|Post-race portrait by Matthew Hulet|
However, I am always one for a challenge, and racing without any other bunnies out there is a challenge indeed. My “category” began with the Cat 1/pro men and despite not sharing the start line with any other girls, this was still one of the coolest starts I’ve ever experienced. I think only rivalled by the rolling Test of Metal start that goes down in Squamish. A tie, I think.
We assembled on the San Diego Velodrome – the first mountain bikers in history to have had the privilege – and did a neutral start behind cycling legend Eddie B, who led us out on a motorcycle for two whole laps of glory.
Wait, wait, wait, I’m not setting this up right. Back up. We assembled under the big lights of the Velodrome to rock out with a band, listen to speeches, and enjoy a beautiful rendition of the national anthem (I prefer O Canada, but O Well). And then? Boom, the lights all went out, and the only illumination was the head and handlebar lights of the racers. It was like magic. What a feeling.
Our two track laps felt like winding up a bolas then we were out of there like a shot, charging towards Balboa Parks urban singletrack. Except one of the men totally crashed on the first corner so that was a bit of a drag, and a good reminder to get away on the front of your race. I hung with a couple guys for a bit working to keep their pace and catch up to the group, before settling into my own [slower] pace.
|Amazing prize pack with goodies from |
Sock Guy, Suja Juice and the BANK
For my race I felt good and positive, just focusing on keeping that power in the pedals and not allowing my mind to wander too much. I got to cheer on some fellow Ninjas who were also on course doing a great job and the spectators cheering us along by name from the sidelines were also a highlight. However, also on the sidelines were some sketchy, shady characters and they got my heart racing for other reasons. Yikes.
Finished my 7 laps without any hassles and at one point, I did actually see, like, 50 bunnies – real ones – streaming across the course. The critters come out at night!
Special thanks goes out to Reina, who took literally hours out of her evening to sit in rush hour traffic on my behalf after I left a critical piece of race equipment in my garage. She delivered it just in time, with a smile before turning around to sit in rush hour traffic again on the way back. I almost didn’t want to share this part, because it’s so embarrassing for me, but it’s honestly one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me so I wanted to say that publicly. Meanwhile, I'll never forget said piece of equipment again. Lesson learned.
And full results are here: http://bit.ly/1ccIvjD