2 left. That is it. During a cyclo-cross race, see the 2 brings some definite relief to this racer. (Not as much as seeing the 1 and hearing the bell though…) When I see the 2, I tell myself, “okay you can do it. keep digging. it is only 2 more laps.” Funny what seeing a number on a stick can do to a ‘cross racer’s brain. I can’t imagine racing for an hour and seeing 8 on the stick. Heck, for me seeing 5 sends a bit of panic through my body. 5? Uh oh – find another gear, this is a fast one, head down and pedal.
As it applies today, 2 to go means only one thing: 2 more races and my 2009 – 2010 cyclo-cross season is over. Kind of sad to see the season ending but on the other hand, it has been a long one. One thing is definite, this has been my most successful ‘cross season ever. I’m riding and racing better than I ever have. My confidence is on the rise. I’ve made some good strides with my technical skills. I’ve started to honestly assess and appreciate where I am as a racer and what I need to do to move forward. I had some really great rides in North America and some amazing rides here in Europe.
Yes, there have been some tough races. But there have been many more highs than lows. And it only make sense that I’ll have had some rough experiences, the majority of my season has been spent in Europe racing World Cup races and with the top women cyclo-cross racers. But this has also made this the best season ever – each and every race I know that I’m up against the best. It is not often that an athlete can measure herself against the best in the sport each time she lines up. For this I am very fortunate.
I sit here today in Belgium. I’d much rather be in Roubaix, France. This is the one disappointment that I had to miss the Roubaix World Cup. Well, it will be there next year. Good news is that my thumb seems to be healing quite well. The range of motion is coming back so this is encouraging. Still a bit swollen and the thumb joint is looking a bit ugly but this will come with time.
Had a fantastic ride today. Okay, not sure if you count an hour of tempo intervals as fantastic but… What made it so great was that I rode outside. I wore shorts and leg warmers! Yep shorts and leg warmers on Jan. 17! Pretty smooth. So great to be outside. The paths were a bit gritty due to the heavy rains but I didn’t get rained on. Pretty much all of the snow is gone now. Extra bonus is that the awesome little country roads are clear of snow and ice. So my favorite riding routes are back. To add some extra spice and kick to my work-out, I wore my new racing kit. My Team Canada kit. I couldn’t not do it. It felt so cool to be out riding with the words Team Canada on my back. The sharp kit turned a few heads as well. Can’t wait to put on that skinsuit on Jan. 31. What a feeling.
Looking ahead to another solid week of training. I have the Hoogerheide World Cup on Sunday and then the World Championships the following Sunday. This might sound lame, but just writing about the World Champs brings tears to my eyes. I just find it so overwhelming that I achieved this goal and that I get to race in the top race that our sport has. So amazing. I feel so lucky to be doing this. And you can be sure this won’t be my last World Championships. I’m pretty confident I’ve got a couple more in my legs.
What a season this has been. Many many thanks to my sponsors – without whom this would not have been possible. Deep heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Marc for all the sacrifices he has made so that I can do this. Thanks so much to you for hopping on for this journey – your comments, emails, messages, smiles, and cheers do so much for me. On Jan. 31, we’ll all be toeing the line for one last time this season. I have a feeling it is going to be a good one. See you out there.