By Crystal Anthony
Anticipating a race is kind of like anticipating a date. Sometimes, you just know it’s going to be a good one, even though you don’t know what the exact outcome will be. You’re a little shaky in the morning, a little wired, maybe giddy. Feeling nervous as you focus everything on the upcoming event is a great sign because you know you want it, and you’re ready to go for it. Where you’re going to place, or how fast you’re going to go, those things end up taking care of themselves.
It doesn’t even matter if it’s a National Championship, or an early season local event, because it’s all about your legs showing up to work and your mind showing up to tell them to shut up when it hurts. I was psyched that my hands were jittery while making my coffee the morning of QuadCross (wasn’t the caffeine, obviously), and having to go to the bathroom a hundred times pre-race was another excellent sign. It meant my sensible, calculating self—that along with keeping a reign on inconvenient urges also keeps a reign on unnecessary pain and stress—had decided to sit back and let me go off on my racing adventure.
QuadCross was the final tune-up race prior to the start of the Verge New England Series, and there was a great showing from LadiesFirst. Four women raced very well in the 3/4 morning race and there were five women in the 1/2/3 race.
Nancy Labbé-Giguère 3rd
Rebecca Wolski 29th
Devon Fitzgerald 30th
Anna Milton 31st
Andrea Smith 1st
Crystal Anthony 3rd
Ann D’Ambruoso 4th
Christina Tamilio 6th
Showing up to the venue, it was nice to know which table to go sit at in the cafeteria, so to speak! I found the LadiesFirst crew gathered around bikes and trainers in the parking lot, and we stayed relaxed while waiting to start the warm up. While I love triathlons, cross is a nice complement to the more high-strung, disciplined atmosphere of the former. No one at a cross race is going to judge you for how many grams of what you ate for breakfast! Cross is all about guts.
The course included an excessive maize (actually two) of grassy turns, a few road straightaways, one set of barriers leading into a short steep hill, and a ridable sand section. In the pre-ride, I got a sense for how to approach the barriers and sand section, and practiced cornering. I knew my sections to hammer would be the road segments and grass straights.
At the start of the 1/2/3 race, Andrea, Christina, and Ann took off from the front line while Allison and I charged from the second row. Andrea took a quick lead, and soon separated off the front with Sara B. I stayed within contact until the barrier section in which I faltered clipping in en route up the hill that followed. From then on, Ann and I traded between 3rd and 4th, with Ann leading the technical sections and I leading the straightaways in as aero a position as I could muster! When the lap cards finally appeared with 4 to go, I had a slight mid-race crisis. Everything was in pain. “Settle down,” I told myself, “You are a long-course athlete so don’t be ridiculous.” Being able to trade the work with Ann helped, and also focusing on the recovery I knew I’d get when winding around the zillions of hairpin turns. Before I knew it there were 2 to go. My legs were feeling good, and I was feeling strong overall. Andrea was keeping a steady pace ahead, while Ann was right behind and Christina and Allison were also solidly in the top ten.
I guess you could say we all “got lucky”!