All I do is win, win, win, no matter what,
Got [drinking vessels] on my mind, I can never get enough
And when I ride it 'cross the line, I put at least one hand up.
Ask you what you laughing at, represent that mud life
Dirty money, bitch, you better get your mud right
Okay, okay, I'm getting a little full of myself, but Sunday was a good day. I guess I made the right decision regarding cat up vs. have one last good race as a 4, because I had one last *great* race as a 4. I'm also wondering about the power of blogging my intentions. When I wrote that I wanted to get a top 3 overall, it happened the very next weekend at Gun Club. When I wanted to win, thought I could win, and knew conditions would be damn near perfect for me to win at Lexington but was afraid to publicly announce it, I didn't win. When I finally allowed myself to say it, it happened.
Anyway, the OVCX finale race was more sticky than sloshy, which is different than the muddy conditions where I have excelled in the past. However, I got a good start and made the turn out of the first bog in the lead. I kept it through the half-lap prologue until we had to run up the hill to the finish line and Karin Reed beat me to the top. She got a little gap, but then I started gaining again, and passed her when she had to run the first time up the "camel hump" and I was able to ride. SRAM may be all about pushing their top-end Red group, but there's something to be said for a low-end Apex derailleur that allows you to run an 11-32 cassette on a hilly and sticky course.
I held the lead until the next time through the finish, but Karin came back up even with me as we crested the hill. I jumped back on my bike and dove for the inside of the turn, shutting the door and maintaining my lead. Then I hammered to keep it. By the time I came around to the stairs again, Adam told me that I had over 30 seconds, but a glance at my watch indicated that I would still have one more full lap to go. My mind started asking me how I could screw it up, like it is wont to do in such situations, but I told it that I wasn't going to screw up this time. So I didn't. I rode hard for another lap, and as I made next-to-last turn of the course, I glanced over and saw that I had a sand pit and 150 meters of sloggy hill between myself and Karin. I let up for a just a couple of pedal strokes on the downhill before the finishing straight, then jumped off, shouldered my bike, and ran with all my might to patch of firm grass before the finish line. At that point, my lead was secure, so even though it would have been faster to keep running, I stopped, remounted, and rode over the line for my first win.
The Heckle Off and the series awards party were a ton of fun. I wasn't feeling hopeful for the Shamrock Cycles team to take the Heckle Off victory, because practically everyone got recruited to pit as conditions continued to deteriorate throughout the day. Luckily, the winner was determined by audience yelling at the awards ceremony, and even if we spent more time during the last two races swapping and washing bikes than we acting like hooligans, we are really good at yelling. We yelled hard, and claimed the bottle of Scotch and case of Little Kings. For some reason, Will handed me the bottle of Scotch before I got up on the podium for the series championship, so my overly dramatic victory picture is kind of funny.
I'm sad that the OVCX series is over, but I'm happy with the way it ended. I'm going to miss everyone through the long winter months of training before next season, but we still have a few ICX races left and apparently, a bottle of Scotch to drink. I'm looking forward to the new adventures of road racing and giving the 100 mile mountain bike race another go. Regardless, I still expect there will be many times in the next few months where I look at the newly stamped "CX:03" on my racing license and think, "Is it September yet?"
Keep hustling (it ain't over me, yeah, it ain't over for me)
Keep flowing (Ima step up my game and get what's comin' for me)