Monday, April 23, 2007

"Windy" Wente Vineyards RR & Crit

Wente really reminded me of how much FUN this bike racing thing is. Both courses were a blast (literally and figuratively!) to ride, both courses doled out challenges and lessons, and both courses provided us all the opportunity to ride like a team!

The RR: Anne and I tried a new technique for this race, it's called "warming up." We actually worked up a sweat and did some crazy sets of ME's or LT's or something... I think this helped but in the end, I just didn't have the juice (or rather forgot to drink enough of it during the race and ended up cramping and hitting a wall I couldn't overcome). Anne definitely gets the bad-ass, tough-as-nails trophy for getting back on the bike after being knocked down and sprinting for the finish despite serious injuries. Awesome! Amy was a freaken bullet down those technical descents- I could barely hold her wheel even though I outweigh her by at least two 8 year old boys... And Lisa climbed like she was riding the flats- smooth and fast! Despite missing the top 10, I think we all rode really well in a really hard race; and for me it was great just not riding alone like in Ward's and Snelling (ugh). Having a teammate's wheel to sit on, forming a great little pace line to divide and conquer that wind, friends to pass the grueling time with- that was the best! But I am seriously looking into a way to put a motor on my bike...

The Crit: Waking up the day after the RR was hard. I was sore. I was tired. And it wasn't raining (damnit!). This meant I had better get my butt up and race the crit. I got up. I made scones. I ate them. In bed. With a latte. Bad idea. Scones are crumbly..
It was a lonely drive to Livermore and I was missing Anne, hoping she was OK. It was windy and cool at registration and I was definitely not feeling it, but then I saw Lisa walking up in her jazzy Touchstone puffy jacket smiling and ready to race! This helped me kick it in gear. Teammates are the best! We watched the women 1/2/3 go round and round and saw them fighting one seriously evil head wind (legs groan here). Then we set up our trainers and started the warm up (legs really start groaning here). But we both saw our heart rates come up pretty quick (good news!). After debating at length clothing options, food choices, warm up times, etc. we had to bolt to the bathrooms and then to the course (where does the time go??) to make our race. Once we were in it I felt better but not great. There was the usual sketchy racers, the usual bullys, the scary 12 yr. old, but the course was by far the funnest I have been on! Lots of curvy turns, smooth pavement, and not really any braking on the corners! I was really wishing I had fresh legs because it was a perfect course for me and I was dying to tear it up but knew I didn't have the stamina to stay away... On the backside there were quite a few attacks, especially by the velo bellas- they had at least 4 girls including Marian Hunting (great rider who got 3rd in the RR). I stuck to their wheels like glue though, 'cause I was determined to be in any break that tried to get away or die trying. At one point I was pushed off a wheel and shut out. I couldn't find any safety from the wind so I went to the front, right before the turn into a major headwind- the worst place to be. I was up there all alone in a roaring head wind, burning through the last of my matches, and then up pops Lisa! Right in front of me and I take her wheel. It was just what I needed to get my legs back. She pulled me through the wind tunnel and saved me from certain defeat! We set a nice pace and let the pack come back up around us on the next corner but stayed with the front girls. From there things got a bit fuzzy and I didn't see Lisa so I thought she may have done herself in for me, but coming around the corner and into the last lap there she was on my left! I was soo stoked to see her. And, she looked great! Relaxed, smooth, and in it! Whoohoo! I was starting to think it was gonna be a good day! Coming in to the sprint finish I was in a pretty good position, and was looking for wheels to jump on and stay protected. I had a line and was going for it and out of nowhere some chick hits my left arm and hand several times, pushing me to the right! WTF?! That was not bumping, that was pushing! Hitting! It threw me off and rattled me but I tried to dig in and go for the finish. Sixth! And Lisa came in right behind me! Top ten! How cool is that?! It was a really fun day and a great race. No crashes and great results for two very tired Touchies! All I have left to say is stay tuned for the next crit- Lisa is racing super solid and smart and can take it. I'll be there to support!

1 comment:

Jess said...

Photo credit above: Jerry Ridge