I am still under the weather, my naughty molar told my ear to join him in making my life a living hell. So, now I have what feels like a waterbed on the side of my mouth and little pixie daggers poking me in my ear. What better time to drudge up bad memories then when you feel like your down the block from death. Criteriums. Just typing it makes my tummy cramp, maybe that's the Kraft Mac n' Cheese talking. I did my first cat 4 crit on Easter morning. I had one race under my belt before that. It was a public race at the Redlands Classic just a week before, maybe two. I kicked booty in that one. Oh, did I mention there was one other rider in my group. Our class was mixed with the older ladies, four riders total. I finished about 45 seconds ahead of them, and that's with a headwind for 3/4 of the course. It deserved a hands free finish which I executed with pro-like precision. That weekend was filled with unicorns and kittens. A complete 180 from what was in store for me 7 days later.
I woke up at 5:15 AM and tried to hold it together, mentally. I wanted it to be a no frills affair, but I ended up with an entourage. Husband, two step kids, and three in-laws who are nationally ranked athletes, no pressure. I just wanted to race and get back to my neighborhood Panera before 8:30 for my bagel and coffee. When we pulled up to the venue I wanted to get into the fetal position and suck on my water bottle. Everybody was on trainers, wearing team kits, and sporting mighty big thighs. I went to get my number and change so I could warm up on the course. My husband was super supportive and couldn't of done better putting up with me. There was about 15 other riders, all pretty fit, except one, kinda chubby. I made a mental note that if I could get on her wheel I'd be set. I come around the corner from my final warm up lap and see everybody lined up yelling at me an 3 other stragglers. Apparently they run things on time. So there I am, a basset hound at a greyhound race. I'm right behind my mark though, easy peasy right. Nope. They took off and I stayed with them until the first corner, I kept thinking what the frick are these @$$wipes doing, slow down! I got scared in the pack and kept moving back looking for a safe spot, I wasn't going to find it. Off they went, leaving me and a tween in their dust. That first lap I thought I could sneak through one of the parking lots and back to the car. But years of bad 80's sitcoms and cartoons have taught me stick it out. So on the second lap I decided to make the most of it. Jr. and I worked together to catch up and then try to just catch stragglers. Never caught or saw a single one. I did have the largest cheering section though, no matter how much I wanted to be anonymous I couldn't. I have to admit it, felt pretty good after awhile. Even though it was like an alert system telling spectators to check out the basset hound being chased by a squirrel.
My career in crits is still up in the air. I need to look to the wisdom of Tony Maselli and the Thundercats, and then, maybe then, can I muster up the courage to line up again. Just not behind the chubby one though, she was wicked fast.