Journal: Kelsey takes on Storm Eva Bandman as a Tomato

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Sunday, October 23rd, 8:10 AM. I slip my lights on, snap my helmet, chug the last of the water in my glass, grab my backpack, and head out the door. Today is a great day for cyclocross.

My sleepy muscles start to loosen up as I pedal the 6 chilly miles towards the river. I’m feeling both excited and nervous for the race because I haven’t ridden or raced cross in a month but I’m pumped to have the opportunity to do it again. I roll up through the greenway, and here we are: Eva Bandman. After registering and finding my teammates, we make our way to the start for a pre-ride, and well, let’s just say I realized that I hadn’t done anything technical in a year. But hey, technical courses are what most excite me about cross, so this should be all the more fun.

9:53 AM. I’m chilling at the start, admiring people’s costumes. This is Storm Eva, so folks are encouraged to dress up. Oh, I’m a tomato by the way. I roll up to the grid, adrenaline pumping. I think this is one of the larger women’s fields I’ve competed with – we have more than 3 rows.

10:01 AM. We’re off! I’ve had a bad habit recently of taking the hole shot and then not being able to sustain my own pace, so I’m glad that I managed to be somewhere around 7th in the field after my start. The first part of the course was pretty wide and grassy but soon came around the bend to a sharp hill, and I got caught behind a crash on the first lap. I’ll stop giving you the blow by blow and just leave a few highlights:

  •  THAT SAND PIT. I felt like I spent a solid 5 minutes every time drudging through the sand. Next time I’m at a beach, I’m going for a run.
  • Every time on a grassy straight, I could hear my tomato leaf flapping on my helmet
  • I ran up both of the longer steep hills, but there weren’t many Cat 4s riding up them anyways
  • A Cat 5 man crashed before the first of those hills a couple laps in
  • That quick remount after the boulder staircase was tricky
  • I passed somebody on that first grassy section as the UofL peeps were cheering which was fun
  • And shout out to everyone who cheered for me: Abner, Jacob, Alex, and whoever else was cheering at the UofL team tent; Rachel Langdon; and whoever was at the VO2 Multisport tent

When I crossed the finish line, I didn’t know where I’d placed, but I was pretty happy with my race. I could’ve done another lap or even two, which is good because I’m usually very much dead and out of breath, so now I know that I can give a little more next time.

I wanted to do well to represent not only UofL Cycling, but also women in cycling in general. As (currently) the only woman on the cycling team, I feel obligated to perform even better to make up for every girl who’s not on our team.

Anyways, the rest of the day consisted of hanging out with my wonderful teammates, selling Heine Bros coffee for the team, cheering people on, celebrating Jacob’s birthday (!!!), missing my podium and then taking a solo pic (thank you, Scheller’s, for the bike light), seeing a skeleton with a helmet on in someone’s passenger seat, and scheming for the Cardinal Crit (stay tuned!).

All in all, Storm Eva was a blast and made me feel less guilty about not being able to prioritize cycling because I was able to just enjoy being present and participating in my favorite sport – cyclocross.

On to the Derby City Cup this weekend!

-Kelsey

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