Friday, October 24, 2008

Rebecca is the National Champion!!

Appalachian State cyclist Rebecca Tomaszewski’s Cross-Country National Championship race began with a panicked outcry of “Rebecca, your race just started!” from Team Manager Doug Owen.

At that moment, most any other rider would have had her National Championship aspirations go up in flames. Rebecca simply jumped on her bike and sprinted off to catch the already charging Division II women’s field. She didn’t panic, hyperventilate, or lose her mental bearing. Instead, she rode her bike hard, and within a few minutes she was riding at the front of the pack. And why should she panic? Rebecca has been attracting attention for her singlespeed, fully rigid, 12- and 24-hour racing dominance for years! It been a common joke in the ASU camp that in order for her to do a 20-something mile collegiate cross country race, she’d have to warm up for six hours prior.

A group of App State volunteers stood in the feed zone and cheered Rebecca on as she started her final lap – she was only 39 seconds down on the leader! After she passed, we all walked to the finish line to cheer her on at the end.

“Rebecca is a really smart racer. I bet she has that girl in front of her right where she wants her.”
“She probably knows exactly where she’ll make the pass, this lap, watch.”

We waited at the finish, anxious to see Rebecca pop up over the rock wall that was our first point of visibility. The Division I finishers started to ride by – they had started five minutes before the DII women. As the first DI women we rolling in, we started counting places, trying to figure out exactly when Rebecca would come through.

“We’re going to have to yell her name as she rolls by. Chad (the race announcer) is not going to know what to say.”
“What if it comes down to a sprint? Rebecca only has one gear!”

We were so busy trying to play out what was going on back in the singletrack that we almost missed Rebecca rolling up to the finish. She almost missed it, too.

Because she missed the start, Rebecca didn’t hear the announcement that the race was shortened by one lap due to weather. At the finish, rather than sit up, take stock, and raise her arms in the finishing chute, Rebecca was gearing up for another lap. The announcer was caught off guard as well:
“Oh…and we have our women’s DII national champion, Rebecca…”
“Toma-shhesskey,” Dan and I yelled. Then we yelled it again… and again. Rebecca looked up in surprise, and then her face made the most incredible transformation, mud and sweat highlighting her elation.

“Damn, that was a fast lap. Wait, is she on a singlespeed?”

We didn’t hear Chad’s commentary after that though. We were already over to Rebecca, hugging her, yelling, and making a general scene of celebration and revelry. Almost immediately, a small crowd had formed around her. Rebecca had earned Appalachian State Cycling its first National Championship title!

“So you got that Stars and Stripes jersey you wanted.” But Rebecca wasn’t satisfied.
“Let go get some more!”
“Okay, There’s still Short Track, Downhill, Dual Slalom, the individual omnium, and a team title. Go for it!”

And with that, Rebecca was back on her bike, cooling down, thinking two days ahead to the final awards ceremony.


R said...

HEY!!! Congratulations dude!!!

Madeleine Macy said...

This Champion Sportswear breaths well, fits great, is comfortable and is fabric that keeps moisture away and dry rapidly.