Monday, March 30, 2009

That Sound You Hear is My Brain Being Blown Around in my Fool Head: Piece of Cake Race Report

Because the only thing I like more than racing in the snow is racing into a headwind, I followed Saturday's Independence Valley freeze-my-ass-off-athon with Sunday's Piece of Cake wind ringing in my hungover brain-athon.

I finished second in the Women's Cat 4 race yesterday. Its a great result from an individual perspective and my sprint finally didn't suck. But from a team perspective, I wish things had gone down differently--although we had all four of our non-flatting riders finish in the top ten. Again. That's pretty fantastic.

What wasn't fantastic was my recovery strategy after IVRR, which involved too much wine and too little sleep. I felt like total ass on a stick Sunday morning. Had to force myself to eat and hydrate.

I drove up with Christy, Heidi and three cans of gingerale. And lots of beer. I had a feeling it was going to be that kind of day.

PreRace: My job Sunday was to attack, chase breaks, keep my teammates up front and out of the wind and to do leadout for the sprint if I wasn't dead in a ditch somewhere of alcohol poisoning.

I had a little discussion with my legs as we staged:

Me: Hey, this is going to hurt today, but its only 34 miles.

Legs: Fuck you.

Me: Seriously, it'll be fun to shake things up. And its SUNNY!!!!

Legs: Seriously, fuck you.

Lap One: It was windy and I was crabby. Jan, one of my former Group Health teammates, started attacking early and often. I knew this would happen from knowing Jan for years and racing crits with her last season. I love Jan, but still found myself thinking "Jan, I am really just not in to your crap today."

What I wasn't also "in to" was the fact that I forgot to check pre-race to see that my bike computer was working. It wasn't. I spent the entire race not having any idea how fast we were going or how far into the race we were. This was probably a good thing.

The first lap was basically attack and regroup, attack and regroup. I did my part, keeping my teammates at the front and attacking twice, then fading back to make sure HV was still attached to the lead group. The fading was annoying at least one woman in the front, who kept insisting that I pull though, which I refused to do if I couldn't see my teammates over my shoulder. I don't work for you unless you are wearing pinstripes.

Lap Two: More attacking and regrouping. My legs were pretty much over the whole racing thing after about 75 minutes. After Mindy and I pulled to pick up the tempo into the wind, I looked at her, told her I was cooked and was going to go hang out in the back for a bit...not to worry if they didn't see me for a bit. I hung out mid-pack for about ten minutes and it turned out to be a good decision. The burning anger in my legs faded to a manageable whine.

It took me almost 10 minutes to work my way back to the front and all of my girls (Sallyanne and Christy both flatted early on, leaving just Alice, Anna, Mindy and I in the race) were at the front with 3K to go. So was Heidi, which made me ecstatic--considering all of her recent mechanical snafus. After the 300m corner, Anna and the Poplollies gal jumped.

I am thinking, "Anna's got this, Anna's got this" and screamed at her to GOGOGOGOGO. I glanced over my shoulder and found Mindy on my wheel. The front of the pack kept speeding up, speeding up. I remembered to get in my drops (finally!), kept the pace and as the first wave of began to fade with about 75 left, I screamed at Mindy to go.

Nothing. I glanced around and she was gone.

Shit. Shit, it wasn't supposed to be me up here alone. Nice leadout, you bonehead.

I had a split second to make a decision. Wait? Go? What the fuck do I do? Where is Alice? Where is Anna? Shit! Shit!

There wasn't enough time to answer any of those questions, so I went. It hurt.

I have no idea what happened in the last 25 meters other than what was occuring in the red-spotted tunnel straight ahead of me. I ended up 3rd overall (2nd in Cat 4's because Jan was in the mix at the end), but thought I was 5th or 6th until I saw the results. That's how completely out of it I was.


So here is my honest race assessment. Second is good. So are the sweet Castell gloves I won as a result. But I would give them back in a heartbeat to have correctly calculated how to get my teammates into podium spots. Since everyone did what they were supposed to do and was in great position going into the fninishing stretch, I feel like its my fault that it didn't go as planned. Did I go too early? Too late? Should I have gone or not?

With every race we figure one thing out, then find out that there are three more lessons to be learned.

But for now, time to rest and regroup. Right now my legs are hamburger, so I've got a lot of recovery to do before Friday. Cherry Blossom, my first stage race, is this weekend. And the first crit of the year-aw.....hell yeah.


Shine On said...

A racer who can't not race! Taking it home is better than sandbaggin sister.

fixgear said...

I for one, am convinced that the pre-race ritual alcohol binging may be the secret to second or third place in a given race....just not first.