After a couple weeks with no real bike racing to report on, there was finally a race! I kind of think my legs thought the season was over, though, and decided not to show up! At least that's what it felt like....
So I did the women's 4's. I was hoping it would be my last race in the 4's, and I was hoping for a good result. Unfortuantely life sometimes throws punches we don't expect....and the week ended up involving a lot more stress, and a lot more driving (and a lot less riding) than I would have hoped for. I had not ridden MOnday, did a brisk group ride (40ish miles) Tuesday, and then didn't get on the bike at all Wednesday or Thursday, and Friday was so smoky/ashy that all I did was 40 minutes easy, with a couple of sprints in there to remind the old legs what to do.
So Saturday comes around, and off I go to the bike race. It was a womens 1/2/3/4 race, witht he 4s scored separately. I have been riding strong lately, so my goal was to hang with the lead pack as long as I could, and try to get in a break with some other 3's if there were any. That plan was derailed though, when I realized that the numbers were not different for the 3s or 4s or 1/2's, so there was no way of knowing who was who (and since I'm still a 4, I don't know that many of the 3's racers yet)... So the race starts and I sit in and ride. And that lasts for about 1 lap! Ack. The second time around, I just did a stupid move on the first descent into a corner. I was too far back, and I got caught behind one of the many many girls who wants to slow down to turn corners. I was mentally kicking myself, as descending and cornering is one of my favorite things, and I'm pretty confident in my ability to push the envelope with out violating CL rules... Anyway, someone attacked out of the turn, going into the windy flat section, and I was dropped. Sigh. I kept on motoring, and caught on with 2 other girls of a similar fate. They wanted to work together, so we rotated through, and rode hard, and ended up catching back on the leaders when going through the feed zone. That was nice. However, the next time around, I again get shelled. My brain was just not with me today--i was thinking about other things, and was just not riding aggressivly. I had poor positioning and it showed, and I was pretty mad at myself. This lap, there were then 5 of us in our little group. We got organized, and did a pretty good job of working together. On this lap, I finally was feeling strong, and I pulled the whole group up the long climb. My climbing legs finally showed up ( a little late!)... Then it was the final lap. We were all 4s in my group, and I didn't think there were more than 2-3 4s up the road, so this was going to be a race! We pacelined through the windy backside, and then we climbed. I held someone's wheel up the climb this time..time to start chilling and recovering for whatever sprint was going to happen in this little chase group. I was starting to cramp at this point (I think it was from not drinking enough--I didn't have a feeder so I was stuck with the water I could carry), and was really worried, as I've never cramped before in a race!
So...we start to come up to the finish and of course no one wants to be in front. I was nicely tucked in on a good wheel, and I thought she would make a move, I could take her wheel, and then pop around at the finish. But when it got to 150m to go, she wasn't going! Now I know I've got a pretty good sprint, so I decide its now or never, and make the move and go for broke. I jump and get around her easy, and pull away. Looks like I pulled it off. I stand up out of the saddle to crank, and my calf completely cramps up! The bike bobbles, and I feel the intense pain, but I was like, I"m not losing this sprint after all that work! So i will my leg to keep working and I push it over the line, about 6 inches in front of the next girl. Whew! So although I had a completely crappy race, at least I got to work with some nice girls, and get a good workout! I ended up getting 4th (I think...the results took so long that I gave up and went home!). Not the result I was after, but oh well. Some days are like that.
Today, I woke up and went down to Sunday Worlds (our local brisk sunday ride) and rode strong. My legs had come back! And I was able to hang with the guys, and do work, and push, and do just fine! So who knows what was up yesterday....
On a good note, my friend Carissa (who is super strong and almost never races) won the 4s race, and hung with the 1/2/3's the whole race yesterday! So all was not lost. And my teammate Susie also had a great first race as a 3, and finished top 10.
Maybe next weekend in San Luis my legs will show up....we can see!