Monday, February 23, 2009
My toes were actually warm! Of course, as you can see from the picture, I was over dressed. I wasn't frozen as we waited, patiently, for the women's cat four race to start, the last race of the day. We are in fact, as reported by one official, a smaller group and thus of least importance. I was thankful that we were allowed the chipx timers. Apparently there was concern that they'd run out and if that happened, the women's cat four race would go sans-chips.
I think our race started about 15 minutes later than posted. I didn't know what to do with the nervous energy but was sure it would shake out after our race rolled past the start (past the neutral zone) and got up to the speeds I remembered from last year.
Boy, was I wrong. We started at a snail's pace. It was a little funny, a little embarrassing. I heard Carrie Cash's voice echo in my head as we cruised down the road at 11/12 mph (!) "This ain't no cupcake race!" Well, I was sure getting hungry for some baked goods of some sort. But of course, like all things, this too did pass. We eventually picked up the pace to a respectable level and soldiered on. Ghisallo's team was large and in charge. They got themselves to the front and Deanna kept them moving and organized. It was kind of neat to see and I motored myself to the front to take a pull and get in the mix a little. I think my pull was a little longer than I my body agreed with.
Oh well, it was fun!
After the first turn, the Ghisallo ladies stepped on the gas and tried to break off the front, but we didn't let them go. Turn two, same thing - they were reeled back in; however, one girl got enough of a break and there was just enough of a lack of response to let her get going. I encouraged the girl in front of me, at the third wheel to jump and I was fast on her wheel. Unfortunately, I can't seem to bridge. I got about half way there and boom, done? really? I watched about 10 ladies go around me and make it successfully to our carrot up the road. Of course, this group included Kate and Alice! Go Hub ladies!
I continued, in vain, to try to bridge. Cat joined me, we worked together (both hacking due to recent bronchitis!) but again, bam (where does that wall keep coming from?). Soon, one at a time, more Ghisallo, veloforce and various other ladies bridged to me, then past me. I tried to hang on to each one as long as I could. Of course, I did also try to spend some time pulling them too (so as not to be a total wheel sucker!). It was fun while it lasted. It just didn't last long enough. Soon, too soon, I was alone in the wind again. When the hills (rollers) set in, I was crispy on the edges and ready to be done (for the season?... well, no but close!). I just needed to hang on for 10 more miles.
That was the LONGEST ten miles! By the time I reached the 1 k mark, I couldn't believe how far 1k could be. I noticed one of the ladies from the "break" was now sitting on the side of the road and a police car was there. I would have wiped my eyes in disbelief, but they were cemented to my handlebars. Later, I learned of the crash that took out the lead pack and it was Julie who was sitting there in a daze. (The last I heard, she was battered/bruised but otherwise OK).
I didn't even attempt to sprint to the line. Just rolled over it. I actually may have decelerated as I reached it. I tried not to finish like I finish a long hard group ride, but I think I was on automatic at that point. I likely would have stopped right at the line, if there hadn't been tons of people yelling things that sounded (muffled) like "keep going" and, "turn in your chip" and "get out of the road" - these things did not make a bit of sense to me. My brain was thinking only one thing - I was happy to be done.
The results say I took 18th, out of 23 finishers. My average was just under 18 mph.
My results say I did not die of wheezing coughs, I did not flat and stand on the side of the road for a long time and I did not crash. Overall, I laughed some, smiled some, pulled some, time-trailed some, wheel-sucked some, ached/cramped some, cursed very little. In my book, I won!
I also looked good in my Hub Vest (thanks to Devin) and spent a little extra time out on the course so the TV crews could catch me!