Teammate Annalisa Fish reports on CX Nats

Stoke was high heading into Cx Nats. Its my first year racing cross and with the support of PBS, my teammates and the amazing cycling community of Portland, I felt as though I have made some steady progress during the season. I was feeling pretty fresh and antsy to get racing again after a month or so from real competition.

I was racing age group 30-34 this year…crazy to think that is masters but also super thankful to compete at this event. I pre-rode in dry conditions and was feeling a little tentative at the off camber sections. However, once I had proper tires and pressure, I was golden. Molly and I were able to ride together the night before. I followed her wheel for a couple laps around the long course. We ‘sessioned’ some technical areas; choosing what would be the best line for me. During pre-ride I hit the deck hard at a tricky spot on the course and it left a big hematoma on my hip. I was a tiny bit shaken up at the time…. little did I know this was nothing compared to what I would encounter on race day.

Friday morning it was sprinkling and I could see it was starting to get a bit messy on the course. I pre-rode and still felt pretty confident with all the lines we had chosen the night prior. I warmed up well and legs were feeling good. A bunch of my ATX loved ones came to show their support, which made the race super fun with all their cheers.

Unfortunately, lining up, I had a back row start because of my lack of USAC points. Noted for next year. The start was decently fast, but was also frustrating because it was extremely difficult to pass on the long pavement section. I tried to go around right as the road bent left but I hesitated because I didn’t want to cause a crash. Ah well, I moved up to about mid pack by the time we hit the dirt.

What is crazy is how the race played out. I soon realized that the drizzle and now full on rain made it so that none of the off camber that I rode previously was even rideable (at least for me). It was a running race and there was so much of it. It was seriously a slip and slide out there on the Texas dirt and limestone. I was a mess after ½ a lap.

I consistently moved up throughout the race and took a bike each lap from Corey and Molly who were in the pits. I was even at one point sitting in 6th or 7th. Then I slipped, slipped again and dropped my chain all in a span of 1 min. I was frazzled, but thankfully one of my buddies yelled for me to stay calm. I composed myself and was finally able to descend on the long steep section leading into barriers.

During the last lap, I was able hammer the straight pavement and I made up one spot that I lost during the series of fumbles. I had someone hot on my tail but was able to finish at 9th place after the sprint finish’. Turns out being stubborn is good for something. :)

Thanks for all the support Portland Bicycle Studio, Castelli, Ritte Cycles, Lazer Sport, Bar Fly and my wonderful teammates. I’ll see y’all next year in Asheville.

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