Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Like "Sex and the City" but with out the Sex. Or the City.

Papa Bear is pretty drunk. I don't really blame him. Since 8am, he's been the sole rooster in a pack of gossiping, kvetching, chattering hens on bikes. One hundred miles of that would drive even a puritan to drink.

And drinking is exactly what we're doing, having gone straight to Hopworks from River City. Do not pass Go, do not change out of the sweaty Lycra monkeysuit that you've been wearing for eight hours. Go directly to beer.

We sit there, Papa Bear and three single ladies: the Rough Cuddler, the Blond Ball of Hate ("BBoH") and the yet un-nicknamed nickname generator. With each round, the volume is raised two-fold. Same for the adult content rating of our conversations. We bitch about sex, being single and having saddle sores.

Papa Bear is laughing so hard that there are tears in his eyes. "You two are great...I just don't understand why you two don't have boyfriends." This question is addressed to BBoH and I, as Rough Cuddler's current romantic entanglement does not lend itself to that question.

BBoH hems and haws for a minute. Having given up drinking two rounds ago, I feel like the answer to the question is self-evident.

"I can tell you what my problem is...I spend all of my time with you assholes."


I don't have sisters, at least I didn't have sisters before I started taking cycling seriously.

I have a younger brother, a hysterically funny man that is much smarter that I ever hope to be. When I see him, we enjoy our time together, but we never have been particularly close. As a result, the feeling of sibling-hood that I've felt with my misfit band of cycling friends has been a revelation.

With this particular group, I feel wedged between a neurotic older sister, wild younger sister and the crazy inappropriate uncle that everyone loves because he'd give you the shirt off of his back (but not before telling you an offensive joke). The affection amongst us is almost overwhelming.

When I think about my relationships with BBoH and RC, it is the shared experience of cycling that was the catalyst for taking garden variety adult friendships and transforming them into something much more meaningful. We sweat, bleed, suffer, drink together. We are experiencing the best and worst of what competition brings out in our personalities, living the physical and emotional transformation that occurs when hard work, stubbornness, lyrca and Friday happy hour all collide at full speed.

The BBoH and I call each other FT (fraternal twin). We couldn't look any different from each other, but our minds are tuned to the same socially inappropriate frequency. Within a week of becoming friends, we could finish each others sentences. After Table Rock, we were sitting in almost the exact same location at Hopworks, enjoying beers after the epic road trip to Southern Oregon. BBoH returned from the bathroom, giggling mischievously.

BBoH: "Hey FT, guess what I did."

LK (without skipping a beat): "Hey FT, I bet you just stuck your face under the hand dryer in the bathroom." (Hopworks has high-powered hand dryers that create G-Force-like ripples on anything within a 12 inch radius).

Busted. Her faces falls momentarily.

BBoH: "How did you know that?"

LK: "I'm not even going to pretend like I haven't done the same thing a time or two. Or eight."

(I'll remind you at this time that my FT and I are in our early-30's.)

My relationship with the Rough Cuddler followed a different trajectory. You don't become friends with the RC overnight. She's had more life experiences in the past 10 years than most of us will have in a lifetime. With that experience comes barriers that have to be frequently negotiated while building the friendship. There are tryouts that you don't even know you're participating in...the grace with which you respond to heartbreak, the loyalty you have for your friends in crisis, your commitment to the constant improvement of your character, your taste in beer and chocolate, whether you cheat on repetitions in class.

Having RC as a friend and surrogate older sister is not always easy. When I'm being a jerk, I get to hear about it, whether I want to or not. Advice is straightforward to a fault, often loud to the point of head-splitting and liberally peppered with the word 'fuck.' But always worth listening to, if not always followed.

What I get in return for taking it on the chin is unwavering loyalty, an enormous amount of healthy perspective and a recurring sense that I will throw up from laughing too hard. RC is also an important touchstone to how much I've changed in the last year--both in terms of losses (a best friend, two love relationships, 20 pounds) and of gains (climbing legs, confidence, 50 pounds of gear).

So when I bitch about the effects of hanging out with a bunch of assholes, I do so with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. I plant it there carefully, however, lest it bitten off mid-guffaw.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Table Rock Road Race. Race Report. About as Exciting as the First 15 miles of that Race.

Because I'm in an allergy-induced uninspired state and a big fan of bullet pointed lists, here is my Table Rock race report in an uninspired bulleted format.
  • Mile 0. Christy tries to announce at staging that she is so hungry that she could eat a human baby, but gets the giggles instead and fails miserably at her appointed task of pre-race intimidation.
  • Mile1: Neutral.
  • Mile 2: We go out of neutral and the pace up front doesn't change. In fact, we may have slowed down. Hm. So it was going to be one of those races.
  • Miles 3-10. Nothing. We go up. Then we go down. Then upish and downish. There's a dead skunk in the road. My heart rate is at about 50% and I'm sort of bored.
  • Mile 10. Go up the finishing hill...a 15% grade. Think to self that uphill finishes are funny to no one except race organizers. Say hi to parents.
  • Mile 11-14. Descend, fast. Field splits in half, which is what I seriously want to do to the face of the junior racer that keeps shooting in front of me and braking.
  • Mile 15-22. More nothing. Mackenzie Madison drags us all through the wind on the flat half of the course. There is a deer in the road. Anna and I sit in at third and fifth wheel and I wonder how much it would cost to have someone clean my condo next weekend.
  • Mile 23. Climb starts. I'm done being bored and attack.
  • Mile 24. Realize that I've build a nice gap, but no one has come with me. Continue to hammer while wondering whether or not to continue hammering.
  • Mile 25. Decide to peddle like hell and hope that (1) Things stay disorganized so I can stay away or (2) They organize quickly and I get caught with enough time to recover for the finish.
  • Mile 25-28. Off the front. Accidentally hit dead skunk on descent. Suffer immensely.
  • Mile 28. Get caught. Suck some wheel, relieved that only 3 ladies managed to bridge the gap...less people to kick my ass up to the finish.
  • Mile 29-30. Play "who's going to crack first up this hill." Lose. (or win-depends on how you look at it). Steep uphill sprints are not in my skill set right now. Finish third.
  • Epilouge: slam a Coke and two bottles of water after audible breathing subsides. Wait for teammates to finish with an obnoxious sugar headache. Ride nine miles back to staging in the beautiful sunshine. Get lost twice. Don't really care.
My parents made the trip over from KFalls for the race and had a huge lunchtime spread laid out when we got back. My parents are awesome.

Would highly recommend adding this race to your calendar for next year. The course is fun and gorgeous and the event was well-organized. And HV won a case of beer. I talked to the race director briefly and he may turn event into an omnium next year. Springtime in Southern Oregon, a stopover at the Shakespeare festival and two days of bike racing...count me in.

The more significant part of this racing road trip was the road trip itself, but I'm still mulling that over in my head and will write more about it later this week. Suffice to say, if you are going to drive 8 hours for a 90 minute race, doing it with my FT Christy and DJ Mixed Tape Burns is definitely the way to roll.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Race In Which I DNF and Nearly Soil My Shorts.

Pretty sure that I only have eight crit lives left. Left one of them in Hood River last night.

Hood River Crit Series. It was a beautiful day, Beth wanted to teach me some tactical stuff and 40 minutes of "racing" in the sun with friends kicks the ass off of a hill workout any day of the week.

We picked a great day to go out. Julie from Mountain View, Anne, Kim and Judy from Sorella and my new teammate Amy all showed up. The course is more like a small PIR, rather than a true crit, and we race clockwise...I need some work on my right turns and this was a perfect place to practice.

Beth had a master plan and I was happy to follow along with it: hang out for 13 laps, attack on the 14th and she would lead me out on the 15th for the win.

Here is actually how it went down: hang out for 13 laps, watch Anne (who was going to help us) take off a lap early, laugh at Beth's comment "What the hell is that old bitch doing?!", attack late because we were getting lapped by the masters, build a 20 meter gap.

I was out front heading out of the first corner at about 25 MPH into the headwind (as planned-the Bradley Armored Fighting Vehicle had headwind duty and Beth had leadout duty) and I heard and felt a huge POP from the rear of my bike. Followed by the feeling of my back end being jerked to the left. I'm not sure how I knew what to do or how I managed to stay upright. I weighted the bike as hard as I could, relaxed my upper body and skidded to a stop. Was facing backwards on the course when all was said and done.

Then the fear caught up with me and I nearly puked on the sidewalk.

Beth and I should have been roadkill...she was that close to my wheel, we were that close to the curb and we were going that fast. So I'm sitting there and thinking about all of this the HELL did I manage to keep that bike upright? I think it was 50% dumb luck and 50% cyclocross.

In cyclocross, at least if you're me, you spend a good portion of the race with some part of the bike doing something that you don't want it to. Maybe its the back derailleur or the chain. Or the operator's stomach from drinking too much the night before. But mostly its your back wheel. I've had a lot of low-speed practice with what to do (and not do) when my back wheel starts to misbehave. It probably helped save my ass, and my bike, last night.

Today: new tires. Had some discussion with Jeff about the stock tires that came on the Ruby and they're probably inadequate for how I ride and where I ride.

This weekend: Table Rock RR. My parents, who have never seen me bike race, are making the trip over from the home country to watch. I'm pretty excited.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How One Slowly Learns to Live with Oneself

I've been told more than once that I'd be really easy to stalk. And its not a statement that I can argue with, although it always makes me a bit uncomfortable.

I am a remarkably scheduled person. It is necessary part of life as I (1) am chronically overcommitted and (2) find much mental and emotional comfort within in the ebb and flow of routine.

Recovery weeks, therefore, always tend to be a bit discombobulating. What I am supposed to do with that ALL OF THAT SPARE time between 5am and 7am that would normally be filled with push-ups, squats and burpees? And Wednesday evenings instead of intervals? And don't even mention how to fill time otherwise spent with sprints, hills, recovery rides, mixing water bottles, laundering countless pieces of stinky lycra. My head might explode from contemplating the possibilities.

The answer should be pretty obvious-sleep, stupid. Rest legs weary from racing ten times in eight weeks. Finish that book that I put down on Thanksgiving and never picked back up. Clean the condo. Make plans to catch up with the bike-less friends who have faded into the back of my mind since last fall.

You know what I did instead? Rode my bike, just because I could. Rode to Tori's class, to work, to acupuncture, to the grocery store, to happy hour. Rode at 12 MPH down Springwater listening to outdated podcasts of Fresh Air. Terry Gross talking about holiday movies while I breathed in the spring sunshine. Rode over the Hawthorne bridge on a quiet Friday evening, partially drunk and fully singing along with Billy Idol.

This kind of unstructured, heart-rate-monitor-free riding lends itself to lots of quality time with the inner monologue. My inner monologue runs without cease, ignored only with the help of coffee and beaten into submission only by intense exercise. I think this is why I love racing so much. For a few hours, I'm free from existential meanderings, inside jokes and the staging of hundreds of life-altering conversations that I wish I could have or do over again.

But I inevitably have to engage with, well, myself. And it was really productive. Some conclusions and revelations from my 100-mile "Tour de Rest Week" of the Portland metro area:

1. One should not bitch about not getting laid if one does not have the time or energy to (1) find someone to get laid by, (2) engage in the superficial hygiene and maintenance program that usually occupanies sleeping with someone new or (3) take off one's compression tights before falling asleep at 9:30.

2. If you hit a Clackamas County nutria with a rock (just a small one, to make it move off the path...put away the PETA hotline number), it really doesn't faze it all. Either that sucker was tough or really hungover.

3. Saddle sores suck, yo. The issue of finding a new doctor is being painfully forced.

and finally, and mostly importantly:

4. The book epiphany. I've been playing around with the idea of writing a book for some time...mostly in private. Private because of that inner monologue voice that says "Like YOU could write a BOOK...your snark and pithy self-reflection are worth less than this free blogging platform."

Nonetheless, there's still this pull I have had to try and put something out into the world that is useful and witty. I just needed a more concrete concept...and I think I have it now.

Now I've just got to schedule some time to reschedule my schedule so I can get some feedback on the idea and, well, write a friggin' book.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cherry Blossom: Stage Four and Some Randon Ponderings About Stage Racing

Took me a while to work up the energy to write this last one up. Dog-tired and suffering from a bit of post-race/pre-PMS letdown. Whatever happy-go-lucky chemical (endorphins? dopamine?) I was emoting in spades Sunday is taking a while to regenerate.

Stage Four: Columbia Gorge Road Race. Very few things in life truly scare me.




A few years ago, I raced the Pacific Crest Half-Ironman on the "regular" course, that is, the one that includes climbing the south side of Mt. Bachelor. For fifteen miles rolling up to the base of the climb, all that was running through my head is "I am not scared of you." But I was.

Fast forward to a year later. My one and only attempt at the Wednesday night Mt. Tabor Circuit race. I got annihilated. My own field came 50 meters from lapping me on the last climb.

From then on, I was a self-designated "non-climber." Which was O.K. I had other talents. Even at my "pre-bike racer" weight, I was strong, tough and capable of random bursts of soul-crushing speed.

I didn't sleep well the night after the crit. I dreamt of climbing up a never-ending hill by a guy that looked vaguely like Val Kilmer and was riding a blue unicorn. And when I woke up in the morning, my system had full-on revolted on me. This was not totally unpredictable. After three days of oatmeal, HEED, Recoverite and PB&J, my stomach had finally drawn a line in the sand. It took me over an hour and half to consume one English muffin with peanut butter and two smoothies.

Why so nervous, you ask? I present to you, dear reader, the elevation profile for stage 4:

The graphic is sort of small, but yes, that is 1800 feet of climbing in about four miles. My only solace was that my field got off lucky and only had to climb it once.

We rolled out onto the course around 9am. It was a mild morning and although the wind was blowing, it didn't look to be nearly as gusty as Friday's stage. I was sitting fifth in GC and just wanted to (1) help Mindy and (2) minimize the damage on the climb so that I could keep my podium spot.

I didn't worry about getting my usual spot at the front of the pack. The climb started at mile 2 and would sort the straw from the chaff pretty quickly. My plan was to glue myself to Mindy's wheel to protect it for as long as I could. If she decided to attack, I could drop off to block and slow the pack.

So we started going up. And I'm crabby about that. Not the best time to be stuck on my least favorite wheel. I finally had had enough, said something, got some lame retort in return and figured lame retort= I won that round. No need to press the issue any further.

The attrition as we moved up the hill was remarkable. Remarkable in how quickly it happened, and remarkable that I wasn't yet a part of it. Two of the GC contenders gone at the "Wall." A couple of friends shelled a half-mile later. I wasn't comfortable by any stretch of the imagination, but the pace being set up front was manageable.

I watched the quarter-miles tick off on my bike computer. All I could focus on was Mindy's wheel in front of me and the sound off laboring lungs. Mindy doesn't show any signs of wanting to attack, so I settle in and climb.

And then there were six. Only two of the other GC contenders are in this group and my goal becomes to stay with them.

We reach the summit together and look around. The lead car is long gone down the descent and the wheel car has yet to catch up. Six riders alone at the top of the world. I had ten seconds of this surreal sense of accomplishment (Holy Fuck! I'm Here! With the Climbers!), then it was on once again. The Bend woman who had dragged us up the mountain peeled off (I thought I caught something about "horrible descender") and the five survivors raced on.

I love going downhill. But it is a particularly frustrating task with compact crank. Two women raced ahead with Mindy and I spinning like gerbils about 30 meters back. The fifth rider seemed wary of the speed and kept dropping further and further back on the curves. Made a mental note of this for use later.

We catch the two rabbits coming out of Mosier and the five of us began pace-lining back up to the Rowena Loops. And it become immediately apparent that my legs are not happy with the idea of more elevation gain. Mindy and Cara graciously let me take some extra rest in the back...they both know that they will need me in the last 10K.

Cara, a master's rider and I attack as soon as the descent begins. We think that we can drop the wary descender and keep Mindy in the fold.

The next three miles were ecstatic fun. The Rowena loops are cut into the side of a cliff, but safe enough for me to take most of them with minimal speed fluctuation. When we reach the bottom, Mindy is gone and I can't see how far back because of the follow car. Momentum is sucking me forward and I continue hammering along.

Cara and I's plan to put some extra time on the chasers and drop the masters rider is short-lived. I am obviously struggling more than they are, talking out loud to my legs. I am barely hanging on, but am refusing to give up.

10K mark takes so long to reach and I'm back to watching my bike computer...4 miles, 5K, 1000K. When the 200 M mark is in sight, they stand to sprint to the end. And I can't follow. I throw on a gear or two for good measure, but sit up and roll through the finish.

In third fucking place. In a climber's stage. I should be dead somewhere in a ditch getting snacked by vultures. Not sitting podium.

(Stage 4 Podium, Credit Jeff Tedder)

Let this be a lesson to all of you: sometimes stupidity and stubbornness and sheer force of will can trump having the legs of a mountain goat. I lived that shit. I know that now.


The effort was good enough to vault me into third place in the GC and Mindy into fourth place. Alice came in at 10th. Sally 7th in the Masters. Wonderfully brilliant for everyone's first stage race.

(GC Podium, Credit Jeff Tedder)


It's really not socially acceptable to be proud of oneself, lest it be mistaken for vanity or narcissism. But I've never been know for my social acceptability, so here goes: I am really proud of what I accomplished this weekend.

Once we had all changed out of our shorts and drank a celebratory beer, I took a quiet moment to call my mom and tell her how I had done. If you can't tell your mom how good it feels to be you at a given moment, who can you tell?

Some final thoughts on the weekend:

1. My coach, Jeff, is the best and its a blessing that I met him when I did. He has taken a bunch of crazy, loud, obnoxious, neurotic women who knew nothing other than that they loved to ride, puts up with all of our shit and is turning us into a real team.

2. My teammates are a classy bunch of kick ass riders. There was no complaining, no whining. Everyone showed up and raced their asses off every day. And we took care of each other. The bond is was never more apparent than when I heard that one of my girls had gone down with the crit and almost threw up from shock and worry.

I missed Anna and the Blond Ball of Hate and the rest all weekend...we had such a good time, but it wasn't the same racing without them.

3. The Cat 4 Women's field was amazing group of ladies. I came away from the whole experience not only with a satchel full of congratulatory fruit leather, but also with some new friends and allies for the many years of racing that lie ahead.

Thanks Sorella, OBRA, and everyone else that made the weekend possible. We'll definitely be back next year!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cherry Blossom: Stage Two and Three Reports

Here is my second installment of the Cherry Blossom 2009 race report. By the way, did anyone actually SEE a Cherry Blossom while they were in The Dalles? I thought I might have seen one yesterday while climbing up Seven Mile Hill, but that might have just been my cornea exploding.

Stage Two: The Time Trial. Unlike most sane, rational human beings, I like time-trialing. This might be the case for me being neither sane nor rational, but that is a topic for another day.

One of the more insane things about time trialing is that the most important part actually takes place before you race. Warming up for a TT is an art form. It's all about kicking your own ass and minimizing the time at the start of the TT when all you want to do is throw up in your mouth. For an eight mile race such as this one, I would ideally warm up for an hour.

And ideally, we wouldn't have had to coordinate six people, seven bikes, four trainers, three extra wheelsets, two pots of coffee and 100 pounds of gear at 6AM on a Saturday morning.

So we ended up only having about 40 minutes to get ready. Which involved getting my heart rate up to 85% as quickly as possible.... in 37 degree weather. This is why Metallica and Red Bull exist.

The course was an out-and-back course with about 400 feet of elevation gain in the first 4 miles.

It was hard. I was on the edge of barfing the entire time. So all in all, exactly what needed to happen. Overall time 22:32. Averaged about 21.3 MPH. Caught my 30 second, 60 second, 1:30, 2 min, 2:30 and 3 minute persons.

I ended up second (I am listed third in the results, but the posted winner of the TT was the victim of a clerical error) by about 11 seconds. Not bad, but the TT was my best chance to win a stage and I know that an extra 15 minutes of warm up would have gotten me those 11 seconds.

But....moving on to my favorite type of racing...crit racing.

Stage Three: Cherry City Criterium. I was hooked on crits after my first one in August of last year. Fast, dangerous and over in less than 45 minutes. (Sort of like junior prom, but just a little bit). I am a confident bike handler and frequently sport an overabundance of ego--so it was a natural fit.

I got a call-up for my TT finish and it was pretty awesome to hear all of the cheering When the inevitable ejection from Cat 4 comes within the next few months, I'm going to miss the ladies that I've met in the last two months of racing.

The call-up also got me up front for the start of the race, which cut down on my pre-race anxiety. The only place worse than the middle of a Cat 4 women's crit is anywhere in a Cat 5 men's crit.

I wanted to start fast and out front, lead as little as possible and fall no further back than third or fourth wheel for the entire race. We were having to deal with a backside headwind and there were only 4 corners-all easy, so there probably wasn't going to be an opportunity for a breakaway. But if someone jumped, I wanted to be in the position to go with her.

I executed my plan perfectly, more or less. By "more or less", I mean that I was exactly where I wanted to be going into the sprint...until I took the final corner too tight, had to make a correction and lost both speed and the wheel I wanted to be on for the sprint. I did fight my way back to fifth, stood up and sprinted....IN MY DROPS.

The post-race relief I felt lasted about 45 seconds. Someone rolled up to me and told me that I had a teammate that went down in the final sprint. I didn't see anyone from my team and panicked. Basically rode another lap of the course at a faster pace than we had raced at.

Turns out Mindy went down with 30 meters to go. A lot of road rash and a busted front wheel, but otherwise OK. In fact, she was able to get up and RUN her bike though the finish line, "Breaking Away" style. You might not know if from looking at her, but Mindy is a seriously tough cookie.

We stuck around until the end of the women's 1/2/3 crit, which ended with a great finish for Burns but also with a horrible crash on the final turn. One of my former teammates from Group Health and a friend from Veloce were two of the four taken off via ambulance. Very sobering.

As was the prospect of climbing 1800 feet in 5 miles the next morning. We drove the dreaded Seven Mile Hill on our way home and I promised myself I wouldn't think too much about it until the morning. I broke this promise repeatedly.

Fell asleep in the middle of "My Cousin Vinny" and dreamt of climbing.

Cherry Blossom: Pre-Race and Stage One Report

I survived my first stage race. Actually, I more than survived. I made podium in two stages and in general classification. Here is how it went down.

Thursday, Ground Zero: I didn't get any laundry/bike prep/packing done on Wednesday night due to an informal memorial for Natasha, so I decided to take the morning off from work. Spent an hour on the trainer at TAI in the early AM. First debacle of the day came when I stood up to do an opener and tipped right out of my trainer. It took three people to get me back upright again.

Second debacle occurred after I had unloaded my gear at our Hood River base camp. My plan was to head down to Full Sail for some afternoon beer, reading and sunshine. However, I ended up high centering the Subaru on a curb trying to back out of the steep driveway. Settled for a nap in the sun instead.

Dinner was beers and pizza at Double Mountain with Jeff as we talked our way through the race bible. The rest of the crew (Mindy, Jon, Alice and her hysterical husband Bill) arrived after dinner.

I didn't sleep very well...strange dreams and was constantly waking up to pee. Perhaps a bit overzealous with the post-beer hydration.

Stage One: Columbia Hills Road Race. Despite the rough night of up and down, I managed to sleep in until almost 8. It felt wonderful. No butterflies in the stomach and was able to eat a full breakfast.

My final debacle of the weekend came right before the start of our race. I decided to sneak in a final bathroom break and when I came back, everyone was staged and it looked like the whistle was going to blow at any second. I got my extra clothes off, and helmet back on, in time for the start, but had to ride most of the first lap from the back as a result. Boo.

Lap one was lots of "Slowing" and "Hold Your Line." There is one particular rider that I have raced with five times now who is showing no indication that the fact that someone has to say something to her IN EVERY RACE is actually changing her riding habits. I more or less spent the first 30 minutes of the race trying to move up and away from her.

All of the climbing in this race took place into a mega-headwind. When we hit the wind for the first time, the peloton literally slowed to 12 miles an hour. My goal for the first lap was to stay out of the wind and do as little work as possible. I was sitting about 8 wheels back and it was comical to watch the leaders all look at each other and try and find someone fit (or stupid) enough to set the pace into the headwind.

No one volunteered, so we climbed at the speed of paint drying. I'm surprised that someone didn't come to a complete stop and get blown over. Mindy and I took a few turns at the front, but never made a move to set a higher pace.

When we hit the downhill for the first time, Alice had apparently had enough and shot off of the front. Mindy and I looked at each other, clearly communicating "What the HELL is she doing?" and "Awesome." No one made an attempt to bridge and Alice built a 20 second gap and kept it there--by herself--for almost 30 minutes. People would ask me "Can she hold that?" which I would reply..."Even if I know, I'm not going to tell you."

But in truth, Mindy and I both thought that if she could make it halfway up the hill with a gap, she was stubborn enough to make it stick. Unfortunately, someone at the front finally had enough and we caught Alice before the climbing started.

Then it was time to wait for someone to jump. And someone did, about three minutes into the climb. I was up at the front, but didn't really feel like burning my legs up so early in the weekend. But I could sense that Mindy waiting for me to do something. What I did do was yell at her to go. She and a few other gals bridged quickly and the break was on.

Which left Alice and I to do something I hadn't done before and which turned out to be a lot of trouble-making fun: blocking and slowing the chase group. It took the other members of the chase a bit to figure out that when we would pull (which was not often), everything was slowing down about 1-2 MPH. After about ten minutes, we had given Mindy some room to work and we started racing again.

Because I am a competitive jackass, I contested, and won, the sprint for the chase group, even though it meant ZILCH in terms of time gain. And, once again, NOT in my drops. I thought Beth was going to tear my hands off.

Results: Seventh Cat 4, 10th-ish overall, 1:11 down overall. Alice, same time. Mindy finished fourth.

Highlights: Horses running with the peloton. FINALLY meeting the Ironclad gals. No crashes.

Could've Done Withouts: Climbing into a headwind. The rider with the rattling power tap. Forgetting to bring any post-race beer.

Dinner was more Double Mountain Pizza and beer. We then watched Top Gun and counted 15 popped collars. Bill also mentioned that Kelly McGillis looks like Tim Curry in "Rocky Horror Picture Show." I think it is a spot-on comparison, but it really changes the tone of the movie when you picture Maverick swapping spit with Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What a Weekend.

Race Report for the Cherry Blossom Classic probably sometime tomorrow.

For now, results.

Overall General Classification for Cat 4 Women for Hammer Velo:

3rd: LK
4th: Mindy
10th: Alice.
7th: Sallyanne in Masters

Big props to:

-Mindy for rocking today's race after crashing in last night's crit and destroying a helmet and losing most of the skin on her left elbow and hip.

-Sallyanne for keeping her head up and fighting her way up through the standing despite ANOTHER FLAT TIRE. Someone get that woman some new tires already.

-Alice for surprising everyone (including her own stunned teammates) during stage one with a solo break and showing her potential to be a scary good crit racer.

LK's Stage results:

- 7th in stage one after Alice and I slowed down a chase pack to give Mindy a chance to win the race in the break.

-2nd in the TT.

-5th in the Crit (4th Cat 4).

-3rd in today's road race (2nd Cat 4). This was a climber's stage--and I am NOT a climber--so this finish is pretty remarkable and a testament to why you listen to Jeff Tedder when he tells you to do something.

Time for beer and enjoying what is left of this enormously beautiful day.