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…"

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pedal Rio Medina Gravel Grinder

I absolutely love gravel grinders: long, grueling, death-march rides where shear bull strength and determination outweigh strategy. The longer the course the better. I classify myself as a diesel, with plenty of fat reserves to maintain energy for extended periods of time.

Over a year ago I traveled to Kansas to race in the Dirty Kanza 200 mile gravel grinder and this year I had fun with my team during the Castell Grinder. I was happy to hear that a good friend of mine was putting together a benefit Gravel Grinder ride for a boy scout troop less than an hour drive from my house! Well the flyer said "ride" but we all know when there is a start/finish line and someone says "Go!" - it is a RACE!

I made sure to trade shifts at work so I was able to experience this torture on a mix of dirt and pavement. Jeff and I arrived in Rio Medina less than an hour before start time and I nervously loaded up the course on my Garmin. I was trying to hide my limp from a stair climbing workout that trashed my calves a few days before. There were some fast people here! I mean seriously FAST! And I was the only girl doing the full 67 miles. Gulp. I ride over to Andy and make small talk where he informs me that his secret weapon is a frozen coconut water that he will consume halfway through the ride once it has melted. "This isn't my first rodeo", he tells me. I quickly reassess my hydration situation once I see he is also wearing a camel bak… I have three water bottles (two on my bike and one in my jersey pocket). There will be 2 water stops along the course but both require you to get off your bike which will cost time. I don't plan on stopping.

Ready, set , GO! Doug and Juan assume the pulling roles for the first few miles until we hit the first gravel section. I am uncomfortable but know (hope?) I will settle in. My calves are on fire. At mile four we come across the first cattle guard and I ride directly over a cactus. Thankfully my tires are stone so I don't go flat, but it was enough my mess with me mentally. I see JT come up beside me and hear the unmistakable sound of a flat.  Someone in the pack says "one down". Warren is riding next to me and we both know the monster hill is coming up. This is the hill that I predicted would split the pack. There it was, at mile 10. As soon as the hill came into sight a fluster of activity happened and the pace increased. I split my gut to try and keep up but did not make the selection as the strongest left us behind.  My eyes were crossed but I guess there were about 7 up the road at this point. I resolved to chase and just hope the lead group would attrition. My favorite riding buddies, Nathan and Doug, and myself found each other and started working to make it up to the leaders who remained in sight. We quickly saw one of the leaders standing roadside with a flat. 6 left. After a few miles we were joined by a group of three that had been chasing us (Jack, John, and David). We started a nice rotation but Jack must have done too much work bridging and he was gone. Then we lost John to a mechanical. David would stay with us.
Soon we saw Warren standing on the side of the road, with a flat. 5 left to catch! The lead group was loosing horsepower! And we could still see them! The first water stop came quick and we sailed past it. No time to loose. It was starting to hurt but we kept pushing. I started to take longer pulls and hoped it wouldn't cost me too much. We saw someone else on the side with a mechanical…WILL BLACK! It's on now! With new energy I kept motoring and didn't realize our group got smaller. Doug was gone. Maybe he stopped to help Will. Nathan, David and I got to the the last water stop and there was talk about stopping. We could not afford to stop - I saw someone from the lead group that had fallen off. It was Tim. We rode up beside him and he informed us there were just 3 left (Andy, Rob, and Jeff). I could see them! We had the 6 mile rolling climb left and then another 10-ish in a headwind. Once on the climb I noticed Andy was not doing well and had fallen off. At this time I did not know he had dropped his prized coconut water on the route. After passing him I noticed that I was alone. Then I saw Rob. He looked back and saw me coming, and I just settled in to a pace that I could sustain. Rob stayed with me and we finished the climb together. He told me only Jeff was up the road and I strained to see him- a tiny little spec up the road. He was too far for me to catch and unless he cracked, there was no way I could get to him. So now I focused on not getting caught because I knew somewhere behind me were stronger riders (Will, Warren, JT…) that would be chasing after they fixed their flats.

Jeff finished first, alone, off the front. Man he's riding strong. I came in a minute or two behind him with Rob. I was so ready for a nap but was so happy. We averaged over 20 miles per hour! The boy scouts were there grilling hamburgers and handing out cokes. Sanaa did the shorter grinder and was the first to finish that!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

HHH Sunday Crit

After the RR yesterday, we were so tired that we got lost on the spin back to the hotel and added an extra 10 miles onto our ride. It was HOT! Then we had to shower and go to the mandatory awards ceremony for pictures. It felt like we were there forever. Once back at our lovely HoJo hotel we were able to put our feet up and recover.

Guess who's feet are who's 
Sunday morning came quick and we began to pack and get ready for the last day of racing. Kate and Kim spent some time figuring out the points situation for the omnium while my nervous stomach spent some time in the bathroom. LOVE my teammates! They figured out that in order for us to win overall omnium, I had to finish right behind Christina (assuming she wins the crit) and collect some hot spot points. So the goal of the race was for me to mark Christina. I am not good at marking people but promised Kim I would do my absolute best. At the starting line I messed with Christina a little mentally, letting her know that I was aware of the points and she was going to have to do a lot of work. From the gun she tried to get away and I was with her.  I thought I was with her but my lovely Kim was right next to me "reminding me" by sternly saying "ONE INCH". This meant my front wheel needed to be almost attached to Christina's rear wheel. I was letting a little more space than one inch apparently. This continued on, lap after lap, for a while. Like a parrot, "One inch, one inch, ONE INCH, NOT SEVEN!" UGH!!!!! The only way to quiet the stern reminders was to shove my nose up her ass!~ :-O
Kim would remind me when I was not marking properly… ;-)

Christina just has such a snappy jump and it takes me a short while to work back up to her. But I wasn't letting her get away. Kate flatted just before the hot spot lap and was rolling out of the pit when the bell rang. HOT SPOT! Christina went and I stayed right with her. We got a gap on the field but she sat up, knowing that if me and her got away, I would certainly win the omnium. The pack caught us. She saw me reach for my water and she attacked again. I caught her. Kim and Kate were controlling the race and I was focused on marking….my job. I don't want to let them down. Kim was feeling good and attacked.
Kate out of the pit after her wheel change

Kim attacking the field

One to go. Christina attacked and I clung to her wheel. Tried to come around at the line but rolled across after her. She won the crit, but we won the omnium! WooHoo!!!
RCM with the Omnium Win!

And then we acquired some extra feet for the drive home...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

HHH Road Race

RCM is wearing the leader's jersey, pressure is on! Kim, Kate and I had decided to be active but not stupid and my role was to behave myself and not attack during the first half and try for hot spot points. There are two hot spots in the 63 mile race; one around mile 20 and another around mile 40.

After a night of 3 teammates sharing one bed and ice baths in the HoJo tub we were ready to race and rode over to the start line. We had no wheels in the wheel truck so our fingers were crossed that we don't get a flat. The start of the race goes smooth, as SoundPony girl is at the front setting a decent pace. That doesn't last too long and the pace slows as a typical Texas women's race. Slow, fast, coast, attack, coast, coast, and I watch our average speed sink below 20mph… I grow impatient and feel the urge to GO, but I hold it in and soon we approach the first hot spot sprint. No one knows exactly where it is, and it is not obviously marked so we start the mile long drag race in search for a painted line on the road. We see a moto official on the side of the road and assume that is the line. Christina takes it. Crap. I have spit strings flying from the corners of my mouth and my heart rate is in the clouds. I look back and see the single file line of ladies; faces all contorted in pain. All these ladies are strong. The pace eases again and then a few attacks pursue. If we weren't causing the attacks, we were sure shutting them down. NOTHING was getting away. The pace slowed again until the second hot spot came up. Again, it was unclear where the line was so Christina and I (both hungry for the points) went into a mile-long, lock-down, drag-out sprint. The side of the road was speckled with motos and officials. We did not know which one to sprint to. We got to the first one and Christina and I both threw our bikes for a non existent sprint line. We glanced at each other and I mumble "Was that it". She does not answer so I get back out of my saddle and go all out to the next roadside official. We throw our bikes again, but that is still not the correct hot spot. I am out of gas but give it one more effort to the last official and Christina collects the points one more time. Shoot!

 Now just need to make it to the finish line. Again, pace slows and everyone recovers. Around mile 50 we begin a fluster of attacks. Still nothing makes a break. I am running out of time. Before I know it I look down and see the 10K to go spray painted on the road. Gulp. I begin to panic and prepare for a sprint. 8K, 7K…5K. The pro men's leader flies by us. OH NO! The last thing I want is to get caught up in a sprint with the men's pro field. Another two boys fly by us. One has a pony tail. This could get confusing and messy. 2K to go. I find Kim and desperately ask if I should just go for it now, or should I wait for sprint? She responds with something like "Well if your gonna go, you better make it stick" I took that as permission. 1K to go and I am full blast out of the saddle. I look down and see a shadow. Is it a guy? Is it Christina? I force myself to look up the road. PAIN. I sit down at 500M to go and glance down to see a shadow still there so I get back out of the saddle and go again. Christina comes around and I finish just behind her for second place. Kate and Kim crossed the line with the pack, tired from covering and chasing and attacking. It felt so good to be part of such an active team! We still held on to the leader's jersey. Tomorrow is going to be a hard race.

Celina Snags the V for masters Women!
RR Christina 1st, Me 2nd, Solymar 3rd

Friday, August 22, 2014

HHH Friday Night Crit - #hitsquad #nailedit

Kim has gotten back from her trip! WaaHooooo! It seemed like she was gone for an eternity but it had only really been about a month. She informed me that her and Kate were interested in going to Wichita Falls for the Hotter n' Hell Stage race and a hotel room at the ever lovely Howard Johnson had been secured. It took her a little twisting of my arm before I would commit but was super excited when I did. 

Fitness chicks…Bro.

We met at Kate's house on Friday morning and decided to head up 281 with Kim behind the wheel. Smooth sailing despite Kim's suspicion of getting pulled over, claiming she was overdue for a ticket. During the drive we discussed all the possible strategies and scenarios that could unfold during the race.  Once in Wichita Falls, the convention center was packed full of excited cyclists ready for the Hotter ‘n Hell 100 ride. Kim, Kate, and I weaved in and out of the crowd in a hurry and made our way to packet pickup where we found out the crit start time was earlier than we though. FRICK!   We head out to locate our hotel which we find had been condemned. Turns out we were looking at the old address and the HoJo had moved up the road a few miles into an old Ramada Inn, right across from a stellar Fill and Chill convenient store. Classy! Well we were assured it was legit because there was a large banner outside that read out "Under New Management".   No time to play- we are on a time crunch now and I have to pee. So we check in to the hotel and I rush to the bathroom to find a hilarious site: an elongated toilet bowl with a shorty seat and cover. I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard. Meanwhile, Kim and Kate are not debating who gets which bed because there is only one bed for all of us to share. Team bonding! So we are able to get ready with enough time to ride down to the course (getting a smidge lost) and pre ride the course. Man it was hot! Riding around, the wind was blowing hard and it felt like someone was holding a hair dryer inches from my face. We line up and I take a look around to see some fierce competition (Ginny, Christina, etc), and a big crowd of spectators has already formed. A presentation was given for Meagan Baab and I almost cried. It was really sad, she should be out here racing with us. Totally un-amped me for the race. But there was no choice, before we could recollect ourselves and refocus, the gun went off and we were racing.

Michelle, Solymar, and Kate
The gun went off and so did a girl from SoundPony. Everyone got in a line behind her as she motored on, unable to shake any of us. She eased off the pace and there was a fluster of small attacks, none of which materialized into anything. Kim, Kate and I  were working hard to cover everything and we even attacked some. I looked impatiently down at my Garmin and knew that soon we would be at the 10 laps to go mark, where the officials would ring a bell to declare the hot spot prime. This hot lap prime was very important because it was $100  cash and points for the overall omnium. Before I knew it, Hannah from MSU and Kate took off, attacking the field, opening a nice gap. The pack rolled through the start/finish and the officals rang the bell for that hot spot. YESSSSSS! Kate nabbed the prime from MSU!! Kate’s effort fatigued her and eventually caused her to fall off Hannah’s wheel so she came back to rejoin the pack. As soon as the pack caught Kate, Gwen (from Utah) attacked on the left and I shot up the right side and came around her. she jumped on my wheel and we took off around a corner. I pushed hard for a half lap then motioned for Gwen to come around to start helping. We took turns pulling for two laps and were close to catching Hannah (MSU). The announcer called out for another prime, this one was for a gift card from Richardson Bike Mart. Gwen and I caught Hannah on the backside and I accelerated past her and continued on to take the prime. I looked back to find that I was now alone with about 6 laps to go. It was hot. I was thirsty but afraid to drink. I didn’t want to get caught because I didn’t want to have to sprint against Christina and Ginny. So I pressed on as hard as I could. Kate and Kim were controlling the pack and not letting anything go up the road. With one lap to go I was able to enjoy the finish and raise my arms at the line. 

Market Racing crosses the line first!

I was so excited that our team strategy worked out beautifully. It was not an individual victory, but a team victory. Super excited! Love me some Kim and Kate! Market Racing!
Hannah (MSU), Jenny (Market Racing), Gwen (Utah)
Kate, Jenny, Kim after the race
Matching nail polish. #nailedit

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bike the Bricks

THE BIG DADDY RACE OF CRITS. Bike the Bricks is a night crit in downtown McKinney, Texas that has big crowds, big money, and big competition. Other than Houston Grand this race is one of my favorites.

I leave my house early and head for Austin to meet Kim. I get to Austin and find out we have two surprise car guests. These two gypsy hipsters would make the drive fly by, keeping us entertained with music skills and light bickering. Kim's car was filled to the brim with cycling gear, wheel sets, rollers, trainers, ice chests, and of course a guitar. Once we get to the race, Kim and I start getting ready and warming up. I am new to the whole roller thing and absent mindly set them up on a sideways incline and I embarrassingly slid of while trying to look pro. Whoops. Then we find Rhe! Yes, our team looks awesome! I am so glad we are racing together. We still haven't found Leila, hope she is ok.

We line up and I feel so excited; I could barely control myself during the neutral first lap. I find myself off the front, alone for what seemed like forever but I am sure it was probably only 2 or 3 laps. I was caught soon enough but managed to stay towards the front where I feel safe. There were attacks but everything was chased and nothing stayed away. We had a mass sprint at the end and I ended up 8th place. Kim and Rhe were right behind me. Leila had to chase from lap one because she was stuck in traffic and got there almost too late. I really enjoyed hanging out after our race to watch the men's race!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

One SFI crit

The SFI stands for "Steep Fricking Incline" I hear. And there was a hill, of course the finish line was at the top of it. There was also wind, and I took comfort in knowing the wind would be at my back while I was going up the hill. Jeff and I drove out there together and would actually be in the same race together. It has been so long since we have raced with each other. There was not much area to warm up in and I was fine with that because my main concern was that my socks would not line up straight. My main concern quickly changed when a buddy came over and commented on my race write up from A&M the day before. Wait, WHAT?!?! He read my write up!?! NOOOOOOO! I normally do my race write up via email only to my team but thought it would be neat for me to keep track of them by putting them in a blog. So I sent my team a link to the blog and it was shared on Facebook for the whole world to read. YIKES. I desperately tried to remember what I had written and hoped I hadn't incriminated myself. Turns out I had behaved myself in the writeup, so no enemies would be made from that. PHEW! But I did boast a bit on how much work I did so I felt there was a target on my back.

Jeff and I 
 Once we lined up I realized the field was a bit smaller than Saturday. Maybe the hill scared people off, I know I am not a climber… So again, from the gun, I clip in and take off. I get caught, claw myself into the small pack to catch a draft to recover, and Mr. Big Shot from yesterday takes off. He takes someone with him. That someone cannot hold his wheel and eventually bails out of the race. So, alone, he laps the field. In the small little field, no one is much willing to work so I get off the front and eventually get caught. Then I go again at two to go and they let me roll away. I knew there was no way my husband was going to chase! So I finished 2nd in the master mens race but got scored for 1st in the women's. It was a hard and fun course.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bikeworld's A&M San Antonio Crit

I am able to sleep in a bit since my race today is in town and the start is at 10:50am. A year ago from today I would have already been about 2 hours into the bike portion of the IMTX at that time. I remember that race like it was yesterday and it's hard for me to believe that a year has already passed. My matchy-matchy girls have all returned this year to cheer everyone else on. I am going to the local crit instead, to support Bikeworld and San Antonio's racing scene.

As I pull up to the race, I notice the wind is ripping out of the south. I have grown to dislike the wind more so than the hills so I am not happy when I see the flags waving violently straight out. At sign up I hear that no other women are signed up for the Women Open race, that I would have to battle the Masters alone. I was filled immediately with anger and envy, wondering why such few people are willing to travel to SA for races but eagerly travel to other cities…even on week nights. Then after a few seconds, I looked around and saw my guy friends that I ride with often and realized that I don't need a packed and stacked field of women to have fun and sweat.

The course was shaped like an "L", two 180s and two 90s for the turns. There would be brakes squealing and the smell of burnt rubber. My race was small in numbers but the guys were strong. One guy left us all behind early in the race, we would never catch him. I decided to be ultra aggressive since there was absolutely no way that I would not win my race. Ha. So I attacked and pulled and double attacked (not much different from a double rainbow).  I even got away for a lap or two before getting reeled back in. Kanza Kevin made a good jump and no one joined him so he went for it. Now there were two guys, both alone, up the road. Kevin never got too far away and I chased, trying to catch him.  I was not getting too much help from the boys but didn't mind. But I got tired and could see Kevin slip further up the road. At two to go a Bikeworld guy tired to get off the front but to no avail, we'd be sprinting for 3rd place. I was surprised at the power these guys put out the last 500 meters, I washed across the line somewhere in the middle/back part of the pack.


Not at all disappointed with the race and the way I raced, I look forward to the next one (if I am not at work). Hopefully word will get out and more people will come have some fun!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Houston Grand

Houston Grand Crit is one of my all time favorite races. Big crowds, big primes, big prizes, and a flat power course. I always have seemed to do well at this race. I was super excited and nervous this year. Some really strong, power houses were preregistered and that made me a little nervous but most of my team would be there, YAY!!! River City Market Racing ladies are so classy! 
Leila, Kim, Kate, Jenny. Rhe missed the photo op because she was being the best wife ever... 
I arrived to the race early enough to watch the masters finish and found Rhe. We watched excitedly as Murff, her husband, was front and center on a fast and furious sprint. It went from perfect execution to total disaster in a split second when another racer swept across the field and took out a handful of racers. Murff was one that hit the ground. I watched as he slid into the curb, sat upright and then got pegged in the back of his head by another racer. Rhe was already by his side before the crash was even over! Everyone was thankfully relatively ok, minus a few stitches, broken bikes, and a shit ton of missing skin. GULP!

I walk back to my car, carefully place my helmet on my head and begin to warm up on my rollers. Yes, SAFETY first! Ha. Actually, the helmet was a smart move, given that I am not an experienced roller person. Clutching onto the side view mirror of my car I see Kate and Leila arrive! Yes! Almost time. We warm up a little together and chat about the race. Kim joins us and we are ready to go. 

Kate and Leila on the start line.

In the beginning I am nervous so I start racing conservatively and Kate rolls up to me to tell me to not be afraid and get up towards the front. I obey. I like having Kate around. She and Kim are talkers. They help out with the strategy a lot. They understand how a race works. Rhe takes a prime. RCM is looking hot! They announce a $100 prime. I want it. I got excited and went too early as Lauren and Mandy flew by me… Lauren won it. We stay active and attempt other primes, but Haute Wheels and Lauren (Tibco) are on top of them. Mark announced the $1,000 prime. I decided I'd give my race up for this, and I waited a little longer to start the sprint. No contest, Mandy and Lauren whizzed by me and Mandy won that one. We tried some attacks and they were shut down. The race stayed together until the end. Two 90 degree turns and a straight away. We got a little clogged up on the two turns so I shot wide and then took off. Kathleen had started her sprint in the turn and had a gap on the field. I could see Mandy and Lauren emerge out of the front of the pack. I got out of my saddle and tried to make it onto the back of Mandy's wheel but ran out of real-estate. Us three had managed to pass Kathleen and earn podium spots.
Sprint Finish

Mandy, Lauren, Jenny
I am so excited for Memorial crit weekend and Tulsa Tough, not so much for the races but for hanging out with my team! I am so happy to be part of River City Market Racing.