As my road season is beginning to wrap up I look back at where I started and how proud and surprised I am of how everything came together. My main goal this road season was to hang with the 3's and complete a full season in the 3s, if I somehow managed to do well and gain enough points to upgrade to a 2, then I would go for it. My mindset was "what ever happens, happens". I don't need to go into full detail on each and every race of this season, because I have already done that. When the season started I felt un-prepared for what was to come. Of course I had been riding my bike over the winter, but it was a harsh winter and I didn't get out a lot. I spent many hours in the garage on the trainer. Next winter I need to hook up my bike and trainer to a generator so I can power my house with my own energy. Every year is some what of a learning experience in training for me. This year I learned when I ride the trainer I can get really strong at flat roads and sprinting, not so great for the hills.
This did me well in my first race at Sequim (flat with a sprint finish for 5th place), come IVRR, the lack of hill training didn't do me too well, those hills felt like beasts and I was sucking air (mainly a sprint finish for me, another 5th place). After that race I realized I needed to get my hill training on, so it began. Cherry Blossom was another wake up call that I was sucking air at the hills. My mountain biking instead of hill climbing was NOT paying off. Get going on those hill days Courtenay...so I did. Walla Walla I began to see my improvements in my hill climbing, my hill day was paying off and I was getting stronger. I began to add more times up Squalicum mountain road, and decided to go race at Vance Creek. The profile looked boring, but I wanted to race. The rolling hill was perfect for me and the cours was actually really awesome, I really saw my hill training was beginning to pay off, I just sort of rolled off the front of the group when climbing the hill (heck yea) and eventually ended up with a win. Continued with the hill climbs, raced at Wenatchee.
Wenatchee went something like this:
Time trial in the rain, 3rd place, slower than last year (how is that possible)????? Crit was a combined 3/4 field, no rain, a total of 4 3's and 3 4's (confusing isn't it). I lapped the entire field. Road Race was wet, really really really wet. When I say it was wet, I mean I took a bath in the rain. We climbed that hill 2x, it felt amazing, I like that hill (I'm twisted in a way I know). But I rode most of the course by myself, individual time trial number 3 of the weekend. I won the 3's, but there was only 2 of us. I would have placed 6th in the 1/2s for the road race. I was proud of my climbing, it was finally coming together.
Enumclaw. Enumclaw. Enumclaw. Going into Enumclaw I had 16 upgrade points, I decided to race Enumclaw as my last hurrah for road racing this season, and attempt to get some upgrade points. The TT is only 6.5 miles, my kind of time trial (really short and to the point). A time of 15:55 put me in 6th place. not bad. My TT's have only gotten better since the first one! The crit was a combined field of the W1/2/3, so around 55 women where on the 8 corner course. While warming up the course was freshly greased for us with some rain drops. The crit was scary, people were not being safe. My legs felt pretty good, and I knew I needed to be in the front in case a break went because I wanted to be in the top 3 for the GC, so I fought for my position closer to the front, certainly not very close to the front, but I was up there. About half way through the race on corner 6 I heard two girls scream and one girl swerve horizontally in front of me. I had 2 choices, to hit her or swerve out of the way, I chose to swerve out of the way, slid out and crashed. It was very startling. I didn't know what to do so I immediatly stood up, grabbed my bike, shouldered it and ran to the pits where the men looked at me like I was crazy for running there! They fixed my saddle on my bike, gave it a run through, and sent me back on my way into the pack. I went back in with avengence and placed 2nd. That moved me up to 3rd in the GC.
The road race kicked my butt. Again the 1/2/3 ladies were combined racing for 58 miles. 4 loops with this decently long climb in the middle, but an evenly long decent. The first time up the hill hurt, my legs were not warmed up they burnt like crazy but I managed to stay with the lead group! Once at the top I realized there was only 1 other Cat3 women in the pack, I thought to myself (wahoooo, just as I wanted). A couple miles before the climb the other half of the pack caught back on, but once we hit the climb they were gone, and I never saw them again. The 2nd time up the hill didn't hurt like the first, but the incline right before the feed zone was feeling really steep! I couldn't hang with the group and was dropping off the back, but so where others. Once we reached the top a group of us worked together to catch back onto the group. The 3rd time up the hill was a wonderful thing, the group was going....slow (I thought thank goodness everyones legs must be hurting). Then at that stupid incline before the feed zone someone picked up the pace and I fought SO hard to get back to the group at the top of climb. I dug harder than I knew I could and caught back on...then we got neutralized because the 1/2 men were catching us. SSOO lame! The 4th time up the hill my legs were shot, I knew I wouldn't be hanging on for very long, and off the back I went with a couple of other riders. Once at the top a group of us worked together on the decent and on the flats to the finish, where I finished 2nd of the 3's, 2 minutes and 40ish seconds back from the first place Cat3 women. That put me in 2nd for the GC, roughly 10ish minutes ahead of 3rd place.
|Exausted on the climb in the RR|
With my new found ackowledgement of who I am and what distinguishes me from those I surround my self with I move forward. I move forward with my cycling passion, I move forward to a more competitive field, and most importantly, I move forward to some mountain biking!!!!