Lots of thoughts running through my head with the end of the local cross season, so this might end up being my first multi-post week. Scratch that might, it definitely will be, because at the very least I'm going to put up some of my favorite pictures from the season later this week.
Each year really builds upon the previous one, in terms of people I meet, knowledge/understanding of the sport, familiarity with the local scene, and mostly my enjoyment of it all. This was the first year that I went to every single race that Steve did, in the past I've usually skipped one or two out of exhaustion or previous plans, but this year I hit them all. And for the vast majority we stayed for the entire day, which is definitely a different experience than getting there first thing in the morning to warm up and then leaving pretty soon after Steve's race is done.
So today, Taneytown, MABRACross championships: I'm getting repetitive here, but it was another gorgeous, bright sunny day. There were ZERO pouring rain, miserable, suffering, freezing cold races today. Even today started off chilly with me practicing wearing all the layers I'll be rocking out in Bend, by the afternoon I was down to jeans and a long sleeved shirt. This was the driest this course has been in at least the last three years (I have no recollection of this race from the first time we were here four years ago), but that charming off camber hill against the back fence remained unridable to all but a select few of the elite riders.
Our friends all had strong races today, some podiums, some high series finishes, and Mike Birner won the elite Masters series, which came down to a pretty epic duel between him and Kris Auer over the last few weeks. Always awesome to see your friends have such great seasons and ultimate results. Talking to these people every week and knowing how hard they work for it makes it even better.
And when it was all done, car was packed, dog was ready to pass out from exhaustion, and the last pumpkin muffin I had baked was eaten, there's nothing left but to feel kind of massively bummed out that it's all over for nine months. You become so close with people, you know everything about them and their lives for three months and then they vanish until next fall. But I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Some final notes- So before I get too depressed, it's not entirely over yet. Steve is going to race the final Verge race in Rhode Island next weekend, although I'm going to skip it to stay home and enjoy some “Jen time.” And then the following week we'll be at Nationals, which will be an experience unto itself, and then there's a smattering of other post-season races: Philly, NC, etc.
- It looks like I'll be getting my very own cross bike within the next few weeks. Looks like it'll be a Redline, and I'm pretty stoked. I talked to another local racer today who is also a below-knee amputee and has been racing for nearly 30 years. It was pretty awesome.
- Steve also surprised me this week by telling me that I'm getting a new camera, a fancy Canon EOS DSLR as an early Christmas present so that I can bring it out to Oregon. I haven't used anything other than a point and shoot since high school, but I'm super excited.
And last, but most definitely not least, thanks to all of you readers for the support in my nascent endeavor at a blog. I had wanted to try this last year, but serious life issues intervened, and it got postponed until this year. But I've really enjoyed having the chance to write in a non-technical way (like what I do for work), and I'm glad that people have found it worth reading.
(Also, mandatory shoutout to Jason Ludicke goes here – see, I know your name!)