Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lethbridge stage race

A quick post since the race is already two weeks old...and I had a crappy end to the weekend.

Drove down with Andy Sat morning in gorgeous weather to the hill climb. I knew I had to get my new cassette (yes, I now have two cassettes. So pro!)on and deal with my powertap wheel having the low-gear (13-26) cassette, but I managed to fart around long enough (basically hang out with all the people that had they ducks in a row already) that my warm-up was a last minute panic, and luckily Alex was kind enough to throw my cassette on for me. Anyway, after the stressing, I got to the line in time (I think that's 3 and 3 for getting to the line in time now), spun like a mofo for the first flat section, before getting in a groove for the hill.

I often finish TTs thinking "did I really push it, or was there more to give" and when hill climbs are usually decided by a few seconds, it's easy to doubt yourself. But once I crossed the line I was hyperventilating and wheezing like I had to do the hill climb under water, and my heart rate was 4 beats off max, so I think that was all I had to give.

I think I would have had a shot at winning, except that, well a) I'm not that fast..., but b) it was about half as steep as Edworthy, and not really a hill-climber's hill per se. I was stoked to get 3rd. And lucky as hell that I beat A-Train by 1 second.

That afternoon was the MTB race, but since the only single track I've ever ridden was two years ago, and I don't own a mountain bike, I didn't think I was going to do it. But Trev was awesome enough to lend me his wicked bike, since I was racing with the Novices and he was racing Expert later on. Started off feeling good, crushed the first hill (compared to the 15 or so other people in the field, but was still gauging my comfort level at the top and was riding at the top in about 3rd. Trev and co were there, and yelling at me to pass...so I passed, and hit the first downhill in first. Woohoo! Traversing the hills at the bottom (think 45 degree hill with a 6 inch wide horizontal trail cutting across it) was not going so well for me, but the women's race slowed me down to a coordinated speed for the most part. But when was up to me I was often coming out of the track and have to unclip a pedal to stay upright, then taking forever to get clipped back in, since they weren't my pedals or shoes...thanks for the loan, Tom! I was considering riding in road shoes, since Trev thought I could do the entire course without unclipping, but since I ended up running half of it, it was lucky I had MTB shoes!

Anyway, that's how my race went, with one dude that was clearly a better bike handler, but potentially not as fit, passing me a couple of times. He'd just re-passed me with about half a lap to go, so I was taking a few (more) risks and bombing down the hills, when it all came unglued and I bailed down the hill (luckily in the grass) with the bike using me for cushioning. Back on the bike, battle battle, unclip for the friggen uphill again, and then I had no chance. But a solid second place anyway.

Turns out riding a somewhat new sport, on a bike set up for someone 6 inches shorter, may not have been the best recovery for the following day's road race. And not being able to handle a mountain bike wasn't good either. After much icing and vascillating, I rode in the following day's race (somehow with another last minute mechancial issue that required panicking and last-minute assistance). Felt great in the first 30km, and was in a breakaway with Alex and a couple of others, when he reminded me it was going to be a long race and we should get back in the pack. Luckily he was there, I would have been dropped for sure otherwise - most hills had me crying for mercy, and although I stuck with the lead pack for the entire race, my spirit was crushed and I couldn't summon the willpower for the pack sprint at the end. Lame!

Not a good first cat 3 RR.

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