Ramblings, musings and generally boring stuff. Mostly about bikes...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tour of Hermann 2009

Bring on the weekend:
Phil and I had a wedding to go to in Washington MO on Friday night. To cut down on drive time and increase sleep time, we opted to stay over in Washington Friday night.
The wedding was fun, but of course we left later than we wanted. I was surprized that the Super 8 was clean and in good condition; however, I soon learned that the noise from the hallway was channeled and amplified directly into our room! That combined with someone talking loudly every hour made for a poor night's sleep.

5:30 am came too quickly. We wandered around the room, got into cycling gear, loaded up the car and hit the road by 6:15 am. Here comes the rain. And more rain.

It had decreased to a spinkle when we arrived in Hermann; however, as we drove to the start area, we quickly realized how detrimental it was not to bring trainers. We parked, got in line for numbers/chips, pinned numbers, said quick hellos to friends as they rolled in. By that time, we had 15 minutes to warm up, on wet roads. Fortunately the rain had stopped. The sun even came out for a minute. We warmed up around town, including of course, hills. Some how, the only time I got my heart rate above zone 3 was on one of many climbs off the main drag. Actually, I think it was a descent (Steep, with a stop sign and traffic at the bottom). White knuckling!

Although the start was delayed by 15 minutes, that time passed quickly. We continued to roll around near the start and began to shed layers of clothing we realized we wouldn't need. It wasn't until I lined up that I realized we had a REAL start house, complete with a RAMP!
Phil went off :30 before me. As he climbed the step to the start house, I heard the announcer comment about him. I laughed when he stated "Phil got up this morning and thought this would be a great day for a bike race." Little did he know what Phil really thought about this day! I was laughing and shaking my head, which lead the announcer to comment that I was laughing at Phil! Laughing is a good way to start a race.

I was up next. I was leaning so far to the left, I thought I was going to roll off the side of the start house ramp when the holder let me go. After I made it out of the start house, the time trial was relatively uneventful for me. It always takes me a second to realize that I should be racing, as I usually start like I'm going on a group ride. I got to the top of the bridge, realized I hadn't started my computer or hr monitor, got them started then tucked into a more aero position (at least attempted to). I also couldn't figure out where to put myself on the road. The shoulder was quickly disappearing and the rumble strip getting closer. To the right- rocks and clutter, to the left, traffic. I stuck right and dodged rocks til the first turn.
Fortunately, some one very fast passed me before the turn and I could watch his wheels through the turn. I followed his lead and turned without losing too much speed.

Right at that point when I start to get tired, heart rate spikes a little and I wonder WHY?, the head-wind took it's cue. Argh. I watched as my heart rate crept up and my speed dropped. I tried to change gears, spin more, spin less but it still hurt, I was still going slower and my heart rate did not cooperate.
Yay! Turn around point..... Oh, wait... I had to clip out to avoid crashing myself!
I stood and charged on. To my delight, there was a nice tail wind.
I enjoyed that wind. Picked up speed, decreased HR. YAY!
Solid left turn on the return. I gave a quick yell of thanks to the Police Officer directing traffic. Still feeling good. Cue wind, Cue bridge... ARGH. Repeat:increase HR, decrease speed. I must have just crested the hill when the picture was snapped (see above).And I then I was Done - and from what I could tell, I was under 30 minutes.

I found Phil on the cool down and we agreed to ride over to check out the crit course. We found some barriers and no parking signs and figured we were on course. I knew there was a hill so we climbed the first one we saw. Man, it sucked. I was using the whole road. When I reached the top, I thought "There is NO WAY I am doing this in a crit!" I could barely climb it once.
Soon, we realized we were backwards on the course. Yay!....Damn!.... We have to go DOWN that hill. It was poor pavement, with holes marked with spray paint, patches, loose stuff and STEEP!

Back to the car with a couple of hours to kill. Quick rest/nap. Bite to eat, something to drink. Radar to watch. A small rain cloud was overhead. It looked innocent and should blow through. A major storm was north/west of us but not a concern for us.
That little cloud stalled right over us. It rained from 11 -12:15. Our race was to start at 12:30 with the Jrs at 12. Those poor Juniors. I could see some of them warming up on the course in the rain.
I was warm and dry, in my car, getting ready to bail on the crit all together.

Peer pressure got me out of the car as the rain slowed to a sprinkle. Peer pressure got me on the bike, off the bike to take off my tights, back on and riding. (Thanks Jamie, Teresa, Alice, Cory, Allison). We did a lap to check it out. The hill climb wasn't fun. The descent was wet/scary. We climbed back to the start line.
As the Jrs went off, I stood around and made jokes to keep the anxiety down. One by one, up come the Mercy women. Yikes! This was truely a women's open. We were racing against some of the strongest women in the Midwest. It was bad enough that we had to race this challenging course, with wet roads! At least the rain had stopped.

Next thing I know, we were at the start line. 33 women signed up. I think 25 started. I positioned myself in the middle, back row to stay out of the way. Buddy talked, whistle blew and we were off. I heard a tangle to my left and right. Those in front of me were making their way quickly up the road. I instinctively went with them and soon realized that this was not really where I wanted to be. My goals for this race were to play it safe, have fun, finish (in that order). I slowed and let those behind me pass.
Down the hill we go. Some how, it wasn't as scary. Then again, I let the main group go down first. There were still a few behind be but we were spread out enough.
One of the PRC girls passed me at the bottom with such speed that I seriously though she was lapping me! No, she had gotten behind in the start tangle.

Somewhere in the non-hilly part, I found Cory. She already sounded none-to-happy, so we agreed to stick together, have fun. We stayed in sight of the pack up the first climb. Cory climbed strong and got a couple of bike lengths away from me. I got back to her at the top and we relaxed, breathed! Then, sprinkles, then rain! ARGH! We talked about bailing, but kept rolling.
Around we go again. Climb... clearly Cory has been working on hills. She was doing great! Up at the top, relax,breath then PSSSSSSS! Cory got a flat! I yelled to her to get a wheel and rode on.
When I got around to the hill again, there was Cory on the side doing cheerleader moves! I asked her what happened to the wheel and she let me know she didn't have the spares. Ok, on my own.
Around, SMILE, climb, SMILE, descend, SMILE, repeat.
SMILE, talk to volunteers, have fun.

Soon, Sidney passed me. She had quite a break. As quick as she came, she was gone.
At the top of the climb, I saw Rhiannon. I think she's quitting so I encouraged her to finish with me. She tells me she has a flat. ARGH again. Down the hill I go.
I am actually getting better at doing it with speed/less breaking and see my computer hit 35 mph.
I think I was on climb 5. Amy S lapped me. I catch up to her at the top of the climb. We realize that it's the last lap. Sidney is at the bottom of the hill and those lucky enough to be behind her are done. WE have to go around ONE MORE TIME.
I keep hoping that Sidney will catch up to me, ride with me on her cool down lap. That would have been cool. Rhiannon is still at the top, waiting for a bike so she can finish.
Last descent was fast, fun. Last climb was slower than ever. I savored it. Almost pulled my front wheel off the ground, I was going so slow.
Smiled again. Done.

I figured I was in last place from the first lap. I was ok with that. There's a time to be last and I was going to do it gracefully.
I thought everyone passed me. Little did I know that there were two more behind me, and Rhiannon finished on her sister's bike. I placed 20th out of 23. Smile again.

Sometimes you jump in with both feet and go. Other times you have to break down the challenges and tackle them one at a time.
I didn't fight to stay with the pack. That would be my goal for any other crit- just try to stay on, try to hold out the attacks, try to sprint at the finish. I am sure that is the way my friends raced. And they did well. They reached those goals.
I managed to stay safe, have fun and finish. It was a good day.

Phil raced the Men's 4/5. The rain stayed away for his race. He placed better than he thought, but not as well as he had hoped. 14th out of 20 finishers (+19 who did not start!)

I didn't do the Road Race on Sunday. I had planned to go into work to make a little time-and-a-half $$, but our computers were down. It rained all day and I ate all day. I am very very proud of my friends who did the road race (Cory, Jamie, Teresa, Alice, Lisa Q, Both Susans, Gina, Todd and Tim). I think it was a good weekend for all. We all have something to be proud of.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Ride 2009

MK, Phil and I headed out at 8am, to do a new loop of familiar roads. MK and I donned Bunny ears on our lids in honor of the big bunny himself.
Despite the hilly and windy ride - Bellevue, Clayton west, Warson north, Baur/Schuetz to Adie loop and back in via Midland (we added a neighborhood climb from the Trailnet Weds ride for good measure) we had a good time.
We got lots of friendly honks, waves and happy Easter wishes. The best one was the cheers from a group of people leaving a church on Lockwood. After about 30 miles, we ended at First Watch to have Breakfast with David and AJ. Should have been a good breakfast, but the manager made it clear he does not like bikes/cyclists. Still, the food was good.
The 3 miles to home were windy and colder. That front with all the rain is on it's way.

So, I am obviously not a good Catholic. I didn't go to church on Christmas and now, not Easter either.
MK, Phil and I had a discussion as we rolled out about what church and God means to us.
Without going into too much, we basically all agreed that it is a personal relationship with God. We are all comfortable with that relationship and do our best to display God's love to one another on a daily basis - not just Christmas and Easter.
Still, I am grateful for this day - what it signifies. I don't need to prove it to anyone but God, and he doesn't even require me to PROVE it. (don't believe me, see for yourself: Ephesian 2:8)

Christos Anesti!

(and in the words of the guy on Greenwood as I rode past, "Girl, get me my eggs!")