Monday, October 16, 2006

"Wrong Way " Swartz checks in from Gettysburg

Iron CX Lite, Gettysburg, PA
14 Oct 2006
by Melanie

Dee Dee Winfield 1st, elite women
Melanie Swartz 3rd, elite women
Alisha Styer 1st, kids race

First official day of "feeling-like-fall-weather"...
Arrived at race venue and was delighted by the 30deg temps, blue skies, sunshine, and the first changes of color in the leaves. Wasn't too thrilled about the modern style outhouses with chilly air blowing through. Watched all the beginner racers get ready to roll while I sat in the car, bundled up with a blanket, my oatmeal, and the number game kakuro which I can't seem to figure out.

The "Grasshopper" Family (DD, husband Buck and future Bella Cadence) arrived with their host, The Styer Family (East Coast VB-K mechanic Morgan, podium boy, little bella Alisha, and the glue that holds them all together, Hilary).

A quick pre-ride of the course included a hard-pack-dirt starting-stretch, long gravelly hill, super fast downhill, 180deg turn into barrier run-up, followed by lots of grass. The grass section was broken up with more 180deg turns and an interesting "spiral-of-death" which I can't even describe without getting dizzy. I had a hard time figuring out gearing for this course since the hill was a small ringer, but the grass was big ring and kinda sapped your energy.
I think a single ring would've been ideal.

At the start line, which is the furthest point from the pits, I got a flat on a small rock hidden in the grass while riding around. After an episode of freaking out and then heading off carrying the bike to the pit I was happy to see my friend Judd and his bike. I took his front wheel and started to take off my layers before I noticed all the other girls were lining up. I hurried back to the start line in true Flo-Jo style with one leg warmer on and one off.

They did the call-ups and for the first time in ages I didn't have a front-row start at my local series. Lined up behind teammate Dee Dee who had the first call-up as current MABRA series leader. Out-of-towner Cheerwine Mandy Lozano, who came up to the race to sight see the Civil War sites, lined up behind me.

After a count of five we were off: Dee with the hole shot, me trying to get her wheel without knocking a local competitor out of the way with my elbow and Mandy right behind. I bobbled on the hill in the loose gravel while Mandy and Dee were able to stay on the hardline and press on. Dee managed to grow a decent gap with each trip around the course. I tried to close the gap to Mandy but wasn't quite able to do it. And so it went.

Dee Dee is on track to win the MABRA series for Velo Bella-Kona. With the series win you get bragging rights around the Wash DC area and a very much respected and sought after "white" jersey.

Little bella Alisha won the kids race and had quite an admirer of a little boy who kept asking me where my teammate was as he put his little arm out at his head level indicating he meant little bella Alisha and not big bella Dee Dee.

We were thrilled to have other Mid-Atlantic Bellas, Niki and Lyndsey, out cheering as they watched their first cx race. We're looking forward to having them join in the fun at the next race of the series in three weeks.

Dee Dee and family stayed in Gettysburg with the Styers to partake of Sunday's infamous Iron Cross race: 60 miles on steep climbs, trails, and full of adventure. She is attempting to reclaim the win since she did the inaugural race a few years ago. (ed: Dee Dee accomplished her goal!)



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