Sometimes, you show up to a race, and everything goes as you expect. Your warm-up is uneventful, your race result matches the crossresults predictor, and as you drive back home, you’re satisfied. It was a good day. Now, sometimes you have great race days: the course unexpectedly plays to all your strengths, your legs feel better than they’ve felt in years, and as you drive home, all you can talk about is how incredibly awesome it is to race bikes and to WIN!
FSVS @ Fair Hill was neither of those scenarios. No, it was the third type of race day: the utter disaster. Yet, as we drove home, no one was pissed or crying or banging their head repeatedly against the car door. Why? Because we have the BEST teammates in the world. They can help turn a disaster-day into a good one, which never fails to impress me.
Here’s how the day played out: driving there, the 10% chance of rain decided to materialize, putting Jameson in a cranky mood. His mood is very weather-driven. Thankfully, the rain ended by the time we reached the venue, and he hopped on his bike for a warm-up. Right before his race, I was walking over to put our spare wheels in the pit and stopped to watch his start. Being a MAC series race, he was in the middle of the front row, next to the series leader and two slots over from our teammate Andrey. The gun went off, and the men charged down the gravel road ahead. Almost as if in slow motion, I see Jameson and the MAC series leader bump shoulders. The series leader swerved to try and stay upright, unfortunately taking out the guy in front of them. They wavered, then went down, promptly causing the other 40-some guys behind them to swerve, brake, and attempt not to run them over.
Channeling my 7th-grade hurdling skills (yes, I was in denial about being too short to run hurdles), I charged across the course to the pit where FatMarc and Jay were already stationed. We watched as Jameson untangled himself from the wreck, determine that his bike was un-ridable, and set off at a run. For anyone who’s ever had to run to the pit, you know how agonizing it is to know you’ve crashed as far away as possible. By the time Jameson made it to us, it was clear he wasn’t catching anyone in the race. To make matters worse, his left hand looked like it had been attacked by some rabid animal and was completely bloody. FatMarc, wise man that he is, suggested that Jameson drop out of the 2/3/4 race and ask the promoter nicely to switch his registration to the Elite race, which was later. The promoter agreed, and Jameson went to go clean his hand.
By this time, I really needed to warm up for my race. I rescued the rear wheel from Jameson’s bike so I wouldn’t be stuck riding a file tread (NOT the right tire for the day). As I placed the new wheel on my bike, it became apparent that my right shifter decided to stop shifting. Perfect. Jameson came back to the car and I informed him about the new development. As luck would have it, FatMarc’s wife Diane and I are the same height, and she had already raced for the day. Being incredibly awesome and generous, Diane offered for me to use her bike for my race. I got a quick 1/2 lap in to get used to Shimano and the feel of her Redline, and then it was time to race.
Despite all the adverse events of the day, once I was racing I forgot about everything and just had fun. I started my season way, way off the back of the Elite field, but today I found I was riding in a group of three women. Even though one of them rode away, I was able to distance the other and fell comfortably into a rhythm. My friend Sarah eventually caught and passed me, but other than that I maintained my position to finish in 16th place. My teammate LVG took the win, so it was a great day for C3.
Jameson’s elite race went well – even though he started in the back, he rode his way up to 14th place and finished in the money. I was impressed with his dedication, and the fact that he raced despite his chewed-up hand.
The cherry on top of the whole day: unpacking the car, we realized we were short one set of pit wheels. A quick email to the race promoter confirmed this. While it’s nice to know our wheels are safe and sound, I hate being that person that neglected to pick up their stuff from the pit. With all the shuffling of wheels and bikes and race start times going on, I’m not surprised, but I hope it’s not a regular event.
We’re so lucky to have the support of a fantastic team behind us. Their generosity and willingness to help made all the difference to turn yesterday from a disaster into another fun day of cyclocross. Thank you so, so much to FatMarc and Diane.