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

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wheels Over Wildwood - My First Win!!

Wow! Wheels over Wildwood definitely held up to it's acronym. It started with the Time Trial on Saturday. True to my ability, I had a mediocre placement. I was ecstatic with my finishing time, having knocked 30 seconds or so off of last year's time. Still, I placed 19/24 with a time of 34:26 (on a 20k course - 12.4 miles).
After a reward of Bread Company for breakfast -Alice and I headed to the crit course to check it out. Man, it looked hard and felt hard - even just on our "test" laps. I stayed a while to watch Phil and the guys put hay bales all over the place. The course had some tricky down hill, right turn into a climb corners that needed MUCHO hay! After that, I was cooked and Phil and I took a nice long nap when we got home. Oh, before I left the course, I volunteered myself to help out at Registration....only to discover I was wanted there by 6am!!

5 am came all too soon on the alarm clock. After a splash of coffee and last minute prep, we were off. We arrived at 6am on the nose and I was ready to volunteer. Phil got right down to pre-riding the course for his 7:30....make that 7:45 start. They were 15 minutes late, so in effort to stay on time, the officials cut Phil's race down to 15 minutes! Phil finished 7/15 but expressed a little disdain over his finish. He looked good whenever I saw him and looked like he was setting up his teammate for a good finish position. 8 of the guys in his race, including Phil, finished within a second of one another!

So my race got underway at 9:47am. There were 10 of us at the start line (preceded by 9 in the women's open). It was a good group of ladies, with some very strong talent in the bunch and a few unknowns. There was a little controversy, for me, at the start when a friend of a new racer was giving her tips including cornering on the inside of a slower rider. Yikes! Since it was my safety at stake out there too, I spoke up and I am sure stepped on his toes a little. I didn't discourage her from taking his advice but suggested that she first watch how the other ladies cornered before blindly trusting that she could move up on the inside of a turn unscathed. (She ended up doing pretty well for herself, especially for her first race).

Most of the race is a blur. I know Suzanne and I took the lead from the neutral roll out. It was nice being first in the turns. Suzanne continued to pull as we moved into lap two and I expressed my concern for her. There was some movement and it seemed everyone worked, at least a little. I stayed up front and tried to keep a good position. I felt like I was there or very nearby to cover attacks. I think I initiated the first attack - on the second climb. There was a lot of breaking in the turn and the field split up a little. I had no glue... they caught me pretty quickly. I think I may have held them off until the top of the climb. Boy, they let me stay out there to work a little more though - pretty smart of them but sucked for me. I moved back in to a nice place and around we went. The prime lap was called. Alice and I were at the front and I started to sprint for it. I knew it was tickets to the Magic House - a prime perfect for Suzanne or Cristel, but it didn't seem like anyone was going for it at first. Suzanne seemed to come out of nowhere, from the right and got that prime that was rightfully hers! It was a beautiful sprint.

Around some more we go. At some point, we weren't sure of our remaining laps - the lap counter was being used for the concurrent Women's open race. Someone finally yelled that we had 3 to go. Yay. It seemed there were a few more attacks. Dessa pulled hard up both hills and on the second I thought she was going to walk off the front. We reeled her back in and continued on. With one to go, Lauren (Dogfish) attacked just after turn 1! Into the down hill turn. I jumped on her wheel and made it known that I caught her with a quiet "cough". She slowed a little (or so it seemed) and we were all back together.
There was another attack on hill two but we all covered before it got too far. Later, Kube told me that it caught her by surprise and was just enough to send her off the back for the last bit. Fortunately, she missed a little bobble in the last roundabout section. Apparently, someone tried to cut inside on the turn and sent the rider there into me. I had room to go right and forward. There was a pretty good touch of brakes but everyone stayed upright. I saw the world open up. Ahead there were three (I think) charging for the line. I added some gears and gave it my all. I caught them and began to pass. I thought the line would never come and just before it did, I inched ahead. AND I MEAN INCHED! I won by fractions of a second.
Cristel (Ghisallo) came in second and Lauren (Dogfish) third. Cat - on her first race! - got 4th. Alice (My Hub teammate) was 5th. Dessa -representin' Team Rev!- got 6th in her first crit too. Suzanne (Veloforce) was 7th, Kate (Ghisallo) was 8th, Gina (Big Shark) 9th and Kube (Dogfish) 10th.

I missed Kate, who couldn't race due to Baby BR, and Cory,who couldn't race due to lil Sassy. I was so happy to see them at the end. It was amazing getting to stand on the podium. Though I realized that the one thing that mattes the most is my friends. I had done this with no one there to share in my victory, it would never have carried the same weight. None of this is worthwhile without my friends! (and Phil, of course!!xo). Maybe some day I'll get that fierce competitive focus where I don't care about those I race with and only focus on winning......Nah!! Well, maybe a little bit of snarkiness is necessary.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Hi Mom! I think you are the only one who reads this!

I do this more to journaling my experiences, to look back on, than to publicize them. If you happen to read this and you aren't my mother, hello to you to.

Any way.... I did my first Tues Night Worlds race last night. TNW are weekly criterium "practice" races. There are three races - A, B and C. C races are for beginners, like me. The A & B races have been going on for 2 months. The C races started last night.
Phil did his first TNW last night too. He was in the C race too. I didn't see him after the first lap, until he lapped me with 3 or 4 to go. He did really well in his first race.
I, on the other hand, didn't. I got dropped pretty hard on the first lap. It's rough because I managed to hang with the pack for the most part last year. Most of the ladies I raced with last year are moving to Cat 3, or are at least continuing to hang with the Cat 4 pack this year. I have spent every crit, road race, circuit race off the back and usually alone. I am not sure what's going on. Well, I think I can guess. I am trying to "train" but I don't really have a plan. I know the basics, but I'm mostly doing Team Revolution Group rides, or Maplewood Group rides or racing. I am not doing intervals, I am not doing hill repeats, I am not doing sprint work - at least not planned. I get all of those things in the various rides/races.

Also, I am not lifting weights. I think this was something that really helped me in 2007. I just haven't gotten back into a routine at the gym. I am riding my bike too much! And for that, I get dropped off the back.

This was true for me last night. Off the back I went. Off the back I stayed. Kate came up right after I got dropped. She promptly passed me on the climb and invited me to grab her wheel. I did, for about 10 seconds and she was off like she shot out of a cannon. I couldn't stay with her. I watched her bridge up to a guy. They worked together for a bit, then she passed him and dropped him too. I eventually bridged to this guy. I quickly realized why she passed him. I passed him too, but he kept coming back up to me. He was strong on the climb, but tuckered out near the top. He'd rest on the flat, into the turn (braking!) and then pick it up again on the climb. I'll bet we did a cat/mouse thing for 4 laps. I was getting pretty irritated. I just wanted to drop him! I kept my sights on Kate, but she kept up her speed and got further away.
With 3-4 to go, Phil passed me. He had two guys on his wheel. It took me a second, but I quickly realized one of those guys was the guy I was fighting against. I let the anger motivate me and caught his wheel. I sat there til he tuckered out again at the top and passed him - AGAIN! I got away from him again on the last lap. I thought I had a good advantage going into the last turn. I picked up speed then took off out of there, trying to stay ahead on the climb. He caught me at the top of the climb - Turn 3. Then I saw him drop down and prepare to sprint. There was no way I was going to let this guy go. I grabbed some gears and off we went toward the line. We stayed neck in neck but I think he got me by about 1/4 of a wheel. Next time.....

Overall, it was a good race. Chris commented that it doesn't usually get so strung out. I am not sure if that was meant to encourage me or what. Phil, who got 6th or 7th by his own estimate, said his average was 22.6! I didn't even look at my computer. I felt great on the ride home. That's what happens when you have an intense 20 minute race!

Til next week....