My dad and I arrived at the venue (Iowa County Fairgrounds) on Thursday. I went for a quick spin to check out the course. It was very similar to the previous year and straightforward, with most of the technical sections saved for the World Cup course.

The rest of the team arrived on Friday with plenty of time to spare since KK and I didn’t race until 7:45 that night. Night races are not my favorite. I’ll admit it; I’m not a night person! I have to work at staying calm and motivated all day. Once race time finally rolled around, I got ready to compete. I was hoping for a good result in the C2 since most racers skip it to race the World Cup. My race went pretty well. I felt decent and finished up 14th. With my birthday being the following day, Kerry surprised me with flowers and cupcakes after the race. I recommend cupcakes for recovery! I am pretty picky about cupcakes with my baking experience, but these were pretty good!

The next day, I woke up, leisurely ate breakfast, and headed to get some groceries with Mo and KK. We just caught the end of the local farmers market where I bought nitro chocolate cold brew coffee, and Mo let me pick out any dessert I wanted for my birthday from the local Co-op. Fall is my favorite season, so I chose my first pumpkin pie of the year.

After shopping, we headed to the course and went for a spin from there. We arrived back in time to watch the World Cup race. I wasn’t ranked high enough to make the selection, but I was really excited to spectate. I grabbed Sherman out of the RV and headed to Kerry’s start. The UCI official called out 2 minutes to go, and I was ready to dash off to get a prime viewing place to catch the first lap action.

Sherm and I also made sure to stop by the Nulo dog food tent to get some dog food samples! Sherm was very excited because this is probably the only race where there is a sponsor solely for the dogs! He does a lot to support Kerry and me and likes to feel appreciated. After Kerry’s race finished, Kerry surprised me with my birthday present, a back lit kindle!! I am so excited because I won’t have to read with a head light while camping, or keep KK up when I am trying to read at night. The mechanics, Mo, and I headed back to our lovely host house where KK had already made dinner! We had pumpkin pie for dessert!

Two HUGE thunderstorms passed through over the night and it was terrifying. The family dog took care of me though and slept right next to my bed all night. We packed up and headed to the venue where KK and I were thrilled that the overnight rain had created mud on the course. We lined up to race with 60 plus women! I had a pretty good start. I quickly had to dismount and run through an extremely muddy section. I stayed pretty consistent throughout the race and for once my first lap was not my slowest! Progress! It occurred to me I have never done a HOT and muddy race. The air was stifling. Running up the iconic hill, Mt Krumpit, the humid air wasn’t moving a bit, so by the end of the race I found myself no longer running but slowly trudging up it. I finished the race about midpack and sat down in the grass. Once I felt better, I headed back to the team tent. All of a sudden, I felt awful and thought I was about to pass out. Luckily, Mo came to my rescue and put ice all over me to cool me down. I eventually moved to a chair once the nausea had passed. Thank goodness my mechanic, Jon was there to pack my bike. I have done many hot races, but that was the worst I have ever felt post race and the closest to heat exhaustion I have come. I am looking forward to real cross weather races later this season!

My fitness is good and I know I need to work on certain aspects of my racing.  I am excited to have many more weekends to improve. Once again, thank you to the mechanics, Jon and Colin, for sweating away in the pits all weekend. They had to work so hard because of the mud and it was so miserably hot. Muddy races shouldn’t be hot too! Thank you, Mo for rescuing me from heat exhaustion and everything else you do to help us! And finally, thank you to all the sponsors and the Amy D Foundation for helping make my dreams and goals come true.

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