The Night Weasels Cometh
Night Weasels was a crazy blast. I’ve been trying to get to this race for years. This time, I finally made it work between the job and childcare. The race takes place on the side of a ski mountain. When I arrived, I glanced up and shuddered, and readjusted my performance expectations. After an exceptionally dry spell, we received a couple inches of rain eariler in the day, which surprisingly, did not result in a lot of mud. It was a bit damp and slippery in spots but no mud bog. The Cat 4 women started just after the pros, and when I say pros, I mean World Cup winning pros. Among the women, Katerina Nash, Maghalie Rochette, and Gabby Durrin were on the course, and each of them lapped me (but just once!).
I think the thing about Night Weasels that makes it so fun, was this: riding at night feels a bit outlaw. It reminded me when I was too young to drive, but old enough to be out past dark with my friends, riding around on dirt roads in the summertime, getting into trouble.
The race was slow uphill, fast on the straights, and bumpy and greasy in the corners. I tweaked my hip at the peak of the longest twisting climb. I felt pretty crappy on lap one, but lap 2 and three things started to change and on 4 and 5 I felt pretty great. My “race within a race” victory was when I was passed by a rider on lap 3 and caught her on the last lap in a snaking decent. She went wide on an off-camber turn, miscalculated and I immediately capitalized on her error, turning tightly where she had gone wide. Then in my excitement, I punched it. I’m not very fast but my bike handling skills paid off here. I stayed away for the rest of the lap and won the position I had lost earlier. That felt like racing to me.
I’ll definitely do this again next year.