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 afterwards...how 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.