Sunday, March 8, 2009

Merco Grand Prix and Foothills Road Race

The Grand Prix was pretty uneventful. It was a big field and a steady pace. No drama, no breaks, some unenticing primes for Powerbars... It came down to a field sprint in the end. I wasn't in terrible position going into the last corner, but I didn't get going soon enough. Some of those girls have a fast short sprint, but I regretted not going sooner. Crits are still new to me, but it was a good learning experience. I got 7th, but wished I had worked harder. Roaring Mouse got 2nd and 3rd (Marissa Axel and Beverly Chaney) and Marley Smith, a cat 4 racer won!

Heather and I got to race together for the first time and the first 30 miles were a perfect pace to chat and talk about our plans for the season. We also hung out with our additional teamate for the day, Cody Graf from Wells Fargo. We considered making a break after the first lap, but the hills weren't that big, and the relaxing pace and shelter from the cool drizzle was too cozy to leave. In the end the pace picked up in the end and we moved up on the rough road. The little bumps at the end strung the group out a bit, and I snagged 3rd and Heather got 11th. Cody got 2nd and Bergen Watterson from Roaring Mouse won! It was fun standing on the podium with such nice riders!

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!

Mt. San Bruno Hill Climb

Scott and I woke up early on New Year’s Day to ride to our favorite hill, Mt San Bruno. It was chilly, but we road to the start, which was a great warm up for our first race of the year. The course starts at the bottom of Guadalupe Canyon Road and I had the privilege of starting seconds after the Pro/1/2 men with the rest of the Women 1/2/3. Just after we started the juniors came storming by us with their young testosterone. Then other strong men pulled around us and I got a nice pat from Scott coming by. I had a slow start… I don’t know whether it was the cold, the buzz kill when people fly by you off the start, or that it didn’t really feel like a race since we do this hill all the time. I caught up to the wheel of Birgit Cory, a nice Hill & Co rider I had been chatting with at the start. The two of us took turns pulling until we got in the park. The park is my favorite part and I stood up as we entered and went on to chase as many people as I could see. It got really foggy as we went up, but I kept picking off people one by one. I heard some nice cheers at the top even though I couldn’t see anyone. No one was that close to me at the finish (at least no that I could see) unlike it Scott's finish. He went on to drop all the guys in this photo. Scott finished 16th and I got 4th. It was weird to see so many people on top of the mountain… it’s usually so desolate up there. We went on to do an epic ride in the hills south of San Francisco. It was a great way to start the day and the New Year and I put this on my list of races to do forever…

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sea Otter

This was my first Sea Otter. I had heard it was a bit of a zoo but decided to check it out first hand. Luckily, I didn't have to go it alone as Jess and Amy (also her first SO) were likewise lured by a circuit race on smooth, fast pavement. We got there a couple hours before the start of our race and the wind was whipping pretty good. The crowds, the wind, the dust (the drive!) all were a bit much for me, but we managed to navigate the crowds and get ourselves set up for our race. It was a decent size field with a few recognizable faces but lots of girls we didn't know. The start was pretty easy and I got my legs going and tried to check out the course as best as possible on the first go-round. I really liked this course! I liked the climb, the descent and the fun banked corners! A Dewar's girl was on the front and it seemed like we would wind things up a notch but then she decided to go off the front. I started to chase and close her down but changed my mind, wanting to save my legs and thinking we'd catch her working together. Big mistake. We never saw her again... So it was a race for second. I wanted to go faster and faster and had to keep reeling myself back in because being on the front in a windy race does not equal a good result. So I slowed down but no one would come up and take a turn except another rider from femme fetal. We switched off and tried to get a little break going with one of her teammates and Amy, but we couldn't get organized. On what I thought was the second to last lap I started thinking about going for it on the climb and taking Amy with me, and then a race car pulls up and tells us this is it! We have junior boys in the mix, I can't tell who is who, so the femme fatal girl and I take off and round the corner ahead of the pack. I realized I had to try to set myself up for a sprint so got on her wheel, but my legs were twitching and I couldn't stay put (too much adrenaline!) so I came out and put the hammer down- too far from the finish. As a result I petered out toward the line and I ended up getting taken at the line by Kim Ladd from Code 3 (good racing!). Amy and Jess had great results- 7th and 15th! I don't think I'll do SO again- the race organizers stopped our race once to let juniors go by and then cut our race short. It was annoying to say the least. Oh and the worst part- they couldn't figure out the results for about five hours. We sat around in the wind and dust and cold waiting for my stupid podium finish. And all I got was some Cytomax and a medal...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ronde von Brisbeen Circuit Race

I'm catching up on race reports as I lay in bed after a fun weekend of racing. The RvB circuit race was so close by that Vanessa and I couldn't resist. Plus, it was only 50 minutes, so how much suffering could it cause? It was a fun course - downhill on one side, uphill on the other, easy corners, 1.7 miles loop on good roads. It was the debut of my new orange NAC bike. I was nervous to ride it because I didn't want to crash it on day 3, but I must say I was impressed with the field and felt comfortable. There was a momentary wheel rub on the uphill that caused me to unclip for a second, but I recovered and no one freaked out, so it was all good. The race didn't seem that fast and it was nice to recover every few minutes on the descent. On the hill, I could hear people breathing and I was psyched because usually I only hear myself breathing. I felt fit, though not fresh. In the end, I just tried staying on the wheel of whoever was in the lead. It worked for a while until someone lost their chain. I pulled around and someone whizzed by me - she won and I spun my legs out to grab 2nd and Vanessa was right there in 5th place. We missed the podium photos conveniently, but still came home with some cash!


It was a last minute decision to do Copper, but I called Markham at 7am and tagged along to get a ride with the Masters Men. I was super curious about the course and it was enough motivation to get me to the start line. I had heard crazy stories about the climb, the road surface and the descent, so I figured I'd love it and I did.

It was warm out and after my usual 10 minute warm-up, we stood at the start line for a half hour for a classic velo promo delay. I was in the front for once, which was nice and actually talked to people, which I usually avoid. We began and the course was indeed bumpy. I was worried I would lose my water bottles, but they stayed in there. Unfortunately, I couldn't take my hands off the bars long enough to get a drink until mile I-don't-even-know. Within 2 miles the climb began and I was just grabbing wheels and staying towards the front. I got to the top with 5 others and I looked back and there was no one. I was at my max for a while, but I always forget to look back, so I never know when people fall off. All I knew is that by mile 6, we were out of sight. The we hit some flats for a while and everyone worked hard and rotated through. They wanted to get away, so we didn't let up. I was working way harder than I wanted to, but I didn't have much choice, they were on a mission and we got away and stayed away. I anxiously awaited the descent... I was looking for a break from being anaerobic. It finally came and it was a blast. The road wasn't as bad as everyone said, but your body does feel tingly after the descent for sure. Then it was more flats and rollers with a short steep hill to come to the start/finish. Again, they were pushing the pace and I was getting toasty. Jess was at the start cheering like crazy, which was awesome! I felt pretty good recovering on the short break of smooth pavement. Lap 2, we hit the hill again and it was good until it wasn't. I got though the steep stuff, but as it flattened out, I started thinking it was time to go at my own pace if I ever wanted to walk again. So, I fell off at the end of the hill and got a break, breathed deeply, felt ok about it and then buried my head for 14 miles to the finish. It wasn't very windy, but when you're by yourself for that long, you feel it. I can't complain, though, I sort of liked it. I rarely ride alone and I was happy to be with myself. The descent was certainly more enjoyable alone and even in the flats I caught some old guys. I never let up and crossed the finish line with a happy 6th place. A minute later, 3 girls came in together and I was psyched to have not been caught by them. They had been working together the whole time and if the race had been another mile I might not have stayed away. This race is a keeper... it made my top 5 list for sure! It also shook my headset loose, so beware...