Thursday, February 14, 2008

Top Ten BABY!


Due to my multiple head injuries sustained back in November that dragged my fitness level below that of a plump, out of shape bon bon eating, whiskey drinking slug, I was forced to rethink my definition of a successful race result. Replacing my original designs of consistently placing top ten in world cups and top five in other UCI events were more modest aspirations of mid-pack finishes and possibly, just maybe a top ten before the season commences.

Last Sunday, I realized my modified dream with a 9th place at Heerlen Cyclo-Cross (UCI event in Holland.) Yippee!

It is not much but after a season filled with frustrations, pain, and double vision - to name a few side effects of stupidly racing with a concussion for most of the season, i'll happily take the 9th place with a huge-ass smile spread across my face.

(top 1st and 3rd photos to right taken by Bart Hazen of cyclingfx.nl)
(white jersey with red stripes: Elke Riedl - Austrian Champion)

My coach, Elmo, consistently gives me a hard time when i talk about my "lessons learned" - how i always find some sort of bright side to any otherwise dismal situation. His issue is not with my positive attitude but rather with my continually having to learn lessons. He would rather get me to the point where I no longer learn lessons, indicating that I am no longer making mistakes!

Hopefully he's not reading this blog because I collected another "lesson learned" from this whole head injury debacle. Having spent a chunk of time away from any form of exercise, I learned that I truly love being an athlete. I love to go for training rides through the fields, over the hills, on the tiny cobbled roads. I love to put on my running shoes and head for the woods. I love to prepare for the races, pack my bags, fill the water bottles, make the pasta. I love to stand at the start line, heart racing, sweaty palms, twitchy legs, complete focus on the sound of the gun.

And, even with poor fitness, I absolutely love racing. During the race last Sunday, I once again had a bad start since I'm simply out of practice. But even so, I loved every moment of the race! Every time I rode near someone, I felt like a little kid on a play date.

(to the right: Jonathan Page on Lars Boom's wheel)

At one point in the race, I even busted out laughing! I caught up to a gal just as we reached the bottom of a very steep, barely ridable hill that takes the racers back out of Hellegat (Dutch for Hell's Hole - a deep bowl-shaped valley where the racers enter and exit a couple of times to make the race hard.) We raced up the hill full force moving about 3km/hr (2mi/hr). It must have looked comical to see two pro women seemingly racing in slow motion. Unfortunately i saw the humor in it while I was in the act and started laughing, nearly tipping over! The crowds went wild when they noticed that I, too, found the humor in it!

This Sunday is the last event of the season -Oostmalle in Belgium. The course consists of sand, sand, and more sand. Even the pits are in sand. It will be my last opportunity to play on a cyclo-cross bike. After that, it's back on the road bike until next fall.

Thanks for reading!

18 comments:

fasterjim said...

Congrats on the top 10!

PEANUT said...

Thanks a bunch!

gewilli said...

So that means you are gonna podium this weekend!

Nothing like timing your peak for the REAL end of the season!

And yeah. I'd echo ya coach (without the long winded talking to you over the phone) STOP LEaRNING LESSONS!!!

:D

(wtg on the top ten!!!!)

bikesgonewild said...

...good on you, kiddo...you needed a that top 10 to carry ya through the off (cross)season...best of luck on another good result this weekend...

...also like that you could laugh at the beauty & absurdity of it all...hopefully you can write off this season to "lessons learned" & come back w/ a vengeance next go-round...

PEANUT said...

Thanks for the nice comments!

I will be spending the next months obsessing about 2008/09 cross season so as not to collect any more lessons learned! haha

GCDavid said...

Hmmm, can one use a "smiley face" as a "race face"? Not terribly intimidating. Perhaps if you crinkle your forehead more the smiley will become diabolical (in a Jack Nicholson kind of way).

Great job!!! Keep it up and keep living the dream.

Anonymous said...

Surely Elmo's more serious quibble would be with the participle following the nominative in that compound noun-phrase.
-- E.C. Chamberlain

Little_Jewford said...

congrats!!! I looked around and I couldn't find any results beyond top 3....gotz to be a big boost at the end of the season!

CTodd said...

Wow.I go to Texas for a meeting and then: BAM!! You nail a top ten.

I should go to Texas more often.

Congratulations!!

Anonymous said...

Lesson????

Passion!!!!

With all your heart and soul you live and race! I love it! Reach for the un-reachable I say! You are the "CHAMP" in ALL WAYS...110%
D;)

m-coco said...

yay for the top 10!

now, open another can of whoop-ass this weekend!

PEANUT said...

GCDavid: jack nicholson in a vanderkitten skinsuit - that would be an interesting sight! Yes, ctodd, all because you went to texas. Were you visiting schools? EC Chamberlain - that participle was just for Elmo! Off i go now to the last race of the season, whoop-ass empowered!

Anonymous said...

Hello Christine,

I took about 6 or 7 pictures of you in Heerlen 2 weeks ago. If you'd like I'll send them to you. I just don't know how this works. My email is patmaessen@zonnet.nl
Great race.

PEANUT said...

thanks for taking photos of me! much appreciated! I will email you directly.

Veg*Triathlete said...

Awesome, Christine! Congrats on your top 10 finish and for your great attitude :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi.

I watched you racing in Heerlen. Looked pretty good. Hope next season you can catch up with the Top.

regards,

A fan from Holland

CTodd said...

No. I just cannot see myself living in the lone star state even if just for school.

My MBA plans have me headed to the EU.

I visit Madrid (ie.edu) in April!

Anonymous said...

Tough race in Heerlen yesterday?