Thursday, December 26th

Courtenay McFadden recounts her Namur race, and how all her running through Seattle mud was an advantage:

The first lap I was trying to remain calm and comfortable with the course.  I discovered where I could make passes, for example, by the girls who where walking up the run-ups! I realized my running was a lot stronger than theirs, so I made my passes there, or on different lines down the descents. I was catching up to girls in front of me and was making up lost places after a terrible start. The lack of sleep was very obvious in the lack of power coming out of my legs, but I was having fun so I just didn’t care!

Going into the third lap, I opted to pit, and after passing the pits during the third lap, I ended up crashing, breaking a wheel (which didn’t surprise me, since I didn’t think the Mad Fibers would be strong enough for this Euro mud and drops) and a shifter and had to run half a lap to the next pits. That was SO much running! My legs haven’t done that much running in a long time, it made the run-ups that much harder, and I am sad to say, I did have to walk for a second to catch my breath during one of the run-ups.

While I was running on the off-camber rutted-out hill this girl passed me, and as she passed me she said (in a foreign accent), “Your wheel, your wheel is broken.” I laughed to myself because clearly my wheel was broken! As I was getting closer to the pits, I thought I was for sure going to get lapped.  Turns out, I didn’t get lapped, grabbed my pit bike and finished the last lap.  I caught a couple of girls on the last lap, but not enough to make me happy with my placement.

I had said in my last blog post that if I didn’t do better than my start position, I better start thinking about my racing career. I think that was karma, because I finished 42nd. Ugh. I was so mad. The positive I took out of the race was how much fun I did have with the course. I re-fell in love with cyclocross. The course was challenging, the mud was wickedly awesome, and I had a smile on my face for most of the race! I could really only take the race with a grain of salt, a great experience, and a lot of fun.

Read the rest on McFadden’s blog here.