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.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

awesome write up -- way to stay in there -- the sky is the limit. I am so proud of you and super glad you finished and won! way to go Steph.