Monday, May 14, 2007

Berkeley Hills Road Race Report

What a relief when last Saturday rolled around! I had been thinking all week of the BHRR, all the in's and out's, dips and bumps of the Bears loop. I train on this loop. Anne and Vanessa won the Pinole TTT for WCat4 on this course. I could visualize exactly when the burn was going to set in (well, you never really can visualize that exactly). And now it was finally going to get underway. I was stoked to see Vanessa and Anne at registration. At this point of the season, we've done enough races to know that the next two hours were going to be tough. Unfortunately, we were missing our comrades Jess and Amy, but knew that they were with us in spirit - or in the case of Jess, cheering us on at the Bears. The race got underway at a decent pace but things started to change right after the first turn on to Castro Ranch. That first hill on Castro Ranch may be short - but there is something steep about it. After that little hill, the pace picked up. We rode in bursts to Mama Bear. The decisive break was made by a lead group at the mid-way point of Mama Bear. Vanessa and I had the lead group in site and raced to get back on. We were joined by Kim from EMC and a couple of gals from NorCal and Pegasus. We fought hard to catch up. I heard friends on the sidelines saying in encouragement "Looking good!" I thought - wait a minute, I have chocolate Gu and snot all over my face, how can I look good? But anyways, I digress.
Coming down Pumphouse for the first time we were fighting hard to catch back on. At probably THE most technically worst spot possible on this course - at the twisty river bed crossing just before coming back up the little hill to make a right on San Pablo for our second lap - we were passed by a men's group, forced to slow down, and then....Kim's chain dropped. What a bummer!! Amidst all the riders and the chaos, Vanessa and I were able to get with the NorCal woman and the rider from Pegasus. Approaching the Bears the final round, I was feeling the burn in my legs bad.

And now I have to say its amazing how collected and poised Vanessa is in moments like these when you need strong words of encouragement the most. Just when I didn't think I had it in me to kick it in more, Vanessa's words of support made me want to ride faster. Thanks Vanessa. By the time we got to Papa Bear, I think both of us were seriously stoked to be so close to the finish line - to see it in sight. We crossed the line and Anne was just behind us!

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