Well, day 1 of sea otter is behind me, and I've gotta say, I wish I could have it back! TOday was our cat 4 women's circuit race. It was a blast, in some respects. I mean, racing at Laguna Seca for the first time really was awesome. We got to the race (me and my teammate, Susie) in plenty of time, and she knew all the inns and outs of good parking, good company, and reminding me to eat at the right times. I don't know what I would have done without her!
So we get down to the racetrack around 3:15 for our 3:30 start time. We rode around a little, and all seemed well. WE climbed the hill once, just so I could see where it ended...but as there was a mens road race starting in the other direction, we didn't get to take a full practice lap. (note to self...mistake #1). We realized the wind had really picked up, and that the head wind was going to be significant...but not on the uphill, which was awesome. I can take a downhill headwind..but climbing AND headwind...well, that's just insanity.
We finally get to the start line, and I get my good spot in the first row. I"m good at that part--my coach would be proud. Echelon women are not letting anyone get in on OUR start position! The field had ~40+, which was awesome for a women's race! Anyway...off we go. As expected, the pace is easy the first lap...but alas my problems were just beginning. I climb up the first time nice and easy, and all is feeling good. Legs have spring in them, I get to the top with lots of gears left, and then I go to shift into the big ring for my trip down...and ack! My freakin' derailleur is not kicking the chain far enough. I get mad, and remind it again (as the pack passes me by), and instead, it not only doesnt work, but it drops the chain! Double ack... I remember rule #1 of the rules of cycling that someone once told me (and I laughed at at the time)...don't freak out, and downshifted and nicely pedaled the chain back on (as the rest of the climbing stragglers passed me). I finally get the chain on the big ring..and start the descent...I'm sure I said a lot of really choice words in that second or 2 which I can't repeat here....
Thank goodness for my ability to descend with reckless abandon...I flew down that hill and caught everybody, and still was back up front as we came around to the start line. Lap 2 was better...no chain drop, and not too bad getting into the high gear. I actually descended up front, and that, too was awesome. Riding on the racetrack was flat out awesome, and the descents and turns were truly sublime. Even in my tired state, I found myself smiling on a few occasions...I mean, how can you not, flat out racing downhill, and feeling totally secure in thsoe wonderful banked turns...
Ok...so as not to bore everyone with the details of this....my shifting problems persisted the entire race...and most laps went, great climb, feel strong, up in great position...get to the top, can't shift, get dropped, catch up ont he downhill and get back up front in time to do a little playing around and catching breaks. Susie and I chased down all the attacks (there werne't many) and were right in there so for that I was happy.
On the last lap....my climbing was fine....but at the top I again lost valuable time cresting the hill...and so I was down a few seconds, and they werent taking any mercy up in front of me....so I just had to flat out motor. I caught at least 2 people coming around the back turns, and crossing the line, I was almost there...but not in any contention for the sprint. I thougth I was top 10, and my teammate was up in the break..so I was thrilled for her!
Turns out I got 7th, and she got 3rd! I was not that upset with that finish, considering my issues, but I was really upset about the bike function... One of my friends watching me come in on the last lap, said, well, i dind't know what was going on, but you had your head down and were motoring like you were on a serious mission. Yup..that was it. to catch the break I thought i deserved to be in...oh well!
It was a bent deraileur, and I fixed it in about a minute after the race, with the help of a friend who knows a ton about bikes. Argh. Shoudl be ok for tomorrow, I hope! Now it is time to put it out of my mind..and move on...and get ready for the race tomorrow.
I'm feeling fine, though...so i'm hopeful that i"ll have a better ride!
Ciao from sea otter!