Ok, how did that happen? Have I really not blogged since March? Wow, that's embarrassing.
Here's the quick download:
After my last post, I took another 2nd. Then I won. I finally won. Yes. It was another windy Bethel day and Joanne and Siri were looking strong. The field refused to snap, even with a number of attacks and 7 sprint primes. The final lap came and I was on the front...in the wind. Not exactly where I wanted to be (Ideally I'd have sat 2nd wheel). As we approached the hill, Annie and I accelerated. Joanne sprang out of nowhere from the opposite side of the peloton. Annie went for the false attack and I went from the other side. I dug deep and won by nearly 5 bike lengths. Totally spent. No victory salute, but many smiles afterwards.
The next weekend was Battenkill-Roubaix; a 62-mile road race that takes you over some of the most brutal road and dirt terrain upstate NY has to offer. The race has grown substantially over the years, although it was always big and the caliber of athletes incredible. This year, even more girls from far afield came out to play... Cali, down South and from the great white North. From the get-go it was hard. I stuck with the attacks and made the break about 10 miles in. The pace would not let-up and girls kept attacking.
About 1/2 way in, we hit a gnarly road climb and the wheels completely came off. I cracked and dropped from the group. So did a few other girls. We tried to chase back on and all of us were in various stages of decay.
A few other girls fell off the pace and then it was 2. And then I popped (again) and watched my companion ride away. The wind was honking (of course) and I vowed if I saw route 22 I'd just ride back to the start. I must have crossed 22 more than a dozen times and didn't even notice.
Somewhere along the way, after riding alone for what seemed an eternity, a small chase group came up on me. Some of the girls called out to me by name and all I could muster was a teary-eyed "I'm so happy to see you all". The group was nice, but disorganized. They went from soft-pedalling to attacking one another on odd sections. This group also broke up and I made front girls... then exploded again about 8 miles from the finish. Sweet.
On the final section of dirt climbs which feel like a kick in the ovaries, I came across another girl from the initial front pack. She had blown-up too and was riding alone. I gave her some of my salt tabs and water and we rode in together. We crossed the line together. Defeated, but elated to be done. Just goes to show how on-and-off racing can be. One week you can win and another, get your ass kicked.
Final placing: top 20. Next year, I'll be back on the podium again.
Oh, but what about this past weekend you ask? The tri-season debut? The race you were more than ready for?
Oh, yea, that race. Long story short - I had great prep going in, a blast on the island of St Croix again - an island that has given me win after win. This year, the island won. Or rather one of the island restaurants won. Food poisoning had me up in the night. I opted to start anyways, feeling a bit better. I had the slowest 1/2 swim of my life (not sure how that happened, exactly) and then proceeded to the bike. Legs felt great, everything felt great, but my tummy. I lost count after 5 squats in front of strangers. I was sitting in 3rd on the bike, but when I started getting chills around mile 40, I called it a day and soft-pedaled back to transition. I stopped to help a few riders with flats and decided it was good to help someone else salvage their day, even if I couldn't salvage mine. Tom Guthrie, the awesome RD was there and asked "What happened, Mandy?" - I gave him my chip and he wished me better luck next year.
I threw a 5 minute pitty party in my hotel room, took a shower, grabbed a ginger ale, put on my big girl pants and made my way onto the course to cheer Sam who had a fabulous and impressive St Croix debut. Man, that boy never ceases to amaze me. Such great talent and such a humble attitude. Love him. Lots.
The next morning I woke up and ran. HARD! The sting of not getting to finish is always hard, but it's just one of many races this year and this lifetime.
Coming home was an adventure for another day - bailing Luna out of the pound and so much more.
Man, it's good to be home, but....what's next?
Pictures to follow!