Monday, January 28, 2008

Southern Nevada Stage Race Report

The Crit

The wet Road Race

The Time Trial

Stage one: Time Trial. We arrived at the TT start in the middle of nowhere, 20 miles North of Las Vegas. I met some of my teammates on the Ski Utah Cycling team and borrowed a jersey from Brandi. The TT started with a great tailwind and a down hill. I felt good and just kept my heart rate right at my LT of 174. I knew if I pushed harder I wouldn't be able maintain my speed. I got passed by 3 other women but I could still see that I was gaining on some that were ahead of me. My results weren't great 15th out of 16th, but I wasn't too disappointed. I was just so happy to actually be riding outside!

Stage Two: Criterium. I have to admit, I was so nervous. This was my first crit since my crash at RMR. I rode the first two laps hanging off the back and riding my hoods. The two things I knew I shouldn't be doing. Finally I relaxed enough to get in my drops and I started concentrating on how to do my turns. I managed to stay with the pack for the entire race although I kept drifting back every time we went through the gate. (I was scared of the stupid potholes after the fence.) I got dropped on the sprint finish. I felt like I should have been able to push harder but my nerves just wouldn't let me. I think the next crit will be better. I've at least made it over that mental hump.

Stage Three: Road Race. After a beautiful day for the crit we woke to pouring rain. At 8:20 we were off. My legs were instantly on fire as we started climbing and didn't stop for 9 miles. I got dropped pretty quickly and it took about 20 minutes for the burning in my legs to stop and for me to get into a groove. I rested a bit on Brandi's wheel and that seemed to help. We worked together for a little while but as we turned into the headwind Brandi seemed to lose her power. She had done a lot of extra riding that weekend and was into overload. The climb started to feel good as I found my rythm and listened to the raindrops tapping on my helmet. Then I was at the top. I started descending and quickly I lost what body heat I had generated on the climb. I was soaked to the bone and with the cold wind blowing on me it wasn't long before I could no longer feel my fingers or toes. The clouds were so thick I couldn't see where the road was going and I couldn't do much to scrub my speed. I seemed to just careen faster down the hill with each turn. It seemed that the descent would never end. I was so scared!! Mentally I broke down and let my imagination get the best of me. I could just imagine the damage the road would do to my body if I crashed at 45 mph. By the time I reached the bottom I was shaking. Partly from the cold and partly from being scared. I saw Sam's van and it was the out I needed. Part of me wanted to do the climb back up but I knew there was another long descent after that and I just couldn't bear it. So I abandoned. I beat myself up about it all day. Two DNFs in my last two road races. I just so want to be back to where I was.

Overall it was a good weekend. It was nice to get away and it was a good gauge of how far I need to go in the next couple of months, both physically and mentally. I am very excited about my new team. Everyone was very nice and welcoming and our team really looked top notch. Check out the great pics.


Rio's Rider said...

Aww, Shanna! I'm sorry about the DNF. But, keep in mind that you were there for training only, and you got a lot of good training in. At least you went down and did it. That RR sounds like it was pretty horrible and defeating.
Thanks for the race report.

Downhilldiva said...

It's ok. It was good for me. My forearms are still sore from that harrowing descent. Looks like I have some upper body work to do. Hopefully I'll be able to head to Phoenix in a couple of weeks to give it another try.