Monday, April 7, 2014

St Patrick's Day Crit {Women 1-3}

Racing twice in a day isn't something I've done often. When registering, the 3/4 and 1-3 races were far enough apart that I felt I'd have a good chance to recover and at least survive the longer 55 min second race. What I didn't realize was that 5 hours is too much time and 1:40pm was supposed to be my nap time, not game time. But alas, I paid the extra $10, I may as well roll myself to the start line.

We failed at bringing a cooler and snacks or a proper lunch. Typical. And the temps were increasing from the mornings nice cool race. Things were ramping up for a hot and windy second go. Luckily I won a box of Clif bars in a prime from the earlier race and luckily Conrad gave me three bottles of water before he left.

I got on the trainer twice before the race. I didn't push over 100 watts either time. I was tired and unmotivated. We had the Moment tent and I laid in the grass for a couple of races. I ingested all caffeine in sight 15 min before the race in hopes of a jolt to the system. A coke, motivator, and a gu were dumped in the very empty tank and a prayer for survival. I even stole some ice from the food truck cooler and shoved some down the front and back of my long-sleeve black skinsuit and in my single bottle of APX.

Small-ish field of 35 compared to Murietta circuit and especially with the technique-easy, wide course. I chatted it up with a Parlee/Herbalife pro rider from Australia before the race and knew I should stay with her.

It started off slow. And really, stayed that way for the entire race. It was similar to the women's 3/4 field and half assed attacks, but this time it was the wind reeling riders back in. Primes were happening but I was happy to sit in and observe the race. I was all over the field, finding new wheels to follow. During one of the surges, I begged myself for 3 laps to drink, as my mouth was turning to parchment paper.

The only thing to note during the race was about half way through. We were heading into the only real corner on the course and I was near the back and towards the outside of the bunch. There were probably 4 girls wide in front of me, I was in between two others, and had people behind me. Everyone took the corner and held their lines except the girl on her hoods in front of me. She sat up and pointed her bike out of the corner towards the far side and started veering left. Right into my front wheel.

Shouting commenced and I was forced to follow her ridiculous line wide, while also grabbing both brakes somewhat hard. And in a corner, that's not optimal. I somehow managed to keep the bike upright and with some choice words,  and decent handling skills, we all made it out unscathed. Something about "put your hands in the drops" made me feel like a cop and I made the mental note to avoid her wheel.

Fast forward through a pretty boring business park crit to the last lap. I did my usual find a ride to the front and caught a dragon lady wheel. Three girls went on a flier, only to get pushed backwards as we hit the windy backside. This made for a squirrelly bunch as the group was absorbing the girls through the middle. I had visions of getting boxed in, and saw myself slipping backwards as the group was going around the slowing riders. The move had to be made. Two of the lead out girls were moving back quickly in a trajectory towards me, and had a decent gap between them. I surged up the middle, taking what was my most controversial line all day, all while holding my breath. I felt like the doors of the alien ship from Independence Day were closing in and I was going full gas to make it through. Must go faster, must go faster.

Big breath when it stuck and I was back making my way forward going into the final corner. A couple more moves before the corner and I unleashed the sprint which moved me up a couple more spots and I managed 4th, just narrowly missing 3rd at the line.

I was glad to be done and happy to have made it to the end, considering the pre-race energy levels. I won a K-edge Garmin mount and basked in the glory while watching Kyle not only toe the line, but survive the Pro123 field. Boss.

St Patrick's Day weekend {women 3/4 race}

Kyle and I had a nice almost stat cation weekend a couple weeks ago. We headed to Newport Beach on Saturday night and had a great time out on the town and at the hotel pools.

Sunday we woke up and left a bit late {someone needed coffee} but made it there with 40 min before my race. I know that's not really enough time for a proper warmup, but the extra sleep {and coffee} was necessary and I had a feeling it wasn't going to be a fast race after looking at the course.

The plan was to go for primes as well as set up the attack/lead out train for Kim with 2 to go.

As expected the race was a blob field full of squirly corners and half assed "attacks" that had no chance of staying away. The course is long enough and the field was small enough {35 ladies} that I almost felt myself doing circles around it. Found Deanna as they rang the bell for the first prime and sat on her wheel. When no one attacked I told her to go for it and I kept sitting in. She won the prime {knee warmers}. Took a pull after as we strung out the field and got back in the pack. A couple laps later I again found Deanna near the front so I moved up to her wheel and kinda expected the same thing to happen.  Someone learned something from our shenanigans and went around us and I didn't jump soon enough. She {La Grange} took the prime and I got on her wheel hoping she'd work with me as we had a gap but that plan was foiled and I dropped her.  Led into the next lap but knew it wasn't going to stick, so I sat up. Whoever "bridged" my gap approached me and then sat on my wheel. Can someone please explain how to pass a solo break to this field? Christ! Please go around me, as I am no longer in service for a hot second.

I hate the swerving crap and looky-loo's - but that's racing when no one wants to do work. Sat back in, found Deanna and got back on her wheel for the next prime where I actually stood and came around. Kept the effort consistent and she warned me of someone coming on my left. I won the prime {box of clif bars} and kept the pace high. Deanna yelled at me to get off the front and I look over and she's coming on the inside also on the front. I giggled and got back in the field.

Going for a prime

At some point Deanna got the next prime {$20 bike shop gift cert} as I went to the back in search of Kim. Lynne notified me we all made it through the crash {crash?! What happened? Apparently shoulders were bumping and one girl overreacted and bounced the other way into a rear wheel and took herself and her teammate out. I have no idea as I was on the front when it happened.}

I found Kim who seemed distressed that she couldn't move up to find us but I let her know I was there for her rescue and we were going to sit in. Stay on my wheel. Stay patient. At 3 to go we'll search for Deanna. Which we did. She was unfortunately on the inside and we were on the outside. I made a move/shift to the right and I'm not sure if Kim was able to. I sat on Deanna's wheel to let her know we were there. And to sit in/conserve energy. 2 laps was too long to make a move.

She was siting 4th-ish wheel and moved to the front for the last lap where we got some amazing press sitting 1, 2, 3 {Deanna, me, Lynne}. Deanna is going strong and I motion to Lynne I'm going on the 2nd corner. {hoping Kim is behind her}. I made my sacrifice pull which was probably a bit too enthusiastic and I buried my head. As the back straight was ending I looked back and gapped the field! What?! That's not the plan! Now what do I do?! I decided I was committed and put in another surge, stayed consistent into the last corner and tried to put in another sprint. To no avail. So I sat up and held my line hoping to see a teammate pass me so I wouldn't take their points. Kim finished 15? And I was right behind her. Deanna and Lynne made some amazing sacrifices and I think with a little reorganization and practice we can actually make something work.

Getting 3 of 4 primes was an excellent win for the day. As was staying out of the crashes and feeling like we were controlling the race. Average speed was just above 23 and on a flat course with almost no wind {for the am races} it was a bit sketchy. The lack of any real corners {they were more like bends in the road} and the wide course made it hard to get away or force people into good lines. I thrive on technical corners and was sadly disappointed with the course. Event organizers were great. Excited to race as a team again.