Monday, July 7, 2014

MBGP & Upgrading

My last race as a category 3.

Solo 2 lap TT for two primes.
Pain face after getting caught from said breakaway. 
The wining move. Orange girl attacked at the last kicker, so I had no choice. 
I hammered down the hill and took the last corner perfectly, coming 
around with enough time before the line. There it is. My race report in pics. 
{thanks for the shots!}

Finish line video by Kyle

Prime hunting with Deanna and podium shots with my Parlee. The winner's
jersey made by Capo was an awesome touch by the race organizers! And of
course, APX was my drink of choice for this short, hot race. {35min}

I've been struggling with how to fit in, and I realize by trying to do that, I'm only lying to myself about where I can go. Let's face it, I've never fit in, and as a women in her 30s, it's not looking like I'm going to anytime soon. As a female athlete, I think we have plenty of opportunities to second guess ourselves, doubt our abilities, and hold ourselves back. That's a lot of internal struggles, matched with the external pressures and fierce competition, and it's no wonder our sport lacks participation numbers. It takes a certain type of person to be a bike racer, and for once I'm willing to admit that I have it. The courage to race.

I've submitted my upgrade and pending USAC approval, I'll be a Category 2 racer. 

If you read my blog or see my Instagram or Facebook pics it's no surprise that I've had a little success this season. Upgrading wasn't one of my goals, but I suppose that's what has to happen after accumulating all the other goals. I'm leaving Cat 3 without a state championship jersey, which is something that was a goal. I'm leaving my teammates and won't have the ability to help them upgrade. And I'm indebted to them for dragging me to the line and helping me rack up these points. I'm leaving the category that often had two opportunities to race; gaining invaluable experience hanging on to the pro fields, and being at the forefront of "racing" and tactics in the category 3/4 fields. I'm leaving the category that afforded me the experience of racing 6 times in 3 days at the 805 Criterium Weekend. I'm leaving the comfort of the known.

I know no one really takes USAC rankings seriously, but it's pretty cool to say I'm going out on top.
So why upgrade? I'm 3 points away from a mandatory upgrade and if anyone calls me a sandbagger again, I may hurt someone. So, I'll take that aggression out in my training and racing. All joking aside, I shouldn't hold myself back from becoming better. My teammate Greg said it best "Be excited, Rachel, if just not to undermine the gravity of the achievement for the rest of us whom upgrade points don't come quite as easily. Congrats! First Moment to two." So I've been dabbling with the big girl racing, but now it's time to show myself that I belong. To show myself how far I've come since my first criterium a week after my first Ironman in 2010. 

after my first Ironman and a week later, just before my first crit.

And that's how it's always been. I've dabbled in the two sports, cycling and triathlon, since living in San Diego. There has been focused training blocks towards one or the other, but most of the time, for me, it's about getting out there and racing. My current preparations for Tahoe 70.3 are going well. Manhattan Beach Grand Prix was sandwiched between SDIT and Carlsbad Triathlon this coming weekend. There's always been something about toeing the line that motivates me much more than the daily grind. The race day adrenaline can't be duplicated outside of competition and that's what fuels my fire to train. I'm a competitive person by nature. I've honed my racing skills and craft of winning, and I'm ready for my next challenge. I didn't push for an upgrade, because I wanted to learn from the best and I knew I had to personally "feel like a cat 2 racer" before actually becoming one. There are a lot of riders who put upgrading first, but I think my patience will pay off. I want to be a smart, safe rider, someone who has others looking for my wheel. So here it goes.

Expect the best for yourself, and nothing less.

{I have my husband to thank for always encouraging and supporting me throughout our journey. He's a big part of the reason I've experienced success and have kept my head high, through controversy and failures. His love {and bell ringing} is second to none. My sherpa, my teammate, my best friend and the love of my life. #willsdynasty}


Julie Dunkle said...

who cares about fitting in... you are a freaking stud! congrats my friend

Amy Firth said...

Rach, I always love reading your blog. I am sure a congratulations on your upgrade will be needed later this week. Having the patience to hone your skills as a racer is a virtue many people lack but having those skills are critical to improving and success in the higher categories. You will never be alone in the 2's - come find your SBW friends :)

The Hippie Triathlete said...

Great updates! And congrats on upgrading. See you in Tahoe...I'll be there for work.