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.