Welcome to race season, and what a great (ahem, rainy) weekend to get it going! I just finished the Tour of Hermann which included a time trial Sat morning, a crit Sat afternoon and then a road race on Sun at noon. All races only offered me a Women's Open category, which meant I had to race w/ the 'big girls'. I wasn't sure how my leg would do as this was the first race after the injections. Actually it felt really good on Sat but my hip was pretty upset with all that hill climbing on Sunday, however, I survived and actually did better than survive, I managed to place in the GC! How did that happen?? I guess I just embraced the pain!
TT: 10 miles
Well, not much to say here. It was half raining/sprinkling for part of the race. Not bad really. At least it was 55-60F all weeekend and not a cold rain! There was a headwind going out, which meant a nice tailwind on the way back. I used this as a good opportunity to test my lactate threshold as I have not done that in a while. (It really didnt change much.) The small hill up to the bridge on the way back to the finish was a total buzz kill. Manged a 21.8 mph average and finished in 27:31 which was approx 30 sec faster than last year. Though, I think there was more wind last year, but Ill take it. Finished as I always do in TTs, middle of the pack.
Crit: 7 laps (only approx 8 miles)
This course was fun/challenging. was flat out of the start/finish until you rounded to a 12% bumppy downhill, which gradually leveled out before a few quick 90 degree turns. Short flat/false flat for 2 blocks and then 2 more 90's to a 7% grade hill which was probably 400-500 meters long (to the start/finish). Add rain to the mix and you have a strung out field! The downhill could make or break your race. If you got freaked out going 40 mph down a bumpy wet hill, forget it! I just decided that no amount of breaking on that surface was going to do any good and might actually cause me more problems, so I just held on, tucked and flew down that hill. It was actually quite fun! The uphill was more troublsome to me! Ouch! Im not the best hill climber. Not bad, but not great either. If I lost a wheel on the hill, I was able to make it up on the flat or downhill. But I knew It would hurt my finish. I manage to get in a group of about 4-5 women. We were the 2nd group behind the leaders. I managed to stay until the last lap when a couple of them attacked hard on the hill. I was smoked, but still managed to hang on to 8th place! I can live with that! Here is a great pic of me finishing the final hill. I obviouslly cant really breathe!
Road Race: 30 miles, 7 hills of Hermann
Well, from a short 1 mile neutral start, we end up at the bottom of a giant hill and the Mercy team attacks hard. I knew it was coming, but as my HR spiked, all I could do was try to breathe and hold a wheel as best I could. The first hill kind of leveled off a bit and then continued up again, maybe 2-3 times. I think on the 3 time I managed to hold the wheel of a Punk Rock Racing girl and there was a Big Shark girl w/ us too and we stuck and manged to catch another Big Shark racer. The 4 of us had a strong break from the rest of the pack and held them off the whole race. Every hill hurt and it was a struggle for me to hold their wheels all 3 of them were great climbers. After the first hour, I started to get pretty fatigued. I wanted to work more for them, but my pulls got slower and slower. I knew that if I pulled too much, I would eventually not be able to hold on for the last big hill. I somehow managed. The Punk Rock Racer girl attacked very early as we approached the first turn going into the finish. There was still 3 corners and a long sprint, but she stayed out there. I had little to nothing left and had hoped to hold off one Big Shark racer, but she got me close to the line. Oh well. I was very happy to finish with this group and hold off the field. Wow, that was a kicker! We averaged 18.4 mph (in the hills) for 30 miles! I manged to get 9th place!
General Classification (GC):
With my crappy TT finish, I wasn't sure Id get anything for GC. But, not everyone raced all 3 races. So, I manged to get 8th overall! I was very excited and happy about that!
My Velo Force teammates also performed awesome this weekend. Teresa ended up with 10th in the GC and Suzanne kicked butt in the TT and crit, if only she had done the RR too! Great rainy weekend!