CX Nationals. The last race of the year. After a pretty solid race on day 2 in Chicago I was confident I had the form and fitness for a good result at Nationals. I didn't have much pressure on myself for the race because I wasn't about to let an entire season of hard work and good results hinge on one race. So I think I was in a good mindset all week.
On Friday I went to the race course to watch Elicia race, but I chose to leave my bikes at home. I knew the conditions were going to be ever changing and didn't see much point in thrashing the bikes before Sundays race. I made the right decision. I had a blast watching Elicia race. She finished 5th in some pretty nasty conditions. Not bad for a California Girl!! After the race I went over to Machinery Row for a pre-race meet and greet w/ a bunch of the other pro racers and lots of WI superfans. It was a pretty cool atmosphere!
Saturday I opted to stay at home, get in a good quality ride, and watch the Packers play...too bad they got crushed by the Niners.
Race day. The frigid temps arrived. The drive over started w/ about 2" of solid ice all over everything on the Lakeshore. It was about 20 degrees. We made the 2 hour drive over to Madison and pulled in the parking lot like rockstars. It helps to be local and to have the support of Trek!
I went out and got in a few laps on the course and even though it was 20 degrees the course was thawing out with the sun shining. The frozen ruts were getting softer which was awesome because it was really bumpy, the bikes were caking w/ mud then freeezing which was not awesome. Bikes quickly were pushing 35-40lbs w/ half of the weight being frozen mud. Nothing you can do in conditions like that though except laugh and perservere.
By the time we raced the sun had gone down and in my opinion the conditions were about as ideal as one could hope for with the temps still in the 20's and wind chill in the single digits. I dressed perfectly for the race which I was happy about. My bikes worked pretty darn good considering the elements. I had times that the shifting and brake lines were frozen, my pedals/shoes froze up everytime you had to dismount to get over the barriers, and the worst was probably my freewheels freezing up which would cause my chain to slack and then fall off...that happened twice...luckily pretty close to the pits.
In the end not the result I wanted or was capable of, but it was the best I could do right at that given time. The season itself was a success with better and more consistent results than ever. Thanks everyone for all the support. Already looking forward to 2013!