Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Raced Dave Wiens and Lived to Tell About It

Better late than never, I guess? That's the story of this blog post, and unfortunately, it was the story of my short track race, too. On that frigid day, I was on a groupie high and geeked about racing "against" Dave Wiens in the same race. So much so that I didn't pay attention to some of the things I probably should have. After messing with my shoe covers for a few minutes without success, I left them behind and lived to regret it.

We lined up at the start of the race. Brad gave us a short spiel thanking the 15 of us who came out and explaining why we were having the race at the golf course. (MMBA Mid-State is attempting to have the venue made into a permanent bike park since it's been lying dormant for three years. More about that in another post, though.) He let the A racers go, and a few seconds later let us B racers take off.

During the race, it seemed like forever since I had last raced in the Kisscross finale at Holland. The format seemed very much like cyclocross without the barriers, though. The riding was mostly done on crunchy grass, with a few patches of ice I was able to avoid. In the first lap, I managed to keep from being dead last for a bit. As the only female out there, I had to represent. Soon enough, I was all by myself in the back. I refused to get discouraged. After all, it was for fun and I had no great ambitions for the race. I just wanted to finish.

The most challenging thing about the race, in my experience, was riding up the sledding hill. It looked a little daunting when I saw racers in front of me walking it, but I didn't want to walk anything. That's what the granny gear is for, after all. I ended up riding it each lap, cheered on by a couple of people (including former teammate David Frost) watching at the top.

One of the things that still stands out about the race, now that it's been several weeks since the event, is something that happened to me during the second lap. Now I'm used to getting lapped. It happens all the time in Kisscross. I was definitely expecting to get lapped—it was just a matter of when it happened. Near the beginning of the lap, Dave Wiens lapped me and shouted some encouraging comments. At the end of the same lap, I heard someone coming up behind me and look to see that it was Dave passing me again! This was enough to put a huge grin under my balaclava. Yes, Dave Wiens lapped me twice on the same lap! And instead of being disheartening, it kind of made me feel like I had just joined some ultra cool club. I talked about it for the rest of the day.

The last thing that happened during the race was that I finally finished my last lap, far behind the other competitors. It looked like all the spectators had gone home, but as I approached the finish line, a bunch of people came out from the shelter of the building. It's great to cheer on the champions, and I highly encourage it, but sometimes it's the people in DFL who appreciate it most. It was nice, and almost made me forget about the fact that my toes were about to fall off.

Many thanks to Brad and Chris for all the work they put into this race, and to Laurie who took my picture after my photographer refused to get out of bed. Hopefully, Mid-state will have many more races to come.


Anonymous said...

Not very many people in Michigan can say they raced with Dave Wiens.DG

Chris said...

Remember Andrea, you weren't DFL. Once guy dropped out after the first lap. Kudos to you for sticking with it, that was a cold morning.