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

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hub Women's Team Training Camp

The weekend of March 6 was our Women's Team Training Camp in Hermann, MO. At around 9am, Alice, Katie and I met at Kate's house and piled into two vehicles. I lead out, with the understanding that both drivers (myself and Kate) knew we were headed down Hwy 44 to Hwy 100, and once in Hermann, I could follow the specific directions to Ashley's parent's home.
We quickly fell into a driving and talking rhythm and never noticed that we passed our exit. It was only when I noticed signs that we were approaching CUBA that I realized something was not right! Oops. We had driven some 30 miles past our exit!

After a quick call to Ashley, we were given the choice to turn around and head back East on 44, or take a twisty, curvy Hwy 19 to Hermann. I don't hurry well down curvy roads, so I opted to head back on 44.
OK, so what should have taken a little more than an hour and a half, took slightly longer! After that, we arrived in Hermann without incident.

Thanks to an amazing team weekend skills and drills plan from Pro racer extraordinaire, Carrie Cash, we had two great days of rides planned. We quickly suited up, commenting on just how much stuff five women brought for two days of riding! You would have thought we were moving in!

Our first day of riding took us on a quick warm up downtown and then straight up hwy 19! Yikes! That first hill is a doozy! We attempted to work on staying together but somehow I was off the back near the top of the climb. Mountain goats, Ashley and Katie sailed up with ease!

We continued up hills and practiced some team building tactics. Once we turned back onto hwy 100, we quieted down and settled into a single pace line. Our first flat of the weekend came a couple miles down 100. Kate's rear wheel was victim but thanks to a genuine innovations CO2 we were back on the road in no time.

The down hill into town was incredibly fun, but I know we had committed to climb Gutenburg hill, and it was looming just around the corner. With none of my team mates contesting, I took the sprint finish downtown, then we regrouped and made our way to Ole Gutenburg. I was out of gears before the 1/2 way point. I knew I was in trouble when I had to swerve to stay upright. Again, Katie and Ashley climbed with ease. Kate followed close behind. Alice was behind me but as she passed, I nearly took her out with a swerve to the left. It was everything I could do to keep that front wheel from bouncing up. Eventually I made it to the top. We regrouped again and headed back to Ashley's parent's house, where we promptly decided that the day was way too nice to stop there. We opted to head toward the TT route, but took the flats to the West instead. We cruised along at 20 mph and chatted easily. The tailwind fooled us into complacency and we pushed a little further down the road, wanting to "reach the end" at Blufftown before turning around.

Wow! Holy-Headwind. Well, it was a good time to work on rotating pace lines!
By the time we arrived at Ashley's house we were very tired and very hungry. Dinner and bedtime couldn't come soon enough.

We loaded up in Kate and Ashley's vehicles (My Beetle sits too low to navigate the road to the "ground" where the cabin sits) and headed just a couple miles south of town. A quick turn off the highway yielded a gravel road loaded with pot-holes filled with water from the recent rain/snow melt. Ashley navigated this 1/4 mile winding road like she knew each and every one of those holes. Soon we were parked in front of a little cabin on a little pond. Ashley's parent's beautiful new home is in the process of being built across the pond.

The cabin was furnished with a queen bed, bunk beds and a sofa, all the necessary amenities to clean up and cook up. Kate got to work on the steaks. Alice popped the rosemary herbed potatoes into the oven. I started on the salad, only to soon realize I had forgotten the fresh baguette in my car in town. Boy, I was really really wanting that bread. Once we also realized my purse was waiting in the car with that bread (and my glasses/contact solution) and possibly the steak knives, Ashley and I headed back to town to retrieve it. We got back just in time to sit down to dinner.

Dinner was as amazing as our ride. Steaks, potatoes, spinach/raspberry/walnut salad, HUGE bowl of mixed fruit, bread. We ate and ate and talked and grew quiet as our bellies were full and sleep grew heavy on our minds. We readied for bed. Ashley on the sofa, Alice on the top bunk, Katie on the bottom bunk and Kate and I in the Queen bed, with hopes the cabin kitty Chester would snuggle in with us (we missed our own kitties!). When Ashley turned out the light, I realized how far from home I was! It was complete darkness.

The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast, as delicious as the dinner the night before. We readied ourselves for another ride and some more team drills. After dropping the vehicles and stuff off at Ashley's house in town, we headed out to the TT course. The headwind from Saturday had shifted, so we enjoyed a tail wind was we rode East. We chatted, worked our plan from Carrie, developed a race strategy we will call "The Hedge" and rode on to the turn around point. Yikes! Headwind time again. Another good opportunity to practice drafting and rotating. We worked on getting in tighter formation and then practiced attacks, reeling in, etc. The headwind and previous days miles had worn us down and after about 15 miles, we were ready to head back home. We did get to enjoy a little more tail wind on the way back and this made for some nice impromptu sprints and playfulness on the bike. A great wrap up to a great weekend of rides.

After a quick lunch in town. We loaded into the cars and headed back to St Louis. The drive home was MUCH faster and uneventful. My legs felt tired but strong and I felt a sense of increased camaraderie with my team. We have a strong team, filled with amazing women.

Look out St Louis, Here comes the Hedge!

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