We split our drive to Baltimore in two parts, staying the night near Allentown, PA. I dozed off multiple times to the sound of Stephen Hyde’s favorite history podcast. The problem was, I was responsible for navigating to our destination, so periodically I’d wake up, alarmed that we’d suddenly gone off course because I’d fallen asleep on the job.
We arrive in Baltimore the next day and got on our bikes. We search for the bay but we never find it, blocked out by large industrial zones. I suppose we could have tried to find the water.
Zipping through Baltimore was quite the experience. New York City’s landscape of taxi cabs and wild pedestrians really started to grate on me towards the end of my time there. I’d periodically get into yelling matches with box trucks and cabbies. Overall it was a huge stressor. Being back in such an urban cycling environment, this time with a bit more experience handling a bike, side-by-side with teammates, really made me smile.
Charm City Cyclocross snakes through a beautiful, old public space called Druid Hill Park. Organizers make good use of elevation and geographic features, pushing us to dismount several times, and giving racers little opportunity to recover each lap. There’s sand, there’s climbing, there’s a little bit of turning, there’s a horse jump. There’s sprinting up two stories of scaffolding (happy feet! happy feet!). The weather was not in our favor! 80 degrees and high humidity. I keep saying that each race is harder than my last, and this time was no different.
My biggest takeaway from my weekend racing in Baltimore is that I’m still racing like a ballerina, face and upper body composed, relaxed, completely detached from my lower body, whereas my competitors (the ones who keep beating me) are all over the bike, pulling and pushing every last bit of power out of their bodies. I’m trying to find a way to unleash my inner wild woman on race day. Next up is Gran Prix of Gloucester, where we may see glimpses of her.