First of all, thanks to Rich Rosko for taking 146 photos of just the womens' race (he shot something like 900 pictures all day) and making them available for free. Like this shot of me on the final lap of the course. The sun had come out and the mud positively sparkled, along with my mood when I realized that I had enough gas to finish the race and redeem myself from last year's DNF on the very same course.
UPDATE: results were just posted and, as expected, I finished last in my category, 31 out of 31 in Master Women 45+. I managed three laps and I'm happy with how it all went down.
The women struggling in the mud behind me (including the one who fell) would all pass me before the final straightaway. That's racing. That's also, I freely acknowledge, being older, heavier and slower and having the physique of a hard-boiled egg on twigs. Incidentally, I have inherited my mother's physique to a T. The difference is that she would never, ever have done anything like this. I sometimes wonder what she would make of it if she were here today and could come watch a race.
--OBRA officials, without whom there would be no placings and bike races in Oregon would be little more than an anarchy festival at the finish line. Recently heard that our lead official was consulted on tracking racers by another organization somewhere back east that was using the same computer program. They were having trouble keeping track of 40 racers in a category. I laughed out loud. OBRA regularly tracks hundreds of racers in a single category at Cross Crusade, over a thousand at a race; and results are posted within a day or two of the race. Next time you're at an Oregon bike race, bring something nice for the OBRA officials and say thank you. (Preferably when they're not trying to track laps.)
--Kristin, Crystal, Shawn, Tori, Mielle, Jenn, JJ. Tina, Sue, Susan, Sharon, Flo and all the other amazing, strong Oregon women who come out and race with me at these things. You inspire me, encourage and push me to do better, and make me feel SO welcome in this place called bicycle racing. Someday we WILL have a womens' singlespeed category at Cross Crusade, even if my lobbying for it makes me very unpopular and annoying.
--Ed, Rob, Justin, Joel H., Edwin, Joel M., Ira, Tony, John, Jose, Ron, Will and all the other unfailingly, insanely cheerful guys who dared me to try racing, and who now scream my name, hurl tons of love at my humble little singlespeed bike ("go singlespeeeeed!"), and ring cowbells for me until I'm nearly deaf during all the womens' races. I never had a brother growing up and now I feel like I've got a dozen of them. How cool.
--Cross Crusade organizers and volunteers. Your name is legion. Your efforts are Herculean, and more appreciated than you'll ever know. You are why we have one of the best bicycle racing series in the world.
--My Sweetie, for accepting the fact that I was born with way too much shpilkes and simply must go and get it out of my system on a regular basis. As she wisely surmised one day early in our relationship, "Bicycling for you is like breathing." Even though she does not come to my cyclocross races (too cold and wet for her) she is with me at every single one.