Monday, May 21, 2007

Kern Reports (the beginning)

(Photo credits: Michael Hernandez-THANKS!!)

I'll start at the beginning in case I start forgetting stuff after it sits in the head for too long!
Stage 1: The Bena TT
So Susan (my illustrious teammate) and I get there really early, and realize that we should have brought an EZ up tent! Ack. We are such newbies... We find the portapotties first off, and then start to get nervous. Susan asked me if I was nervous and I said no. Way to x out those negative feelings. She says, "this is intimidating" and I try to talk her out of it.

Soon my coach and her team shows up, and I start to feel better. I warm up, and get in my zone. Thanks to the ipod, and my well-designed pre-race warmup playlist..all is well. I do my full warmup and am feeling good. I also ride part of the course to see how bad the hill is and get my gearing set in my mind. I'm a little worried about the TT bike, as it has a 54 (!) big ring (I usually race on a compact) and I know it is slow to jump from small to big rings. On the test ride, I feel good, and figure out the hill. It doesn't look too bad.

Ok. So I time my start a little too closely. Jill was giving us some last minute advice, and I look at my watch and am like, "my start time is in 3 minutes, i have GOT to go!" She says, "next time give yourself a bit extra..." as I'm riding away, completely panicked. I rip my ipod off just in time and hide it by the car wheel...ack. I get to the start line, and sure enough, the girl 2 in front of me is taking off. There is a dude taking photos of the start, who turns out to be no other than OV! He introduces himself, and then the girl in front of me does too...turns out she is also a fellow blogger, Marian (the eventual winner). I recognized her from Sea Otter. That interaction calmed me down,a nd I didn't even stress about the whole start. I got my gearing right, and easily ramped up the speed at the start, feeling super good about my TT position. It is not much to talk about...I kept Marian in my sights for the first half...and things were looking and feeling good. Until the turn around. I'm not that good at the whole TT bike yet...and the turn around was just a guy and a cone in the road. I slow to make the turn, but managed to catch a little gravel on the side of the road. No big deal, and i got going, but I had geared down too much, and when I mashed the was right at that instant when I thought "be easy on the pedals" that i heard the sound of a chain dropping off. Ack... OH well...I was going kind of fast by this i had to slow down, as there was no getting it back on from riding like i usually do. I stopped, and fixed it and got back on as quickly as possible. It was demoralizing...but then i decided I just had to go for it and salvage this thing. I managed to do so, and finished strong. The hill climb up was fine, I was mostly aero the whole way, and just got out of the saddle at the very top. I took my coach's advice and didn't blow up on the hill, and then used the last match for the acceleration to the finish. I can't wait to download my data!

Ended up in 8th place. Hopefully I'll collect up some photos at some point and can add them to this post.

Ciao--Stage 2 to come.

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