Get comfortable, this is going to be a long one. Luckily with lots of pictures.
Following Mountain Bike Nationals it was time to get into the cross races even more and start preping for Cyclocross (Cx) Nationals, which will be held in Kansas City this year December 14-16!
First weekend following nationals we had 2 races lined up. One on Saturday that I clearly wasn't opened up for and I suffered to a 3rd place finish. Sunday was a bigger race in Lenoir and we had great turnout for the women. In the first lap I gained a gap with another rider, but unfortunately she took a slide down one of the hills and from what I heard later was forced the stop racing due to a gash in her leg. That left me with a gap on the rest of the field and I was able to hang on and win by about a minute!
Extra points Saturday for Halloween dress up...
Start of the Lenoir Race
The following weekend I traveled back to the great MI with a few of my fellow LMC friends who are also from MI so we could race the ICEMAN up north in Traverse City! I got to stop by my parents house and spend one night in the bed I grew up in! Then it was on to Traverse City, but my parents came up to stay and watch and I got an extra treat when my Aunt, two cousins, and grandma also came to stay a night and hang out! The drive there was broken up a bit as we started in the afternoon, grabbed a hotel, then staying in lower MI before traveling up north the next day. The drive back wouldn't be so kind...we would leave TC at 6am and drive straight threw all the way to Banner Elk, where we arrived around 8:30pm.
My attempt at capturing the first snow I saw of the year with leaves still on the trees in the background at my parents house
My Moca and I after one of our morning runs!!!I love this girl!
After my one night at home I headed up to TC with Randy and we had some good food at the Red Mesa Grill. Thursday morning we ate at the restaurant in the Grand Traverse Hotel and I had to take a picture of the menu. Ally this one is for you and regrettably this was not my menu choice but if you can read the description of the Chocolate Banana Crepes it says "Tender Crepes filled with Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread and bananas, served with whipped cream."
After breakfast we headed to a local bike shop to pick up a few needed items before heading to preview the end of the race course...look what we found at the bike shop...!!!...they really were bigger than me
After arriving at the finish line parking lot Randy was inside changing and I was doing some things a the car when a nice gentleman came up and asked me about where the course went. I told him I wasn't sure but my friend had a good idea and if he wanted to head out with us he was welcome to. He thanked me and later road by and told me he was going to go check it out. I thought little of it, but then I ran into the same man out on the trails after Randy had taken off to go a bit faster. I started talking to the guy because we were both trying to figure out where the course went and if we were in the right place. As I'm talking to him I notice that the sleeve and neck of his jacket have the World Championship stripes on them. Once I introduce myself and ask him his name...it's Ned Overend, who happens to be a World Champion and pretty much an American legend in Mountain Biking! Randy had mentioned that he would be there on our way there, but I of course didn't know much of anything about him. In any case, I enjoyed riding and chatting with him back to the finish line and he then looked at my tire options for the race the next day and helped me decide what would be the best option! Ned (now in his 50's) went on to get 6th in the mens pro race! Not only an amazing racer but also a really nice guy!
Ned and I in the parking lot checking out tires
After riding I got to go out to eat and hang out with my Grandma, Aunti Ann, and two cousins Lizzy and Katie!
The girls & I
Auntie Ann & I
Grandma & I
My travel crew the day of race. Randy, Mike, & I
The guys rocked their race with some stiff competition. Mike got 8th and Randy 10th! I on the other hand got a rough start when less than 200yards into the race I got involved in a crash, hit my head pretty good, and lost my glasses (my parents found later cranked in half). After I got up I managed to unpile the 4 or 5 girls and bikes that were on top of mine, grab my water bottle off the ground and get going again. I passed up some girls and just enjoyed the nice weather and the riding in the woods. Ended up coming in 13th and feeling lucky that I and my bike were for the most part ok and unharmed. After a little spin cool down I was ready to hit the shower and get ready for the nights festivities...Iceman is always a race with an after party! It was great to be back in MI and see some of the guys again and we had a good time.
There is always a Bell's party at a local bar so we headed over to that. It was alright, got to see a lot of people and they had a life band. It was also a very small bar with sooo many people. It was a struggle just to get a beer, and yes I did get one. Anyhow I walked out to put something back in the car and found this...
They had strobe lights going, music bumping and the whole thing was alive!
The front of the party bus...
Some of the boys and I
I got back to the hotel by a reasonable time and got to bed as I knew it would be an early morning...ugg.
6AM Sunday we load up and pull out.
Here I am driving
and here are the boys helping me stay awake...
This is what the end of my driving shift looked like...unfortunately for Randy almost all of his shift continued in this manner
Then Mike got the nice sunny shift and styled my glasses well
We made it back to Banner Elk safely and last weekend it was time to get back to the Cx gig. Hendersonville, NC UCI races were on the calender. Saturday I arrived at the races quite late and after little warm up and poor nutrition I was only able to hang on for 4th. Sunday went a bit better and although I crashed in the 1st lap I was still able to ride the race with the lead group and it ended up coming down to a sprint on flat pavement, which gave me an advantage and I got the win.
A big thanks goes out to Perry, my team mate Aaron's girlfriend, who drove us home on both days, as we where pretty out of it and not quite seeing straight...
Also, a huge thank you to my awesome room mate Robert, who spent a large part of his Firday getting my new bike put together from scratch!!! Thanks very much to the Pro mechanic Robert!!!...
These pictures should give you an idea of what Cyclocross is all about!
Dismount in sandpit
up the hill...
Not a bad weekend!
Then I got a treat Monday and got to watch after Miss Bella, the puppy belonging to some soccer guys who live down the hall from me! She is such a cutie. She was busy bouncing around the apartment after ice cubes for quite some time and then she joined me on the bed while I worked on some homework...awwww...how cute!!!
I asked Robert if I could have one but he brought me back to earth and I'm going to have to settle for watching after others for now...
Oh, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone!