Mad Skillz at Ham Lake

November 7, 2007 · Print This Article

By Maria Stewart
Minneapolis, Minnesota

I continued my trend of stellar athletic performance 36 hours after crossing the Atlantic Ocean, this weekend- maybe you heard, last Sunday I won the 5k Gastroenterology Fun Run in Paris, France. The Ham Lake race on Saturday turned out to be the best race of my season so far with a 2nd place finish. It really helped that the women received a delayed start so the men could get themselves sorted out. The race started fast with Linda Sone leading the pack. Linda Cooper got a stick stuck in her derailleur briefly, and we never saw her again. Linda S, Margot, Amber from B-wood and I were together going through the mud pit when Margot endo-ed. She was lucky she didn’t get hurt. Amber crashed behind Margot and dropped her chain, and I slammed on the brakes so I didn’t run into either of them.

Linda S was long gone, but the three of us were still pretty close. Margot and I took off after the crash, and Amber was a little behind. Margot and I traded leading for a few laps until Amber caught on. I was getting tired, so I dropped back behind Amber until she started letting Margot get away. I definitely had a moment during the race when I thought, "Is there something wrong? Are you going too hard? You haven’t been this close to Margot all year!" I pulled back up to Margot and on the last lap, I took the lead going into the woods. I had no idea what I had left, so I figured I’d better go for it. The last 2/3 of the lap was bumpy and sandy with some tricky corners. My superb handling skillz really paid off and I was able to drop both Amber and Margot to take 2nd place.

I was really thrilled because I just installed my new SRAM groupo on Saturday morning and didn’t have any mechanicals during the race (except learning the new "double-tap" shifter set up). My pink brake hoods must have been key.

Grumpy’s race on Sunday was payback for my awesome race on Saturday. Not only was the course really slow and muddy (probably from the soccer field irrigation system), but after 2 laps, I lost all of my good kharma and my body went on strike. Some of the bad kharma moments included skipping my pedal on a piece of plywood and nearly sending my bike sideways, and single tapping my "double tap" shifters when I need to get into an easier gear (single tap = harder gear), and tripping over a barrier. I made it my mission just to finish the race in one piece, and thats what I did. Not a race to be proud of, but I think all of my bad kharma is out of my system.

I’m not sure if I’ll make it to Milaca next Sunday, but you can expect to see me at the State CX race on Nov 17!

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