King's CX: UCI C1 (10/22/22) - by Sarah "Rah" Williams
Cincinnati, OH - My second UCI race started out better than my first: I got a decent start, considering my last row, 2nd to last call up. I spent the first lap bidding my time, staying as connected to the long train of riders ahead of me as I could, watching for places where I could potentially pass.
On the second lap, things started spreading out a bit and I had some good forward momentum, passing some riders and getting myself settled. My legs were responding when I needed them to, and I was feeling pretty good coming out of the run up onto the second off camber hill section. I was putting some distance between the group of riders I had managed to sneak by and felt strong hitting the barriers.
Immediately following the barriers, there was a right turn onto the paved finishing straight that dropped you off a curb. First lap, I took that with no problem, but the second lap I dropped my chain and was promptly passed by the 3 riders I had just worked so hard to pass. Thankfully, I was able to get my chain back on pretty quickly and proceeded to chase that group back down, only to drop my chain again on a rooted section. Unfortunately, by that point I had burned a lot of matches and just couldn't seem to reach those ahead of me again.
I crossed the line in P25/28. While I was frustrated by the mechanical issues, I'm pretty proud of a few things from this race: I didn't panic when my chain dropped and worked hard to keep going; I had a much better start; and I had some great passes through watching, waiting, and planning when to hit it hard to get around and away.
I'm so grateful to have the opportunities to jump into these challenging races, even when, or especially(?) when it's felt like it's been a rough road to get here. I didn't attempt it last year because of family health issues, and I almost didn't attempt it again this year because of my crash in July (insert PSA to wear your helmet here! Also, don't mess around with concussions, I'm racing under careful observation from my Dr).
Through many conversations with amazing team members and friends, I realized that timing will never be just right. Things will always be popping up; life will regularly throw barriers that make getting to the start line a struggle. But...Jump in anyway. Goals should scare you. Do it anyway. Above all else, Keep Going!