wednesday, with the Collegiate National Championship. Very rainy conditions left the course thick with mud and the competitors running and riding through peanut butter mud ankle deep.
I started the race smooth and assumed my position at the front early in the first lap. Riding within my limits I headed into the 2nd lap with over a 20 second lead. After the run up on the back side of the course I mounted and slid out into a post sending me over the bars and flat on my back in the mud. While lecturing myself to “focus” I remounted my bike and discovered that my chain was jammed and I couldn’t turn over the pedals at all. After a brief moment of imaging the victory slip away, I began to run, full force toward the pit 600 meters away. There was no way I was losing this race due to a mechanical. I was praying and my heart was racing. I was counting on God to get me through this one. Exiting the pit in 3rd I drilled it to the line, taking back my lead less than half way into the 3rd lap. Never looking back and leaving room for inevitable errors that come with the mud, I got across the line 1:29 ahead of 2nd place. Gaining myself the title of Collegiate Cyclocross National Champion!
On Thursday, I kitted up for a dry and rutted course where I raced 2 laps for the collegiate relay which ended up 4th.
Friday, still new conditions were brewing with a wetter but still speedy course. I got the chance to ride in the non-championship relay with some of the Clif bar men, and we had a blast! Holding the lead from start to finish we got to fly the Clif Bar colors for all to see.
Sunday: the day of the u23 national championship. Sunday was about 15 degrees with inches and inches of snow and ice that came the day before. The conditions from Wednesday were long gone and this was a new game. When the whistle blew I missed my pedal and that was all it took. The field surrounded me and people crashing in front of me took away all opportunity for me to pass and get up to the leaders. Half way into the lap I was 15th but that was not how I intended to finish this race. I rode carefully, holding my line and jumping over those around me who were crashing. I moved to 8th by the end of the lap. I kept my head up and looking turns ahead to the people I planned to race against. With decreasing lap times, ending on a lap 40 seconds faster than my first, I had a comeback of a race and finished in 3rd for the bronze!
Hartford was good to me this week. Even though it was 15 degrees, I definitely had cross fever! Thank you to the Clif Pro Team, Lindenwood University, my coach Chris Mileski, and the Lord Almighty for being with me every pedal stroke of the way.