|The hotel bar at Indian Lakes. How funky is that?|
So, this weekend we went to Chicago to race for the first time in a couple of weeks. I've been having lower level migraines all week and last year when I raced in Chicago after having a bad migraine for a couple of days beforehand and I was so weak that not only was I last, but I was pretty much lapped by the entire field. Ouch! That smarts!
I certainly wasn't feeling even close to 100%, so I was worried that I'd have an encore performance of last year's Chicago Cup race.
My friend, Sarah and her boyfriend were coming to watch us race and I warned her that I might come in last. I was ranked 2nd to last, but you never know if the woman ranked last really only had lower points because she didn't race as much. My friend Sarah responed, "Last Schmast!" And that's why I love her.
I lined up after they called my name with the women in the back of the 32 racers and one of them asked me if I had done a lot of cup races. I told her I was from Iowa. Most people who come from out of town are generally pretty fast, but I assured her I wasn't much of a threat. She said she had just had a baby 4 months ago and she was getting back into racing. She was co-owner of a really cool for women/by women bike shop in the Chicago area, and I have so much respect for women who try to support other women riders that way. I also feel a hormone kinship with women who were recently pregnant. The kind of hormone they go through in a year, are close to what a I go through about 3-5 times a day...
The race started and the woman directly in front of me pretty much just stopped right as she started, which got me even further behind than just my starting position. I get going again and tried to catch up. Almost instantly, another women fell way back. She must not have been feeling well or something, so then it was myself and the bike shop owner, with everyone else getting a gap ahead of us. We did some back and forth and at one point, she passed me just as we were heading into a strong head wind and I didn't fight her for position. Instead, I waited for her to get ahead of me and drafter her for everything I was worth. I passed her back on a corner and figured she'd return the favor, but the next time I looked back, she had dropped off and I was getting a gap. I was in a good position (for me). I was too far back to catch the woman ahead of me and the two behind me probably weren't going to catch me, so I could just ride the course and not do anything stupid, but work on my skills and mostly, have fun. It was such a great course and the people there were all so nice and so great at cheering for me, even though they didn't know me and I was soooooo far back in the field. I finished 3rd from last, which was one place higher than I was predicted. So, in other words, I exceeded expectations! I suppose it's all about how you look at a thing...
Of course, the racing is great and fun, but like I always say, it's only a part of it for me. I love the whole experience of it. I like to go to a place, check out what it has, meet other racers, have friends who live nearby to hang out with and eat and drink and play. Hell, I only race for 45 minutes and I was there for the weekend.
It was great to see Sarah and her boyfriend and her dogs and then we got to meet her friend who is married to the guy in the band the Mekons* and their son races CX and so who says, bike racing isn't for cool people?
After our races on Saturday, John and I hung out in the hot tub and met some other racers who were hanging out at the pool with their kids. I have to say, the people we met in Chicago this weekend were so damn friendly and nice.
We headed out for Mexican food Saturday night. Everything in the town was a strip mall, but this particular restaurant at least had some character. The food was really good and the margaritas wree margaritas. It's pretty hard to go wrong with margaritas.
On Sunday morning, my migraine was so bad that I had to take meds and go back to bed. John got up to preride the course and woke me up again about an hour before his race. I was dizzy and weak, but most of the worst pain was gone.
|John bunny hopping barriers uphill like a pro.|
John had a really strong race. He got stuck behind some clusters at the beginning of the race, but started picking people off, right and left. After the race, he said he finally felt like himself again after having that bad cold crud forever. I was so happy for him.
Since I couldn't race, we decided to play a little putt-putt golf before we watched our hometown girl, Alijah, race in the afternoon. I figured, if I couldn't race. I might as well do something non strenuous and super dorky.
We watched the race, Alijah looked solidly in 2nd place and we decided to take off after they started their last lap, so we could get something to eat and head back to Iowa.
Even with the migraine, it was a glorious weekend.