It really is pretty cool to race my bike on Boxing Day. Boxing Day is one of my favorite days. Not sure why really – guess because traditionally in my family it was a day where we could really unwind and just do “what we wanted”. Typically this meant, playing some road hockey with my brother and his friends and then relaxing with one of my new books. A perfect day for a kid growing up in Northern Saskatchewan.
And now, a great Boxing Day means racing in one of the biggest cyclo-cross races of the season and then coming home to relax with a good book and my favorite guy. For extra spice this year, this also means hanging out with our new friends from Denmark, Canada, and the U.S. Really doesn’t get much better.
I’ve written a race report. Not a race I’m happy with. No do overs. Just “do betters”.
Funny because I had a good warm-up today. Yesterday the “big” descent was not open. So today my mission was to conquer this descent. And I did this. In the warm-up I crashed the first time down. But I picked myself up, climbed up the descent and rode down it properly. I then rode the rest of the course and then came back to ride the descent again. Again, I got down it. Good. Feeling confident. Last year, this descent really scared me. So I was happy to roll back to the car knowing I could ride the descent. Rest of the warm-up routine went well.
Many thanks to Tim for taking my bike to the pits and to Jos for taking my warm-up clothes. Also big thanks for Jacob for looking after my bike during the race. Big shout out to everyone for the cheering and support before, during and after the race. Great to hang out with Luc again as well.
So when I approached the big descent the first time during the race, I was ready for it. Confident. Knew I could get down it. Well, I didn’t. I crashed. Hard. Damn it. Lost contact with the group and played catch up and survival. Then each time I came to the descent I would try but I didn’t try hard enough. I couldn’t ride it. It got the better of me. Damn it. This frustrates me. I’m a better rider than this. I let fear catch me today. Ridiculous because I’ve ridden down harder. Yes, I’m ticked off with myself. I need to do better. I have to do better. I put in the hard work physically and I need to ride better technically. I have the skills. I just have too much “brain” happening and not enough “freedom on the bike”.
Since I got lapped, I was pulled. So I rolled to the car… It was locked. I had no dry clothes to put on. Luckily I found Geoff Proctor and he let me hang out in the U.S.A tent for a bit. Then a super friendly guy helping the U.S. team staff member saw me shivering and told me to get in the van. So I surprised Brian Matter, Justin Lindine and Els Delaere. But luckily no one minded and I got warm in their van as these two guys got ready for the elite men’s race. Many thanks to Geoff and his guys/gals for helping me out.
I eventually hopped on the trainer and got a good cool down in. Talked to Luc about the race – always interesting to get another perspective on the race. Then Marc arrived! Marc raced today so he made it only at the end as I was finishing my cool down. But it was great to have him there. We made a quick get away from the race and managed to catch the end of the elite men’s race.
Many thanks today to all the people who helped me out: Tim, Jos, Jacob, Luc, Geoff, and Marc. Also super nice to have lots of people to talk with during warm-up and pre-ride. Gabby Day was super encouraging with the descent. Nice to talk with Nancy Bober as well. This type of friendship and community really helps smooth out some of the rough edges to race day. I know that even when I go to a race alone, I will have people to talk with, to help me out, and to encourage me.
So what’s next? Well, in short order – I need to get better. I have it in me. I really just need to unleash it. I need to ride my bike with the unbridled attitude of a 12 year old boy – no fear. Just going for it. Big smile plastered on my face, trying to beat my buddies racing around the block.