Friday, July 2, 2010

2010 Road Nationals

Gypsy summer is officially under way! Last week was USA Cycling’s Road National Championships in Bend, Oregon. As is my style, my car was the chosen transportation method. This year, it was only an 18 hour drive instead of the 36 from Milwaukee last year. Taj and I loaded the car with six bikes, 16 wheels, three sets of rollers, duffel bags, helmets, a cooler and of course my iPod and hit the road.

Packed.


We arrived in Bend without incident, other than having to drive through the rest of Oregon, and moved into our rental house for the week. What’s better than 13 people and a baby staying in one house for a week? Throw in the fact that we were all competing against each other for spots on the Worlds team, and you’re getting close. Let me tell you, it wasn’t Sea World, that’s as real as it gets. For sanity, the deck was the “Mellow Zone” and was always in use. We should really have a reality show, the world would love it.

Since everyone in the house was a cyclist (the baby isn’t one yet) it meant lots of bikes. 24 bikes plus about 50 wheels and other miscellaneous equipment meant the dining room was converted to a crowded bike storage room with more bikes lining the front hallway and stacks of wheels against the couches and tables. For anyone other than a cyclist, I’m sure it seemed excessive, but was totally ordinary for us. Wait, you don’t have bikes in your living room? Huh, weird.

Racing started on Tuesday with a road race, a crit on Wednesday and the big show on Thursday. The time trial served as the selection event for World Championships, and the road race and crit were for bragging rights. The time trial course was simple: go out on a road and start climbing, then turn around in the road and come back downhill.

Race day itself was a relief. All the training was done, and it was time to just go ride. During warm up, I nearly fell off the rollers because I was dancing to my love, Lady GaGa. After avoiding near calamity, I finished my dance party in the grass and was ready to rock on the bike. I was the last single bike off for the girls and in my mind, meant I was responsible for catching all the girls in front of me. I almost met this goal, only missing the women’s tandem who I could see the entire second half of the course. It was extremely frustrating to have that carrot out there and not be able to catch it. Next year. The race was over and I was dry heaving in the grass before I knew it. Our coach calls that “An appropriate measure of an adequate effort.” It was a relief to finish the TT and be back at our base camp. The second half of the road season hinges on the time trial at Nationals and to be done with it is always satisfying. The athlete’s part is done, the rest is up to the staff in calculating times and placing. My dance party was enough to help me rock through the race, and ended up, finally on the top step of the podium. The joke of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride could finally stop. It took a long time, but the monkey is off my back.

Everyone rode extremely well in Bend. The strength of this year’s World Championship team will be hard to stop. It’s an honor to be part of such a strong team, and I’m looking forward to seeing more results for the team in the coming months. Before heading to America’s attic (aka Canada, you don’t know what great things are up there till you go) in August, the gypsy wagon will be rolling to the heartland for 10 more days of racing. While I didn’t contemplate washing my hair in a deli sink this trip, more adventures are in store for Gypsy Summer II. 




With Clark and Dave

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