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Dec. 10, 2007

Randy says to always throw your bike when you practice your sprint. With that advice in mind, I encourage people to throw whenever they cross the finish line, no matter where they finish, because you never know when you're about to get pipped for 27th place. Often it is unnecessary -- I am either last in the break, or I'm well behind the field sprint, or I've been dropped -- but I throw anyhow. For the practice.

And so here I am, throwing to end the cyclocross season. My nearest competitor, a teammate, was at least 5 seconds back after having wiped out on the course's last tricky turn.

I wore antlers and had wanted to find a red nose. That way people would have been compelled to let me go first and guide their way. Instead, sans red nose, I got to my typical bad start and proceeded to spend the rest of the course picking people off. I'd pass one person, sprint to the next, and then spend a quarter-lap waiting for space to pass, space that was scarce on the slushy, muddy course.

I don't think anyone passed me, and I must have climbed from around 20th to my eventual 11th. If the race were an hour longer I might have had time to win.

Seth threw snowballs to motivate me on Cricket Hill. I had expected the snow and slush would make my handling a liability, but it proved not to be so. Nobody was taking these turns very fast, and those who did did so at their peril. I just took the turns nice and easy, sticking a leg out when it seemed prudent, and let the people ahead of me make mistakes, which they obligingly did.

And so ends the 2007 season. Cross was excellent for me, and having done it means I now go three months until my next race instead of what would have been five.

As I browse through this season's photos, it boggles me to be reminded of all that has happened this season, from early-season concussions to mid-season tragedy, from lucky breaks to unlucky breaks. I have to check the time stamps to confirm that the all the photos are indeed from the same season.

I've already booked my flight for spring camp in California. We leave in 89 days. Once again that trip will be the official transition from winter to spring, and as each day of winter passes, I feel like I've chalked another tally on the cell wall.

Photo taken by E. Wight: Dec. 9, 2007