Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pine Flat Road Race

I won my first race, sort of... This is my favorite race of the year and it comes at the very beginning of the season. It is gorgeous and long and pretty chill until the hill at which point the race really starts and the hard climb is followed by a fun descent and then a fairytale-like road to the hill finish. This year it was chilly! There was snow on the edge of the road towards the end and I wore a long sleeve jersey AND a warm vest! The field was tiny... there were 3 other cat 3s, which was 3 more than what signed up. I gave them all a hard time at the start line for not signing up and inducing anxiety that I might have driven 4 hours to do a 62 mile time trial in arctic conditions. They combined our race with the two lonely cat 2s since no one objected. Luckily one of the cat 2 girls took some long pulls. She clearly was the strongest of the group. I was amazed how short some of the others' pulls were given how long we had to go and how few people we had, but nonetheless, it was a steady pace for most of it. As soon as we hit those bumps before the hill, the group got even smaller. I didn't even see them go. Once we hit the bottom of the hill the 2 cat 2s were in front of me, but not together and I could see one cat 3 behind me. I went as hard as I could, knowing that that was where it counted. I comfortably dropped the girl behind me, which was a relief, and I worked hard to catch one of the cat 2s. I caught her at the very top of the hill and then caught my breath on the way down. The leader must of sat up because the two of us caught her and she was wondering if we wanted to wait for anyone else. I said I'd rather keep going and took my pull. I had some weird shifting issue after my pull and heard my wheel rub my break (which it had been doing intermittently throughout the race). After last year's bike breakage on this course, I got a little nervous and slowed down a bit. The two girls pulled away from me in the flats before I knew it and I wanted to kick myself. I never caught them, although I did see one of them on that last hill finish. I would have liked to hit that last hill with her, but I was still happy to win my category. As it turned out, the hub on my rear wheel was cracked, but I was psyched that it didn't leave me stranded!

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