I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
Well I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
And I said I need dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need
And if I share with you my pain face, would you share your dollar with me?
After Lion of the Den, I said that podium pictures were probably going to be fewer and further in between this season. In that vein, I'd say that the picture above is about as close as I'll get. I'm posing with my very first torn, sweaty dollar bill hand-up after retrieving it from my sports bra at the end of the race.
Technically it's not the first time I've crossed the finish line with more cash stuffed in my skinsuit than when started (beginning balance is typically zero), but rummaging through the sandpit in true gold digger style during last year's BloomingCross Little 5 bike race doesn't really count. My objective was much more to provide entertainment and grab money than it was to really race. On Sunday, the decision that I've been contemplating since last year's St. Mary's race finally stared me in the face.
How many times last year did I heckle dudes to "take the dollar, you're out of the money, anyway"? In retrospect, it was a pretty harsh assessment to make from my lofty Cat 4 pedestal, standing there in my warm clothes, hard cider in hand and podium swag stored in the car, my suffering successfully completed for the day. I just thought receiving trivial amounts of money mid-race sounded exciting, and the one time the opportunity arose for Cat 4 women, I was so focused I never even saw what was in front of me until I looked at the pictures later.
The part that I didn't understand was that while OVCX pays cash prizes to 20 places for Elite men and 10 places for Elite women, that the payout for retaining your pride goes down to (# of starters - 1). Not last is still better than last. Perhaps if I were used to top 5's, a 20th place standing would cause me to give up and ride it in grabbing every dollar, cup of beer, slice of bacon, jello shot, gummi worm, and free puppy available between the place where it all went to hell and the finish line. (At least in the elite race people give you stuff when it all goes to hell.)
As things stand now, I still have performance standards that might not seem like much to others, but between me and my crossresults.com page, still allow me to leave races feeling okay about things. Sunday I found myself in the "acceptable performance" zone, but working very hard to stay there. As I approached the "Shamrock Cycles Strava Challenge Start Zone" (the "segment" was approximately 30 ft. long and contained two turns and a variety of proffered goods) on the second lap, I heard Tim calling my name and "dollar hand-up" over his megaphone. I sighted my prize and made the call, the long awaited dollar, or cautiously guard my lead over the next girl back? If I played my cards right, I could have both. So I grabbed as I exited the turn and almost made it, but my balance was off and I hurtled for the tape on the far side. A handful of brake and a jutted out foot allowed me to stay upright and moving, even with a big loss of momentum. I quickly stuffed the dollar and sprinted to keep my lead. Totally worth it.
I managed to hold my 20th out of 22 place to end, and chalked another one up in the "meets expectations" column. I'm still waiting for my first "exceeds expectations" of the season, but it's still early. The first few weeks of the season have been much lighter than last year, and I'll be missing next weekend due to a visit from my parents. After that, it will be six weekends in a row of doubles (one triple, actually), and I think that will be where I start see progress. I'm not sure if heavy racing really improves my fitness or just beats away my inhibitions, but last year it seemed like more was better. Hopefully the pattern will continue.