All the Good Stuff

This past weekend in Sherbrooke, PQ was a special one. It was my first Canadian Cyclocross Nationals in six years. Wow, what a difference in the size and caliber of all the fields that raced on Saturday.

It is super inspiring to see the growth in numbers and depth in all the fields –  particularly in the women’s fields. I raced in the master women’s race and it was packed with some very strong women who know how ride and drive their bikes. The elite women’s race was equally impressive.

I did not have the result on paper that I was looking for on Saturday. However, I did have a race that was very very special. I truly enjoyed being out there. Hearing the cheering, seeing people on the course, and just taking it all in. It was also super nice to be back in the racing pack – talking and hanging out with other races.

I’ve had a few days now to think about the race. Would I have liked to have placed closer to the number one position – yes. Could I have raced a better technical race – yes. Am I disappointed with my race – not really. Am I focused on improving my technical skills – yes.

My technical skills have improved a lot this year but one area in which I’m particularly deficient is in confidence in cornering in slippery conditions. I’m normally not all over my front brake – but on Saturday it seemed like I couldn’t let go of it. Toss in a weakness in accelerating quickly and it was hard to ride my way out of my over-braking errors.

Oh well. This is the way it is. Now I have a couple of things to focus on as I enter the second part of my season. That’s right – my season is not over yet. I’ve got a few more local races left and then on November 21, I’m getting on a jet plane and flying to Belgium for three weeks of racing. I’ll do whatever races Marc tells me to do along with the Masters World Cyclocross Championships on December 1.

The cool thing is that I first raced the Masters Worlds in 2007. On that day, 10 years ago, I was fourth in my category (35 – 39). So it’s going to be another super special day, returning to where it all started for me. It was after that race that I decided to make a transition to elite racing and set my goals even higher.

This season really has been one of growth and acceptance. I’m getting more comfortable racing again and finding my way around the cyclocross course. Most importantly, I’m slowly but surely learning to let go and just have fun on my bike. This doesn’t mean I’m not racing hard – it means I’m learning to keep this weekend racing thing in perspective.