|Photo: Andrew Keippela|
On Saturday, I became the Oregon State Cyclocross Champion. This is an honor and I fought hard to stand on the top step of the podium. The course was challenging, muddy, and served up a healthy dose of suffering.
|Photo: Tim Schallberger|
Laura brought her A-game and it was a battle from the start. We were back and forth for most of the race, pushing one another and both having trouble with our mud-clogged pedals. With about 2 laps to go, I was able to open up a gap on the long hill and worked hard to hold it.
|Photo: Brooke Stehley, Rolf Prima|
I was pushing the pace a little too much, and with a lap and a half to go, came around a slick gravel-to-asphalt corner and went down. Hard. My brake level was bent beyond the point of functioning and I was lucky to be not far from the pit. Only problem was that I didn't have anyone in the pit for me, and I knew Laura was chasing hard. I got to the pit, located my bike, flipped it over, handed my A-bike off to some very nice person, and headed out. My gap had been reduced considerably, but I was still in the lead. I just needed to stay calm and be smooth. I thought a clean bike might give me a bit of an advantage with the pedal problem, but this was not the case. My shoes were so full of mud, that clean pedals didn't seem to help.
Laura was right there, and she was charging. Up the last hill, along the last straight away and around the last corner, I gave it everything I had. I crossed the line, elated and spent.
Laura and I stood together, holding onto one another for suppor
t, otherwise we would have both fallen over. It was a great race and I am honored to have been pushed to my limit by a fierce competitor and good friend.