Monday, August 04, 2014

2014 catamount classic pro xct

instead of telling you about a race i was IN two days ago, i'm going to tell you about a race i was AT last week, because i'm working on clearing off my desk and first things first.

i love sporting events.

by sporting events, i mean "events in which athletes demonstrate awesome abilities, courage, and skill" and not "huge hyped up profit-making multi-millionaires  with huge entourages and media-managed machines".

so i love curling, ski racing, and mountain bike racing.

the superbowl, not so much.

anyway, last week i was at the catamount classic xct pro race, which is a weekend of races and events that include elite professional races as well as citizen class races and races for children. because typically i volunteer at this event i don't get to see the thing the way spectators do, but i get a very deep view of a narrow point.

in this case i saw a lot of the morning action on saturday from the timing tent, and i saw the afternoon races from the bottom course crossing because i was marshaling that corner, which means i had to stand there wearing a safety vest and if riders were visible on the course above me to the woods, i had to cut off pedestrian traffic at the crossing.

oddly, racers do not enjoy seeing pedestrians crossing the section of course they are entering at full speed. they really prefer to come through those curves before that jump without having to watch for people in their way.

so that was my job.

i didn't get to see a lot of the race in general, but i got to see every second of it from my little corner. happily i know the course well enough that i can imagine what these same riders look like as the announcer calls the action.

i have fewer pictures from the women's race than i do of the men's race because the women's race was the headline event and there was more crowd for me to have to control at the crossing. the women's race was also more heavily attended by world and national champions.

when you see a race with georgia gould, lea davison, and katerina nash in it, you are watching women you have seen on olympic courses and in world cup races.

and the thing about seeing the race at a venue like catamount is that you can stand right up close to these giants and talk to them.

it was super exciting for the local crowd, too, because lea davison is FROM here, as in she is from jericho, which means her mail comes out of the same post office mine does. and she had a slow start to
the season because of a hip surgery, but she managed to defend her national championship the week before and this was her first race with her new champion jersey ON THE HOME FIELD WITH HER GRANDMOTHER WATCHING!

and watching lea race is kind of a nail biter because if she CAN blow the legs off the field right out of the start she will, but mostly she has a habit of sitting right in with the lead group and making those girls in the front work hard to keep her behind them and then in the last lap -BAM- she drops them.

so for most of the race we don't know if she can't win it, or if she's just doing that thing she does.

so all the way around she was right behind katerina nash. sometimes it was just the two of them and sometimes georgia gould and chloe woodruff would join up and at one point the lead group had grown to six riders.

and then katerina nash went down in the rock garden. and right at the bell, davison took off the way she does and THE FANS WENT WILD.

after the race i heard katerina nash make a very graceful apology for that fall. i can't place her words exactly, but the gist of it was that she was not sorry for what it did to her own race, because she's a big girl and is responsible for her own day, but that she owed an apology to the other women who lost time because of her mistake.

she is a class act.

here's a little video of the men's race and some pictures of both the men's an women's elite races.

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