Ride Hard....Roll Fast

My adventures as a triathlete, Mountain Biker and aspiring bike racer.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pedal Shop Chicks Sweep Wakefield!

The final Wednesday as Wakefield was an exciting way to end the series!

I only got to race twice this summer in the 4 race series, due to other commitments. The previous race (1st in the series) was a disappointment when I broke my chain on the first lap. I went into this one still nursing my sprained ankle, but just looking to finish and get in a good workout. Famous last words coming from an uber-competitive type-A, right?

The two other Pedal Shop/Old Dominion girls in my class (Kat and Amy) are wicked fast, so I knew I would never be able to ride with them. After climbing the cruel hill at the start of the race I stayed on their wheels as long as I could, but lost them before the end of the river trail. Was able to hold onto 3rd through the first lap, which was cool because then I thought we could sweep the class (there were two more riders behind me). Coming out of the river trail on the second loop, I get passed by the then 4th place rider, so now I'M in 4th and I basically give in, figuring I'll hold my pace and I've probably already put a pretty good distance between me and 5th...I'll just sit in and try not to come in last. It wasn't even 10 minutes later before I start hearing gears switching and chains banging behind me; I look over my shoulder to see the next girl RIGHT there. Oh crap! No more being lazy! I spend the 2nd half of the 2nd lap working harder than I planned to ride to stay in front of her, and by the end of the 2nd lap, I can't see her anymore and figure I again must have a pretty good lead. As soon I come around into the start of the third lap (right as you duck into the single track), my teammate Lewis, who wasn't racing, tells me I've only got 21 seconds to 3rd place and to ride my ass off. Of course, that's really all I need to light the fire, and off I go. So now it's getting dark and I'm having trouble seeing in the woods, which made it all a little scary (those roots will come up out of nowhere!). The 5th place girl is on me the entire lap and it's all I can do to stay ahead of her. We yo-yo'ed the entire 3rd lap; I felt like I was riding for my life...after all that effort, I did NOT want to come in last! She's RIGHT there when we come into the woods by 495 for the last 2-3 minutes of single track, and I know if I biff or miss anything, she's going to have an opportunity to shoot around me. Of course, we have that lovely creek crossing there at the end (and what I consider the hardest technical section on the course)...right before we get to it, we pass the 3rd place girl with a mechanical. Not exactly the way I wanted to pass her, but hey, that's mountain bike racing. So now I'm in third, and going for the sweep....4th is still right on my butt going into the creek. I get up and around the tight switch-back pretty clean...but man, she's still right there, so I have to throw it in the dog and just crank as hard as I can through the last hundred feet and to the road to sprint to the finish line. It was crazy. Didn't intend to ride that hard, and certainly went faster than I ever have on that course. Ankle is a little swollen and sore, but otherwise, holding up fine!