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