long live the queen!

Last weekend was the annual Icycle ice race, and the end of my time as the champ.

This year, there were 6 women competing, so we started with two initial heats of 3 riders each. I cannot begin to tell you how awful my first race was! I was feeling pretty comfortable in practice and warm up, but racing is such a different pace! Those corners seem so much worse at race speed, and I was all over the brakes. Frankly, pretty embarrassing, especially for the defending champion!

I had a bit of a break before the semi-final, which was a good chance to re-group. I stayed inside to keep warm and gave myself a pep talk. There were 4 in the semi-final, and only the top 2 were going on to the final, so I knew what I needed to do if I wanted the chance to defend the title. I am happy to say I pulled out a much better race - I was smoother in the corners, and much more agressive. I got passed in one corner, and raced full out to get back into the lead to win the heat. Yay! So much happier with my racing.

The finale was great, the kind of close racing that is so exciting - to watch and to take part in. It stayed together for the first half, and then Linda and I pulled away, with Linda leading. With a few laps to go, I was working pretty hard to get into the lead, and Linda was doing a great job of holding onto her position. With one to go, I was giving it my all, and took a corner faster than my tires could hang on for. I slid out, and Linda rode clear for the win. It took me a minute to get going again, and limped in for 4th. While I really wanted to win, at least I know I was pushing my limits. I got some pretty good bruises up my left side to show for it, too.
Toronto Grand Prix Tourist caught me mid-slide

All good things must come to an end, and in this case, it was a good run at being the "Ice Queen." I was reigning champion for 4 consecutive years, earning consistent results to go with that sweet nickname. Some years I won quite handily, but more recently, the level of racing has stepped up, and it's been some tight battles to hang onto the crown, making it an exciting event. Even though, each year, I would spend the days leading up to the race claiming I didn't want to race again, I think it's pretty safe to assume I'll be back again next year!

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