Monday, November 27, 2006

And my Cross Season Comes to an End

By Shannon "Crazy Momma" Holden

Last weekend was the last 2 races in the USGP series and my first time racing on the national Cross scene. I was also super excited to meet the rest of the girls since I hadn't been to any of the races with them yet.

Saturdays course was pretty straight forward except a good run up. The rest was a lot of flats with a small fun decent and the course was dry. I was most nervous about the start, even though I race mountain bikes I was just freaked about that many women taking off all at once. And let me tell you I had white nuckles for the first 400 meters. After that I saw Ann Knapp in front of me and I grabed her rear wheel. I was able to follow her up the run up and then she ditched me.

I didn't really feel very smooth Saturday I botched all my mounts and dismounts loosing precious time. I t was pretty cool to have teammates out there with me. With 2 laps to go I decided I should get aggresive, with my familiy, friends, and Alex yelling at me on the side lines I was getting pumped. Probably a little to0 pumped because my front wheel slid out from under me on a tight corner and I went down hard. All I remember was Alex yelling at me to get up and my first thought was how long had I been laying there. Well long enough to lose 4 places. My KONA Queen Ann and SRAM Rival shifters took the hit pretty good and kept going.

I love my bike so much I forgot to switch it out when I realized the shifters were twisted. I hit pretty hard which left some marks on me for Sunday. I never did manage to get back in the race mentally and decided not to clip out for the next trip through the barriers leading to a face plant. This also did not help with my race. All in all I wasn't very pretty pleased with my first big race; I knew I could do better and Alex helped remind me of that later in the evening at host housing.
I woke up Sunday morning with my knee swollen so bad I couldn't bend it. I worked some of the swelling out and felt otherwise pretty good. When we arrived at the course in Portland it was a mud pit. I don't get to ride in the mud much so I was actually pretty excited. My nerves were really kicking in before the start, I thought at one point I was going to throw up. I guess I really wanted to do better then Saturday and was nervous as all get out.

My start was not any better than the day before, still timid and freaked out. Once I got ahold of myself I hammered to get my placing before the mud. I was actually riding really well and pushed hard on the straights. I feel like I am at a wall with racing and I just need to break through this wall and I would really start to race faster. It happened to me in college when I raced Cross country running, I was at the 20 minute mark for the longest time then one race I got mad and really pushed eventhough I thought I would die. After that I was racing in the 18minutes. That is where I am with cycling I just need to break through the wall.

I felt myself starting push it down on Sunday, realizing I can push harder than I thought and maintain. So maybe the next race I can start that hard and maintain the entire race. So all of us girls were covered in mud but I was still able to tell when I came up on Anna. I was so excited to have someone to work with. She switched out bikes, which was smart. I really should have switched and had them clean it off so I could switch back out then next lap. We pushed for awhile, but I lost her wheel when my husband gave me some bad advice and I ran down the downhill.

One of the best parts of the race was my sister with Noah (my son) on her back running all over the course cheering me on. I love having family and friends cheering for me. So I worked hard to finish out the race and I got 26th. Better than yesterday but not where I want to be. I had so much adrenaline in my body I didn't even know my knee hurt from yesterday until I got off of my bike and almost fell.

So a great weekend of racing and I was so happy to meet the rest of the team. I learned alot this weekend about cross racing and think that my next race at the national level will be even better!! So racing is over for me for the season, thanks to all who have read my race reports this year and cheered me on. You will hear from me again in March. Have a wonderful winter and happy riding!!
Thanks to all our sponsors and to everyone at VB-K that makes it possible for me to race!!!


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