Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Exit Rehearsal, Stage Left.

For all practical purposes, my road racing season is officially over. O.V.E.R. Other than Stage 2 of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, the rest of my 2009 racing season is likely to consist only of races lasting less than 90 minutes: PIR, Tabor, track, short track, crits, state championship TT, cross.

Rehearsal Road Race. The "rehearsal" bit is a bit of a misnomer, as RRR serves as the state championship race for Category racers. The Women's 1/2/3 race was also the penultimate race in the Oregon Cup, something I knew zero about until last week.

RRR is held out in Ranier at the Ranier Schools Complex. Home of my least favorite Cross Crusade race from 2008, the one where my left hamstring and glute staged a coup the second time up hell hill and I spent the remainder of race sulkily soft-pedaling in circles.

The RRR course was 3 times around a 16ish mile loop, elevation profile shaped like a W. One sustained climb, one longer descent. Lots of rollers. Uphill finish.

The 1/2/3 field was smaller this week than at Silverton...maybe 25-30 riders. Veloforma had four riders out; everyone else was paired up or flying solo.

Lap 1: I spent most of the first 3/4 of the lap in the back of pack, so I can attest to the fact that it stayed mostly intact for the first lap. Lots of surging, settling in, surging, settling in. I don't like where I've ended up in the peloton, but there's not a whole lot I can do about it. Spend a lot of time listening to Burns cough like a TB patient beside me.

There were some attempts to push the pace uphill, but no real attacks. I get near the front the first time up the finishing hill, just so I can play around with my gearing. I had warmed up on the hill in my little chain ring and wanted to see if I could big ring it instead. So I'm riding along at the front, riding along, wind in my flapping in my big stupid ears, obviously not paying a whole lot of attention, when I realize that I've gapped the field by about 25-30 meters. Dumbass.

Burns yells something at me and I can't decide whether its the "GO!" voice or the "What the FUCK are you doing" voice. I have no desire to launch a solo attack, but instead just keep riding a steady, faster tempo up front until caught by the field.

Lap 2: Somewhere mid-lap, one of the surges turns into a real break. Karey Miles from TAI and a River City rider get a gap on the field. There are some attempts to chase, but the strongest rider in the group is Karey's teammate and there are several other stronger riders that don't seem that interested in pulling. Nothing happens for about 10 minutes and we're losing sight of the two riders out front.

So, a decision has to be made. Option One: Sit in and see if anyone else steps up, help if necessary. Option Two: Go after it and at least make it interesting. It doesn't take me long to make up my mind, especially when I see Sam move to the front and pick up the pace. I woke up early and paid $25 dollars to drive out here and race...I might as well get my money's worth of pain out of it.

(And, at any rate, if I go to the front and flame out at the end, at least I have a good excuse...stupid newbie Cat 3 retardedness. Everyone can shake their head later and say to each other, "Silly girl, she'll learn.")

Lap 3: Four or five riders do most of the work out front and the break is caught within a few miles after the start of the third lap. The third lap goes down a lot like the first lap, some surges and short-lived attacks. Ultimately, however, a group of about 20 riders are tightly grouped with 3K to go.

At this point, my goal is get to the front and find the wheel I want to be on for the final 400 meters. This is also everyone else's goal, so there is a lot of lateral movement and surging within the pack. I pick a wheel, then change my mind when that rider doesn't make any move toward the front with 1K to go. Then, simply by the shape of the amoeba changing as we roll along, I end up exactly where I want to be. Sitting three riders back with 400 meters to go.

At the base of the hill, Tina Brubaker attacks as if there is a rocket attached to her bike. Fucking impressive acceleration. There are six or seven riders that are able to stand and follow. There was one scary moment where I was pinched between two riders and almost went down, but with each 25 meters that passed, I picked people off one-by-one and the road became clearer and clearer ahead of me. There's the 200 meter mark, there's Jeff, there's Jesus in plaid pants fighting through the red spots that have started to cloud my vision. At the 100 meter mark, all that is between me and that finish line is Lisa Turnbull, Tina and 30 seconds of misery.

I manage to catch Tina, but Lisa...forgeddaboutit.

Rolled through in second place, first Cat 3 rider. Walking Pneumonia Burns finished 4th/ 2nd Cat 3, Sam 6th Cat 3.

Here is the Cat 3 podium picture:

From L-R: Burns, LK, Stephanie Chase (Veloforma). Burns and I broke up (again) shortly after this photo was taken.

Here is the Oregon Cycling Action recap. That's half of me on the far left of the women's finish photo. Until I re-read the recap this morning, I forgot about the baby deer incident. So yeah, we almost hit a fawn on the second lap. Bambi needs to look where Bambi is going.

Next up: Fast Twitch Friday and State TTT Championship. Then my birthday (Helllloooooo, 32) and Mt. Hood. Busy weeks ahead, for sure.

(PS: I don't know how I forgot this part, but my teammate Anna threw down some hurt in the final 1K of the Cat 4 Race and won her first race...and a state championship to boot. Way to go Annamal!!!)

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