This pretty sums up my state of mind right now. Happy.
Happy to be here in Belgium. Happy to be riding my bike outside. Just generally happy. I’ve managed over the last little bit to have some time to think about my season. You know – it was pretty darn good. I improved so much over last year. I went from finishing in the 20s in the New England Verge Series to consistently finishing in the top 12. I was 8th at elite nationals (I was 3rd in the masters category the year before). I won the Ontario Provinicial cyclo-cross elite women’s race. And here in Belgium – I have continued to improve. Last year I was getting lapped in races – so typically I was over 8 minutes off the pace of the winner. This year I got lapped only once (a poor ride at Zolder with a cold and some serious nerves). The rest of the time I finished with no danger of being lapped – beating girls by over two minutes who the previous year were beating me by two minutes.
I’m not trying to brag – but I just need to see this in black and white to remind myself how far I’ve come. It also helps to remind me how much farther I want to go.
A few people have been asking around, wondering why I’m not racing anymore. Well, as I’ve written here before, I’ve hit my limit with ‘cross racing for this season. I struggled with motivation in Surhuisterveen so I didn’t go to Roubaix. I missed a few races due to my flu experience. But really, I only did not complete one race on my schedule – Roubaix. There is no big mystery here.
This season I did much more racing and training than ever. I came here – had some good races, got sick, had some more good races, had a tough race, got sick again, raced well again, and then the wheels finally fell off. This is not failure. This is a learning experience.
Don’t worry, I’m not quitting. I’m simply done for the season. I finished a few days earlier than planned. But I’m already working on a plan for next year. Slowly ticking things off in my brain. I’ll do more when I get home during my rest week. I’ll have a chance to talk to my coach and with my sports psychologist.
This has been a great season. I had a tremendous road season. Transitioned nicely to the cyclo-cross season. Raced a long season and best of all I get to finish it off in the mecca of cyclo-cross. Doesn’t get much better.
Scored two of the best items ever today at Van Eyck in Geel. Full-zip Vermarc tights (yes Shaun – the ones we were searching for last year!). Neils Albert World Champion toque (hat) – so smooth – white with the World Champ stripes and the worlds Neils Albert on it. Who knew I could get so excited over a pair of tights and a hat! Easily pleased I guess.
On the group ride I met a friendly Belgian man who was very interested in my trip here and my racing. I told him I didn’t qualify for the World Champs. His response – “Well, you’re in the prime of your life. Try again for next year!”. I like the way this guy thinks!
Okay, I’m out. I’m taking the day off the bike tomorrow and taking a trip to Antwerp. Some walking. Some sight seeing. Some shopping. Hopefully a nice coffee shop. A visit to the yarn store. Some picture taking. Should be good. Marc and Ed are off to Mol tomorrow to ride the Masters World Champs course. Racing action is this Saturday.