Another weekend, another bike race. This is becoming a theme for my weekends these days, and I must say, they are a blast! This weekend was no different, well, except that it didn't involve getting up so early, since the start/finish line was about 0.5 miles from my front door! The UCSB cycling team put on a great race, with a Womens3/4 race which had an 8:50am start time! I had 3 other teammates in this race, too, making it fun. It was a flat, fast course in Isla Vista with only 2 real turns, and a big semicircle on the other end of the course. The women's 3/4 field had 17 starters, and I think 17 finishers, too! We rolled out a bit late, and got going. The pace wasn't bad, and the race kind of just unfolded. I felt good, and my team had decided to practice some tactics, and ride safe, as most of us have sea otter coming up, and that is more important to me than a short flat crit! I felt solid most of the race. There was a prime about every other lap, or so it seemed, but I didn't go for those. I don't think I had quite warmed up enough, because for the first half my legs felt a bit sluggish and not quite up to the short fast bursts....thankfully I had it by the end! I looked at the lap counter for the first time with 5 to go! It seemed rather short to me, and it was...as I'll explain later. However, thank goodness I was keeping track! With 3 to go, I was near the outside coming up on the first turn, when someone lost their line in the turn and veered right in front of me! I had to sit up to go wide..and nearly lost traction completely as I pulled the bike around missing the curb by about a foot. Ack! No crashing though...and as I was not riding tense I made the correction without crashing or crashing anyone else out! THankfully it gave me enough adrenaline to get back in there, and get up front so I could be where I needed to be for that final sprint. I'm a bit too new to this whole bike racing thing to know exactly when to make a move...and I always hear my coach's voice in the back of my head...be patient...don't go too early...so I waited and when I saw someone jump, I jumped. I am happy to report that I must be learning something, finally, because my brain did not shut off this time. I remembered to, in succession, be int he right gear to jump, get a decent jump, remember to shift, and stand up, all while keeping track of what was going on! I kind of expected my teammate to jump by me at the end....but she wasn't on my wheel. I ended up in 5th, which is actually my highest finish this year, and especially in a 3/4 race! After I crossed the line, I looked down at my HR monitor and it was blinking a wild 197. 197??? I have never seen that number on my HR monitor before--196 was what I thought was my max! At least I can't say I didn't give it all I had in my sprint! I was pretty happy with the 5th place finish. Later on we realized why it seemed so short! It turned out that there was a problem with the timer, and the race was less than 30 minutes, instead of the published 40! No wonder i barely felt warmed up!!! My teammates rode an awesome race. They made me feel really comfortable, we worked off of each other some (I'm still not good at sticking on Susie's wheel--I got bumped off it about 10 times in that race alone...about 9 of them by the same rider), and all finished strong.
On to Sea Otter!!!