Southern Pines, NC

Southern Pines was this weekend's NC tour stop - and I must say the area is quite lovely. Much to my father's chagrin, I'm sure, I am not a golf or golf course fan, so that very significant element of the area was completely lost on me. It was a very scenic drive, from what I saw, but then again, I was napping quite a bit in the back seat ...

I did, however, enjoy myself at the cyclocross race held on the Sandhills Community College campus. 'Sandhills' is a very appropriate name as there was a huge sand run-up and some sketchy deep-sand descents and turns. I learned a valuable lesson yesterday -- to give myself the chance to learn to like a course before getting all bent out of shape about it. On my first practice lap, I was absolutely incredulous - downright annoyed, in fact ... hating the deep sandy sections, which happened to account for about 40% of the course. But I forced myself to do a couple more pre-race laps - and with the help of riding them with my oh-so-technically-savvy teammate Cara - found myself loosening up and even having fun (!) in the sand. By the first lap of my race, I wasn't the least bit daunted by the deep sections.

The hill was a completely different story. I don't go up them fast riding, and I certainly don't go up sandy hills fast 'running' (if you can call it that) and carrying my bike (which happens to be rather light for a cx bike). Uggh. For the second time in as many weeks, the hill was my demise and I finished second. I need to: a.) get better fitness, b.) get faster, c.) lose weight ... all intricately intertwined, I know, and I am working diligently.

I'll definitely post some photos if/when I come across any (yours truly forgot about a digital camera's battery to need charging and hasn't bothered to do so for weeks) ... would love to document that crazy run-up and the very technical 180-degree-off-camber-turn-with-two-barriers-around-a-tree section. You'll be pleased to know that the camera is up and running again for future posts!

Congratulations to co-traveller and fellow Charlottean Ben Miller for winning the Men's B race (and thanks for the yummy mexican lunch!) and to teammy Cara for winning the Women's A's (a double-winner for the weekend!) - Cheers!

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