Monday, June 30, 2008

Gate City Grind

These are the only 2 pictures I got before my batteries died. More coming soon that I'll steal from BG, James and Rios.. . .

This is Kara trying out her new Lithia saddle in the hotel room. Sitting on it wasn't enough so I snapped her picture as she rode across the room (I was laying on the bed). I'm not sure why she was brushing her teeth at the time!

The race. . .

Stage 1 17 mile circuit- 2 laps

This looked like a great course for me- except for the 2 hills in each lap. I knew if I could just hang on through those four climbs I'd be in the sprint finish. The pack took off right from the get go with 14 Cat 4 women, 2 juniors and Margaret racing 35+.

As we started the first climb the juniors started squabbling with Jamie. Kara saw the opportunity and broke away, keeping the pace high up the hill. We caught her on the gradual descent and Jamie immediately countered. Ski Utah organized, got on the front and blocked. Melanie from WW attempted to bridge and the rest of the field followed. As soon as Melanie pulled off looking for some help the pack immediately slowed. It seemed no one else wanted to do the work. It quickly became evident that we wouldn't even have to get up front to block because Jamie was easily getting away as the field panicked if they weren't on a wheel. This pattern continued with Melanie working her buns off up front with no help. Finally, she pulled off and yelled, "work like you want 1st place!"

After 10 miles alone Jamie slowed and let the pack catch her on the climb. After strategizing with Margaret she pulled up next to me and told me I was going to attack at the top of the climb at the turn. Since I was too hypoxic to talk I just nodded my head. I was really thinking about puking not attacking. I had managed to stay in the pack for 3 climbs. We made the turn and I went. Not hard like an attack should be. It was weak but my team was sitting three abreast slowing the field. Damn them! I was so tired I really wanted to be caught. Finally Diane jumped and caught me. As she zipped past me bringing the field with her she said, "we're not going to let you do that again!" I am assuming that she was referring to Bear Lake. No worries. I surely didn't have 10 mile TT in me. I was just hoping to hang on for the next climb.

With me caught Margaret and Kara launched the next counter attack. Melanie popped off the back this time. I hung on for the rollers and tried to gain as much momentum as I could for the short steep climb. I had made it through all four climbs. Now I just needed to recover for the sprint finish. As usual with a couple of miles to go the field got antsy. This slowing allowed Mel to catch us. By this time we were down to only 9 riders. Just before the 200 meter mark Margaret shot up the right side and headed for an early sprint. It paid off. She crossed the finish line first. I tried to grab her wheel but was cut off by one of the 15 year olds. I managed to find a new line and crossed the line in 5th. At least I wasn't down any time going into the TT.

Stage 2- 6.4 mile TT

Kara, Kris and I were all a little crabby. None of us like TTs, especially in the heat. So when Kris said her coach told her she needed to warm up for 45 minutes Kara replied with, "maybe if your coach was out here in 104 degree heat racing against 15 year olds he could tell you what to do."

Let's just say despite a good warm up on my part, my legs felt like lead and my HR wouldn't go up. I lost 2 minutes on GC.

Stage 3- Super cool crit course

Oooooh I was so ramped up for this course. Jamie was 1 second in the lead on GC. We had big plans for attacking, making the field work, and setting her up for the time bonus priem as well as the win. I couldn't wait to be up front flying through the turns, standing and pedaling out of each turn and thinning the field. Sometimes the body just doesn't cooperate.

Immediately off the finish line I could see the girl second in GC powering up. I wasn't going to let her go so I jumped and got a good gap. The field caught pretty quickly and up the hill Diane attacked. I slid to the back of the pack and hung on for a few more laps before the accordian effect finally blew me off the back. I worked with some other dropped riders but I was no help to Jamie. Margaret managed to stay up front to help and win the prize priem of a floor pump. Jamie got the time priem for a 10 second bonus but she sprinted in at 3rd for a second place GC finish. Still it was a pretty nice race for her last event as a Cat 4. We'll miss having you in our field, Jamie! Tear up the 1/2/3s!

I finished 9th in the GC. Maybe 8th if I'd bothered to protest my crit results. But after sitting under the Reynolds tent helping the team to finish off 2 coolers full of beer I didn't really care anymore. Overall, it was a fun, exhausting, great weekend. Way better than pulling weeds huh Rios?

1 comment:

Asta and Blair said...

wow! Reading this is so inspiring! You are amazing! Congrats on your finishes too!