Monday, November 16, 2009


After the good riding and racing I have done lately, I was excited to get out for a day of Kisscross. The weather was pretty warm, though overcast, but the skies started to clear as I made my way to Grand Rapids. My first surprise came after I finished my warm up lap and was getting ready to line up for the start. Someone said "What are you doing here?" and came up and hugged me. It was my On 2 Wheels teammate Nichole! "No," I answered. "The question is, what are you doing here? I'm always here." As it turns out, at the last minute she had been talked into doing her first cross race that day on a borrowed bike.

Nichole is an excellent rider/racer. This year was her first year of racing and I think she podiumed pretty much every race she did. At the beginning of the season, right before Yankee, she was thinking of racing Beginner, where she definitely didn't belong, but decided to race Sport at the last minute. Before this season, I think she had only really ridden on one trail, but that trail was Poto. Needless to say, she didn't have any trouble leaving me in the dust. She finished 4th at Iceman with a time of 2:19, but was bummed that she didn't do better since she was in the lead for much of the race before dropping her chain twice and getting passed.

Since I was talking to Nichole and she seemed very nervous, I started near the middle of the pack with her instead of in my usual back of the pack spot. I quickly got passed when the race started, but not by everyone. The course was challenging and fun. It was set up just differently enough from last year to make it interesting.

I stayed near the back, but there was a girl just slightly in front of me and I thought I had a chance to beat her. I like having someone just in front of me like that because it keeps me motivated to push harder. I finally ended up passing her riding up a hill, but then she passed me on a run up and I never caught up again. I think I had more skill than she did, but she was more fit and I couldn't keep up the pace.

My second suprise of the day was that for the first time in a long time, I didn't get lapped. I was waiting for it the whole race, but as the leaders started to gain on me, I kicked it up a notch and crossed over into the next lap before they had a chance.

I had resigned myself to finish last and pulled across the finish line with the thought that I was last, only to find my third surprise of the day—there were two women quite a ways behind me! I was 10th out of 12 women, 40 out of 42 overall. My teammate, who claimed she had a terrible race, finished second in the women and 10th or so overall. Rick was also testing out timing chips for Kisscross, so we got to see our lap times, which was kind of fun.

It was a nice finale to a very enjoyable weekend.

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