Saturday, August 25, 2007

A FLAT way to end the season?

Well, I completed my first 3's road race! The good news is that I felt like I belonged in my new category. The bad news is, I have no good results to show for my nearly 70 mile effort today! I can't even report on exciting sprint finishes, or how anyone else did, because I don't know! So before I go into this, I'll report on what I do know about the race.

I believe there were 19 starters...300-319 they said at the start. This was a 3's only race, a rarity in the so-cal scene. However, this race seemed to be mostly nor-cal racers, as I recognized some of them from Kern, and met some from the blogosphere!
Metromint had at least 2, as did VeloBella, and EMC2 had 3 or 4! There were also a few other teams with at least 2 each. I felt mighty lonely all by myself. Right from the start one rider kept playing around at the front. We tried rotating a bit, and as luck would have it (I'm screaming at myself for this one...both times it happened--making newbie getting stuck out in front), the rotating paceline would miraculously end when I pulled through and started to softpedal, no one would pull through. Then I was left out in front. I think I must have had a sign on me that said 'first time cat 3,' and maybe people thought they could make me work without me realizing it? Anyway, I wasn't sure I even had the gas for a 70 mile race, so i did NOT want to be up front, especially when I wasn't even warmed up! So I started to ease up on the pace. I pulled off and slowed, and slowed, and still no one would go around me. Someone actually SAID to me "You have to make this a race!" and I was like "if you want a race then go around me...I'm not pulling this whole peoloton for very long...this is lap 1!" I was rather irate about the whole matter. There were lots of comments like that going back and forth, which is different from the 4s. Anyway, finally someone attacked, and we all sped up and got back into some form of organization. No one seemed to want to organize for very long. There were a lot of half-hearted attacks at the front, but nothing stuck. I mostly sat in, and rotated through as necessary. I was warmed up by the end of lap 1 and settling in. My lower back was feeling a bit sore going into lap 2, but other than that, I felt pretty fresh. The hammer gel flask was awesome...I'll definitely keep that in mind for future long races!

On lap 3 (I THINK it was lap 3...they all ran together at some point), speedy girl attacked right before the feed zone. I'm not sure if she considered it an attack or not, it could be as we were slowing down and preparing for the feed she just kept going...but she got a gap. It got to be pretty large at one point, and we discussed what to do about it. We didn't really do a great job of organizing through the rollers on the backside, and gained some ground but didn't catch. Finally someone went and attacked to try and bridge. I felt strong so I followed. I caught that girl, and the two of us brought speedy girl back. The three of us worked pretty good together for awhile, and we were caught by one other, so the 4 of us kept rotating through and worked hard. However, we started to tire, and again (need to ride smarter, I tell myself) I got stuck out in the front doing too much work. Eventually we slowed and were caught by the chasers. Then we were all together this point about 15 miles to go. Actually some people had been dropped off by this point. I'm guessing we were 12 strong or so. All was going well....on the one little hill on the flat part of the course I felt really strong. I spun up in the big ring and never had to stand. My legs were hanging in there. I powered over the climb strong, and then settled back in. The course was pretty flat in this section, and I was feeling like i was going to be in it at the finish!

When....I hear that familiar sound of a flat tire. Bummer!!!! I kept riding, as the leak was a sort of slow if I was going to will it away or something, but it was not to be. Pretty soon it was fully flat. "Flat" I call out, as I pull off and watch the lead group ride away. Bummer, says the metromint girl next to me. I'm sure I said a few choice words I probably should have kept to myself at that point. Thankfully I had put my CO2 and spare tube in my jersey, so I quickly changed the flat and chased. However, chasing in the last 10 miles of a long RR when you are 1 and they are 10 is just not really very fun or productive. I rode in strong, but very frustrated. I have no idea how I did...I was not realy in the mood to stay for results. I congratulated the girls around that I saw, and told them I had fun riding with them, but that was as much as I know about how the race ended. I don't even know who won!

So...another day, another bike race. I feel good about my race today, even though I'm sure I don't have a good finish to show for it. I rode strong, my fitness felt good, I learned some valuable lessons, I didn't crash or crash anyone else (although I think I did scare someone in the feed zone when someone cut me off and I subsequently did NOT hold my line--sorry!!!!).

Anyway, I think that was my last RR of the I have to wait till next year to redeem myself. But I'll be there, ready to go as always!

It was really great to meet fellow bloggers today! Cyclistrick and Ms. were awesome when I was nervous getting ready. Alicat, it was fun to race with you--maybe you know how things ended up because if I recall you were right in the thick of it all. Aufderbach...hope your race went well..was good to meet you in the port-a-potty line... Hope you all had a good time today!!

Till next time!


Chester said...

sounds fun! congrats on your first 3's RR. WHat a bummer about the flat. Like you said theres always next year.

alicat said...

Great job ion your first race as a 3 and bummer about the flat as you definitely looked strong. I ended up with 2nd...Rick has the finish photo on his blog.

And about the pulling. In my opinion we were never doing a rotating pace-line, although a few of the newer 3s seemed to think we should. It's a race, so there's no need for pacelining, unless a group in a break is trying to increase the length of a break or the pack is trying to catch a break. But even then, not everyone will pull, for all sorts of different reasons. BRIDGING to a break can be a lot more beneficial (especially without teammates) than pulling the entire pack to a break.

That's my 2 cents on that one. There's a ton to learn and I've really enjoyed the learning curve since upgrading at the beginning of this season. Keep asking questions and watching how the races unfold. You'll be great!

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

Alicat: Thanks for the comments. I agree completely about bridging, which is why I ended up doing just that (although I got a little help since I chased that other girl and then the two of us caught the girl up front). Having only raced less than a year, every race is a huge learning experience for me...

And HUGE CONGRATS on your 2nd place finish! Thats awesome!!!

dr-nitro said...

I saw ya going through San Ardo with a tube hanging out your jersey. Bummer. You need to put that engineering mind to making uber light, uber low rolling resistance, uber puncture resistant tires. You can't be having mechanicals stopping you from zipping through the 3's like you zipped through the 4's.

Actually saw ya eating Mex food afterward, but I did not want my SLO mates see me mingling with the SB crowd. We're very cliquey that way.

Me and another Poly prof are actually talking about doing a SB trip and spinning up Gibralter before the quarter lands on us. If you're not to cliquey to ride with CSU types, maybe you'd like to join us. I'll have to get a hold of that Marco character too, so I can watch his skinny legs spin away from me.

Anyway, good job this season. Catch your breath (without sucking in all the bad air down there) and attack it again next year.

CyclistRick said...

Hey Kim, good to talk to you. You did look good and strong both as you came through the feed zone. Was really thinking you would be in that final sprint. Flats are a bummer, and that area has a nice load of goatheads that seem to find one at the worst time. Great season, good job on the race, get some rest and we will see you on the circuit next year.

chatterbox said...

Kim - you did great! It is a relatively flat race, but with 70ish miles, it is not easy. I was so happy to see you still hanging in at the start of lap 3. You will get them next year when you don't have a flat!

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

San Ardo is one of my favorite races. it's NOT easy if you decide to be a factor in the race, going with moves, making your own, initiating attacks, etc.

Sounds like you were having an excellent day, making do with what the race would give you. that was a very smart move to go with late in the race and it's a shame that ya'll were brought back ... but, one thing i've come to know about both men's and women's 3/4 racing is that the average speeds can be quite, quite high.

everyone chases, but everyone doesn't realize that they could be using that energy in attacks and breaks to increase the chances of better placings and ...gasp, more enjoyment. it's always fun to be at the front of the race!

still, it's stuff that is learned with more racing. the 3's who showed up at Ardo this year were strong - so, you should definitely feel good about your performance.

Well done, young Jedi! and congrats on one helluva good first year of racing. impressive.

CyclistRick said...

doc kim - here is a blog report to which you can relate. Note that the wheel support did not help him much at all ...

Auffderbach said...


Nice meeting you, too. My race was a blast though I didn't finish up where I had hoped to...had a mechanical and got dropped but then
me and two others from my group got swept up by the 3's who were also passing the 5's so we jumped in and did almost two laps with the 5's. Not as fast as the 55plus
but alot more action!

I thought I might see you at Santa
Cruz on Sunday. That would have been a good race for you.

Maybe next year.

Have a good off season.