and just like that

the national championships were everything they were supposed to be: challenging, humbling, exciting, aggravating and just plain hard.

saturday morning i headed over to the course to watch jeff's race and inspect the course. it looked brutal: very muddy and wet and you could feel the temperatures dropping. i had no idea what would happen over the 4 hours between jeff's race and my race. headed back home for some lunch and to get my last ducks in a row. it's weird having the nation's biggest event just 5 minutes from your house. you reach a point when you feel like you should be doing something to get ready but in reality, you've raced 3 or 4 times at the same venue already and there is just nothing more to be done. i tried to watch tv and not be too nervous. headed over and warmed up in the saris tent.

as usual, it was go time before i knew it. ron and mike worked the pit for me and for that i'm eternally grateful. my call up was 44 - the start was good. i got in my pedals and got to work and put myself in a good position. got to the mud and it was like i had never ridden mud before. i couldn't find a suitable line, i was having a hard time finding a rhythm and i felt myself falling backward. the second time through the pits a grabbed my b bike and started trying to ride better. still struggled and even crashed a couple times in the next 1/2 lap. through the start/finish area i tried to give myself a pep talk. got my primary bike back and felt more comfortable. started to race again, passed a bunch of people back and was feeling pretty good about my race. i got a new bike every 1/2 lap which was key. i could hear the announcers talking and new my day would end before the lead lap - i got pulled just before finishing my lap 3 (out of 4 laps). i was happy to see i finished 43rd - one spot better than my call up - and third best wisconsinite. 43rd doesn't sound like much but from how i started i'm proud/happy that i was able to rally.

it was the kind of result that you are happy with but know you can do better. i feel like i could race again next week and have tentatively already put nationals 2014 on my race schedule (in Boulder, CO). i sure do love cyclocross!

today was a great experience as well. ron and i pitted for heidi in the pro/1/2 race. i was dreading it a little going in but going elbow to elbow with some of the big pro teams was awesome. nothing but good experiences even though we were pretty limited on real estate. everyone was urgently but politely doing there jobs and i hope we were able to help heidi ride a little faster. it was a frozen track with just enough melting to really get mud lodged (and then re-frozen) in the nooks and crannies. we just spent our time chiseling away and trying to make sure she could 1) pedal/shift and 2) brake. katie compton crushed it as expected. the men's race was fun to watch as well - the 'old timer' jonathan page won in convincing fashion while trebon and powers struggled. what a great end to a great week of championship racing!

after a week of half paying attention to work i've got to buckle down and try to get things in order. i've also got bike work to do to get the cx rigs ready for storage over the winter/spring. the bike swap is saturday - and i have a small list of things to watch for. training wise, i'm going to try and make myself rest this week but then plan to get back into unstructured work to keep myself feeling good (and to maintain the sanity of those around me). an un-exercised andy isn't good to be around. i'm pretty much like a dog...

happy sunday.


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