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

Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 Race Report Numero Uno

Race #1 is in the books.

Froze Toes 2010. Sunday February 28.
Temps were mid 30's, topping out in the low 40s. Sunny. Very un-Froze Toes like.
In fact, my toes were only mildly uncomfortable.

I carpooled to Columbia with Kate and Kubinak. The constant chatter was actually a good distraction. I have a tendency to get into my head and over think things.
On the way to Kate's at 8am, I listened to Liz Phair... I carried this with me:
"It took an hour, maybe a day. but once I really listened, the noise just fell a way."

By 10:30 we were in Columbia. In a flurry with everyone else, we registered, pinned numbers, dressed and engaged in typical pre-race conversation. I "sized up" my competition... Molly Vetter-Smith, Gina Champion, Jacqueline Denny, Chris Roettger, Cindi Inman, Teresa Sedlacek, Maureen Maciekowicz. Ouch! Fortunately, I had my tried and true teammate Alice to dive into our first Cat 3 race together. Molly humored us by saying "I haven't been on my bike in a week!" (she also share an excellent tip of putting the wind vest under my jersey.That way if I needed to remove it last minute, I didn't need to re-pin anything! Thanks Molly!)

Kate and Ashley were there to represent the Hub Women in the Four's race. As it was Ashley's First Race (!) I wanted to make sure to give her some pre-race tips and cheer her on. My teammate on another team, Suzanne J was also there in Team Rev colors. These three ended up giving each other a great sprint finish, with Kate taking the Sprint win and 7th overall!

Before leaving for our warm up, Carrie took Alice and me aside to give us a pre-race pep talk. She advised us to be the eye and ears of the race. To soak it all in, using all our senses (later, when we road through a strong "farm" smell, I realized how literal this advice was!). Watch who goes where, who shifts when, who drinks and eats, who attacks and who responds. This directive turned out to be the best thing for me. It forced me out of my head again and made me attend to those around me and the race itself.

After some instruction from Aero, our race was underway. Chris took the lead and Molly and Cindi were close by. It was clear that they were the strongest team (the only other "Team" was me and Alice) and were setting the tone of the race. They organized the first attack and watched Maureen closely when she moved to the front for an attack of her own.

There were a few more attacks, from Chris, Molly or Maureen. I noticed that Jacqueline was quick to respond, usually followed by Gina. If I was careful not to block Gina, she'd jump on Jacqueline's wheel and then I could follow, in a much better position to respond and recover! The one thing I was frustrated by was my position in the wind. I wanted to be on the inside of the road but that was the direction of the wind for the first 1/3 of the race. Each time I would look around to where I should be, I found Teresa in that exact spot. I quickly dubbed her "VISA" (she's everywhere I want to be! - ok, that was dumber than saying "they don't make those boxes square anymore.")

The first BIG attack came after the first turn. We jumped to catch back on but only did for a minute. Pretty soon, Chris, Molly and Maureen were getting smaller and smaller in our sights. We found, disorganized/chaotically to catch but never did. Chases were instigated by Gina or Jacqueline but they'd reach their peak and back off. Alice, Teresa and I would come around, accelerate and then drop again when we tired. We reached speeds of 30 mph but weren't getting any closer.

Pretty soon we fell into a pseudo circular pace line. It would work for a few rotations but then become disorganized again. After several minutes of watching this occur, I finally decided to speak up and give it some direction to get things running like clock-work. With just a few directives, we were rotating well. Accelerating to about 27-28 mph on the Left and 24-25 as we "rested" on the right.

BIKE RACING IS A BEAUTIFUL THING! especially when it's a bunch of women working together in a gorgeous paceline! Flowing like water down the road.

I was feeling great (except for a little nag of a cramp in my left calf that I would just chose to ignore!) I assumed that everyone else was feeling no pain too, until Alice commented that she wasn't sure how much longer she could hang on.
Despite this comment, Alice continued to hang on, as did the other five of us, in our rotating, forward moving, circle.

It wasn't until we hit the rollers that the paceline started to fall apart again. Soon Jacqueline's pulls were shortening, as she was taking a lot longer to move from the back to the front (leaving me at the front to pull up a few hills!). I didn't notice that Alice and Cindi were off the back until Teresa commented that we were down to four.

Gina, Teresa, Jacqueline and I continued to work together through those rollers. Everyone seemed to be hurting a little, at different points. It wasn't until we turned onto Z that I realized some of us seemed to be working harder than others. Actually, I didn't notice til Teresa said something. But I was really liking that rotation.

One little attack from Jacqueline, but Teresa and I got her. T commented that we were down to three but I was peeved at having to cover that attack, so I just wanted to sit on and let her pull for a bit. We all got together and just before 1k, Teresa attacked. Gina didn't have the legs to go so Jacqueline and I were the only two to respond. At 200 M we ramped up for our sprint...

Warning.. I have gone over this part over and over and still wonder what I did wrong. I have gone from being observer to back deep in the depths of my insecure brain.
Basically, Teresa and I started to sprint. As the road turned, we continued on our courses. I was right on the yellow line. Teresa to the right of me. Next thing I know, Jacqueline is between us and we are leaning in to sandwich her. I could hear Teresa yell something about moving over. For several seconds, I could not move. My left side did not want to do any more work. I just prayed Jacqueline didn't go anywhere fast. Once Teresa and I disengaged from her, she just continued that path straight through for 4th place. It was down to Teresa and me. I didn't, COULDN'T stand for the sprint. My left leg was a huge cramp.
Somehow, I got 5th, by millimeters, I'm sure.
I keep wondering if I should have held my ground. Jacqueline wouldn't have been able to move up between us....Or should I have moved further left, since we had the full road for the sprint at 200 M. I can keep going over it, but it'll never change the outcome.

All in all, I had a good first Cat 3 race for the season. I watched, listened, assisted, worked, pulled, sat in and finished with the chase group. Goals met and season off to a good start.

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