Saturday, February 27, 2016

Not Walburg

Walburg has been replaced with Apache Road Race and I would not have been able to tell the difference except that registration was through a giant TP. The course would be the same rolling hills with brutal winds.

I met Kim and Kate at RCM headquarters and Ken drove us an hour to the race in the sprinter van. We discussed different possible tactics and plans. Winds are gusting but it's not cold outside and the sun is out. No base layers or arm warmers! yesssssss!!!!

In staging I didn't recognize a good portion of the women lined up but did see a few other OGs (original ganstas) from years past. Damn I am getting too old for this. We started out on the two lap course (total 58 miles) pretty mellow with ATC's squad up front controlling the pace. There were 5 of us RCM girls and maybe 5 ATC girls, the rest were singles or doubles... After about 5 miles of piddling along we started attacking. And counter attacking. Nothing was successful at establishing a break. A few people had popped off the back the first lap but the majority of us were still on for the second lap. We had a long crosswind section where I tried to mark an ATC girl and burned too many matches. As I decided to go back and find some shelter that ATC girl slipped up the road and I tried to shut it down. That was my last match. Kim tried to as well. We turned a corner into the tail wind and some girls up front charged. The backend of the pack exploded. I was part of the shrapnel, along with Kim. I tried to chase back on but heard my teammate, Kim, calling from behind so I sat up and waited for her to catch up. Then together we collected a few other girls and tried to form an organized rotation with hopes of regaining contact with the lead group. Unfortunately we couldn't organize as the 2 Colavita girls would surge and gutter the rest of us. After a bit of that, I rolled away with a team Mexico girl. We had no idea the pack had further disintegrated up the road. We just quietly took turns pulling and recovering. We didn't catch anyone but finished not far behind.

First road race of the season and not too pleased. I was so glad 2 of my teammates made it up the road, Kate taking 5th and Sammi 9th after a flat. Kim was not far behind me and Celina chose to shut it down after the first lap and save it all for Pace Bend.

I am whopped!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Houston Grand Criterium

How Grand

The Coldspring Road Race left Catie and I waiting for what seemed like 4 hours (in all reality it was probably closer to two hours) for results/payout. In the hot sun. We eventually made our way to Houston and devoured the best sandwich of my life in Rice Town at Local. Then with full bellies, we checked into the DoubleTree hotel where Kim joined us! It has been a LONG time since the three of us had been together so after catching up we headed to the BRC (Big Red Cock) for dinner.

Dinner at BRC Kim, me, Catie 
We made it back to the hotel in time to watch the Spurs lose their final game. :-(  It was about that time that my allergies started to flare up. My runny nose quickly turned into a clogged and runny nose - the kind where you shove a tissue up each nostril and don't care who points and laughs. I searched my bags for Benadryl but no luck. I had only an emergency Zyrtec. No relief. Ugh!!! The three of us get to share one king size bed since no one wanted the nasty fold out couch mattress. However, we deployed the mattress in the corner of the room just incase an exile was warranted.
We were such a mess: Catie was snoring louder than a lumber jack and I was sniffling and covered in snotty tissues, and Kim has trouble sleeping with all of her ankle pain. Kim found a nice White Noise App on her phone to drown out the snoring and nursed me through the night. By 8am we were all up and my face was swollen and my nose was red and raw. It was now that Catie offered up the beautiful pink Benadryl pill I had dreamed of ALL night. It reminded me of dumb and dumber when Harry offers up his extra gloves at the end of a freezing ride.
"You had these gloves the whole time!?!?"
But I was desperate and too grateful to bring that up or get mad.  The next few hours we went through the normal pre-race routine of checking out and eating breakfast, etc.

RCM was extra lucky that Ken provided the sprinter van for the team gathering place. Seven RCM ladies were registered for the open race and loaded into the van for the team meeting. Kim laid out the plan; she has been an essential tool in our strategy and success at the end of the races. We had the finishing plan, the order of the lead out train and the location on the course when it would happen. We all dispersed to finish our own pre race routines (warming up, stretching, other shenanigans)
Kim gathering the heard.

Ready, Steady, GO! Kriten-Kirsten, Kate, Ash, Rhe, Nadia, Leila and I take off. No time for lolly gagging, Meredith takes off, pushing our heart rates to the red line.
 Most of the next 45ish minutes are a blur. There are different attacks but nothing will stick. There was a stud from Columbia who races for Dallas Racing and has been doing well on the national circuit who snagged all the merchandise primes. Us RCM girls stayed active and very present in the front of the race. We seemed to be marking our target girls well. Rhe, Nadia, and Leila were sacrificing themselves, covering some attacks and we tried to counter a few.
The time ticked on and lap cards started to show up. Five laps to go! Wait, wasn't there a big cash prime still left to give out?!
The race is almost over. Three to go and the bell rings. $900 prime on the line. We had discussed our finish but not really gotten much into a definite plan for the prime. I decided to stand by and go for it if possible. We came around the wide turn and just under the bridge (~250M) the pace increased. I went for it - as hard as I could go. No one was next to me. For a brief second I thought it was ours! But then I saw Columbia out of the corner of my eye zip past me to pip me for the $900. Frick! Her cadence was twice what mine was and I left her a nice little ally protected from the wind to come around me. I didn't believe that I did until the video provided as evidence (still stinging a week later). But couldn't cry over it, I had to recover for the lead out. I started to get nervous because the pack was tight and there didn't seem to be much moving around. Kate, being the savy pro that she is, appeared in front of me like a magic trick. And Kirsten behind me. Ash was boxed in further back and still winded from sprinting for the prime also. We were at a half lap and lined up three deep. Kate took us! She jumped before the double turn and we hit the straight away. She carried us to her drop point but I yelled for her to keep going. "FASTER!!!!" I yelled. She said she was sprinting. I wasn't quite ready to go around but hoped my legs wouldn't fail. I went around her just past the bridge and heard Kirsten tell me she was there. YES! I was hugging the right side of the road and opened up enough to let Kirsten around.

The Lead out. KATE, me, KRITEN!
 She went at the perfect time and no one could come around! Perfect execution! I could hear Kim at the finish line screaming. FLAWLESS! The #hitsquad were the stars of the day. Perfect team work.

Kate, Nadia, Kim, Rhe, Leila, Ash, me, Kirsten
RCM Racing #hitsquad,  +1 extra Catie girl
Best team ever

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pace Bend RR 2015

First Road Race of the season! After cyclocross ended in January and a hiding out for almost three months, the last month not riding much at all, I decided to expose myself and race. I was nervous for a number of reasons but I was excited to be back on my bike, ready to race. The weather was very uncharacteristic for Pace Bend Road Race, but I was there and dressed and ready to battle the drizzle and cold. With out Kim, Kate, and Rhe it didn't feel quite the same. But I did have Leila and Kirsten there to play.

The race was uneventful, a slim few moves were made and nothing stuck. The pace was kept pretty steady, not much soft pedaling, but nothing that was too strung out for a long amount of time. 8 laps went by pretty quick. Around 2 to go the pace got a little punchy and a few girls fell victim off the back. The sprint came early when Kat took off with about 2k to go. We all lined up behind her and she sat up at the 1k mark and then MSU picked it up. The road curved left, I bounced over the turtles in the middle of the road. The pace was high, my legs didn't have what was needed to stay on a wheel or sprint around. I saw people come around me. I couldn't react.  I came across 18th.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cyclocross National Non-Championship race

Zilker Park in Austin Texas hosted Cyclocross Nationals this year! I was happy it was so close. The competition was the toughest this year and i was grateful because it made me a lot stronger. Forecasted weather for the weekend was cold and rainy but I didn't fret since it could change at the last second, we do live in Texas after all...

The course was fabulous! I got to pre ride the day before and the off camber sections weren't too hard and the rocky boulders that served as a natural stair case were uneven and fun. There was a section up top that was flat and fast. I was nervous when I lined up on Wednesday for the non championship race because the field size was one of the largest I have ever raced against. I ended up pretty close to the front on the starting grid (2nd or 3rd row) and the start was a long paved section that kicked up before you took a left into the grass. I had a great start and hit the grass top 5. We pulled away from the rest of the field. Two girls went off the front and left me back with a junior phenom and another. One of the girls in front had a mechanical so she was out of the race. 

The other girl remained ahead by herself for the whole race. Me and the junior lost our third girl and battled the rest of the race for second. I stayed ahead until the last runup where she came around me like I was standing still. She kept the gap to the finish line where she took 2nd and I took 3rd. I was excited to do that well in a race with that many strong girls from all over the country. I am excited for the Masters Championship race on Friday and feel like I will do well.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cross is Here: Austin Six Shooter

So I was pretty bummed to have missed the very first cyclocross race of the season because I committed to a Crossfit competition for the fire department. Because the Texas calendar is full of races almost every weekend I have to accept that I will not be able to make every race. So I head up to Austin Saturday afternoon to meet up with Jeff and Doug and get ready for Sunday's race.

I am excited and nervous when I pull into the parking lot as I realize that I have only practiced cyclocross two or three times since last season. But hey, it is riding a bike, right??? So I get dressed to pre ride and the ground is covered in glistening dew, making it a little slick and dirty. The course seems pretty cut and dry until I find the off camber turny section, my least favorite of my weaknesses. I suck it up and try to make a pass at it. Yard sale!!! I was on my belly, hands out, face first, sliding downhill. Once I came to a stop I got up as quick as I could, hoping no one would see, but there was a small crowd of onlookers ready to heckle. I see my garmin on the ground, swoop it up and shove it into my sports bra (the attachment had ripped off my stem in the slide out), and take off to the car. Enough of this pre-riding bull shit. Don't get me wrong, I think pre riding is very important, but my pride was compromised….

At the line, ready to start behind the 3/4 men, I notice there are quite a few more ladies than last year. Sammie looked like she was ready for business. There was another girl from out of state that seemed to be a possible threat. There were call ups and I ended up on the second row, just behind Sammie. I have always struggled with starts, having issues clipping in and floundering around, but I am determined to fix that this year. On the gun I push down on the pedal and then it happens, I don't clip my other foot in. I desperately move my foot around on the pedal, searching for the click and by the time I am secured into both pedals there are already 5 girls ahead of me. Ugh! I quickly make a pass around all but two and am able to make my way around Sammie just in time for the technical section where I had my pre-ride yard sale. I make a clean pass and almost catch the leader (out of town girl) when I cross the side walk and go over my bars. I must have hit a rock. I hit the ground so hard I swear the Earth shook. I get up quickly and remount my bike as Sammie passes me. Luckily my chain was on and my tires were not flat. PRESS ON! I get out of the saddle to chase and my sore arms buckle and immediately sit me back down into the saddle. I had a Fire Department Crossfit competition from hell on Saturday and my muscles were toast. I have to work a lap to catch Sammie back but the out of town chick is out of sight. Gone. Okay, battling for second now. Sammie and I stayed together until the last lap. I think she lost her chain, she told me. I was glad it didn't come down to a sprint! 
Yes, that's a 99 pack of beer… cyclocross PRIZES

After the finish I notice that my knee was torn up from the crash and Kim cleaned me up and bandaged me. Lucky to have her on my side. :-)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fort Hood State Road Race (Age Based)

Afternoon races are tricky. All the women race together just after 1:00 PM but are scored separately according to different age brackets. This year I moved up to the 35+ group, am I really getting this old!? Hard to believe. Kim is in the age group above me and Kate decided mountain biking was a better Sunday choice (such a wise lady).  My legs felt like lead weights after yesterday's two laps into hell, but I felt fortunate enough that we were only being "forced" to comple one single lap of monsterous hills.

As we lined up to start the race I noticed the top three girls from the day before were not attending. Perhaps the lack of payout turned them away, as the age based championships are not as prestigious as the skill based championship. With or without them the course would be challenging enough. I only recognize a handful of the ladies lined up so I knew it could be tricky keeping track of who was in which race.

The start was tame and we kept a meager pace the first parts of the loop. It became obvious quickly that only a select few were willing to work while there others were content at the back coasting along at not even a fat burning pace. Shortly after the second of the two big climbs we began some friendly attacking to see if we could shake off the weaker girls. Unfortunately everyone was fit enough to hang on so it would come down to a field sprint. We turned down the final stretch and an ATC firey red headed beauty took off. I jumped on her wheel because I know she is super strong and won the cat 3 skill race. She didn't commit and sat up. I fidgeted a little, not wanting to make the same mistake I made yesterday, and hit my brakes also. Then she decided to try again and I remained on her wheel. Again, she hesitated and I lost my patience. ZOOM! Time to goooooo, another freakin ~1k-ish sprint drag race. I saw a shadow on my wheel, I figured it was Solymar again since she loved my wheel. I  could not let her around today. Phew! I was able to hold them off. I crossd the finish line and no one had come around. So glad it was only one lap! Kim snagged her age group win, GOLD!!! Such a great weekend for RIVER CITY MARKET RACING! David did spectacular in his race and Celina clinched the texas cup win! Super power couple!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fort Hood State Road Race (Skill Based)

Try to find the silver lining when you do not find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Competitors get nervous before a race, it is normal. Greg Lemond use to get so nervous before an event that he would vomit. Mostly I just end up with repeat visits to the restroom but today it was worse. I was in tears, curled up on the bed, wondering why I do this to myself. Because I LOVE it! I love racing, I love riding, I love competing. I just get pre race jitters, and this was a State Championship road race with 3500 feet of climbing (I am not one of those skinny climbing mountain goats). There is a big payout and some very fast ladies preregistered.
Fort Hood military base. Got to see all kinds of cool stuff...
The night before I had received an email from a veteran racer in San Antonio, whom I have a great deal of respect for, that gave me something to think about. He suggested that I take off from the gun and hope the girls will stare at me dumbfounded and not chase until it was too late. Since I am a good solo rider and not as great on climbs or flusters of bursty attacks I thought it just might work. A Gamble, a roll of the dice. I discuss this plan with Kim and Kate. We decide we have nothing to loose.

Getting ready

At the start line it is hot and all the big players are present- except for Kat Hunter who was sitting out because she had been sick all week. We were lucky to snag Doug and Beau to feed us halfway through. I didn't enjoy racing with an extra water bottle in my jersey pocket at HHH, it rubbed my spine raw.  Today's race is 66 miles, a two lap race. As soon as the official blew the whistle I took off. Lauren was immediately on my wheel. Mandy toted the herd up to us about a mile into the race. WE were ALL together. The gamble did not work. Crap. Plan B: conserve as many "matches" as possible. Do not put my nose in the wind. Follow Lauren. We shortly arrive at the first monster hill where a small group of 6-ish grabs a gap. The downhill is forgiving and we all regroup. Phew.  We stay together until the next significant hill where I am sitting on Lauren's wheel and helplessly watch a small gap grow between her back wheel and my front wheel. It grows from 1 inch to 7. Then a foot, then a bike length. I turn myself inside out but cannot do much as I watch a small group of 4 crest the hill, just out of reach. Lauren, Mandy, Meredith, and Sammie. They remained in sight for some time while 5 of us organized a chase group. Kate and I were both there. The moto official would give us time checks every once and a while, and it was continually growing. Half way through the lead group was at 4 minutes ahead but Sammie had fallen off. The boys successfully got Kate, Sarah, and me fed but failed to collect our discharged water bottles. Kate would not be amused with this because her water bottles must come in a set of two. This meant she would have an orphan camel bak bottle if her discharged bottle was not found and collected. Tragedy averted though, as I was able to locate the lost bottle on Sunday morning. :-)

My feet were on fire! We still have another lap?!?! This is bullshit. I must suck it up because all I have to do now is finish to collect my freakin $50 payout. We all seem to be in somewhat the same boat so we trudge on. After the first big hill on lap two we see Sammie and collect her. So 3 remain up the road, their gap still growing, and we now have 6 in the chase group (2 RCM, 2 ATC, 2 randoms). There are no attacks until the last mile. Typical race slows and we look at each other, waiting for someone else to lead out. Kate attacks with Solymar practically licking her back wheel. The speed is up  and as soon as we catch those two I go and Solymar quickly attaches herself to me with Sammie also in tow. We have a gap on the other three and I know I cannot hold it to the line (we are still just under 1k),  I also don't want to regroup, so I try to shake them off and am unsuccessful. They come around me and I am a sitting duck. Sammie takes the sprint for 4th and I get 6th. Kate is right behind me for 7th. Kim is there at the finish line with a big smile, looking all cute. She worked plan A with us at the beginning and called it at one lap to have a little for the Age RR Sunday.

Kate and I collected some $$ and a little satisfaction for tackling a hard course. Kim was circling around in the parking lot on her bike in her favorite green wedges. The parking lot was soft dirt, and her front wheel turned causing her to have to catch herself so she wouldn't hit the deck. In doing this, her foot slid off the pedal and the teeth on her big ring carved up her heel! OUCH!!!! YCMTSU! I love you Kim!
"…but these are my favorite…"