Ride Hard....Roll Fast

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

Monday, March 21, 2011

TT at Black Hills

Saturday was a beautiful day for a bike race. Managed to avoid the potential mid-March snow storm and ended up with a sunny, 55 degree, breezy day. I had to play double-duty for the day, being assigned with setting up registration details prior to race day. The morning was just like any weekday morning, with a 4:30am wake up call. (Guess that's the one GOOD thing that has come out of having to be at work at 5:30am.) I wasn't sure how it would all work out being a volunteer for the race and throwing a bike race in the middle. Event days are tiring, so I was hoping I wouldn't feel the fatigue when I went to toe the line.
With an hour to go before my start time, I did a quick costume change, switching from Bike Doctor to ABRT, and could finally focus on my race. It was great to finally have teammates, and I hooked up with Kristin, Sandy and Sara to warm up on the course.

I rolled into the staging area with nearly 50 other women (the 1, 2, 3 race was run at the same time as the 4's), which was awesome. The nerves were there, but it had been so helpful to have come out to the course the weekend before to preview with the Juniors. Having ridden the loop at least 20 times, I felt comfortable going into the day. There is nothing more nerve racking for me than having no idea what an element, like the "black hill", will feel like at speed.

We rolled out and I tried to move from my spot towards the back as far front as I could before we hit the hill (which was seconds away). I found a good position around mid-pack, picked a steady wheel, and hung on. By lap 3, the 1,2,3 (and fast 4s) group pulled away and I lost the wheel, dropping back by myself. The pack moved out of site and I rode a few hard laps, just waiting for the main field of 4s to catch me. After 2 more laps, I turned around and couldn't see anyone, although I know my very strong teammate Kristin was not far behind. Shocked that I hadn't been caught, but knowing there was no way I could catch up with the lead group, I had no other choice but to TT the last 6 laps, hoping I could maintain my lead on the rest of the 4s. The headwind and sideways breeze made it tough to be out there by myself, especially on the backside of the course by the water. Even tougher was the climb up towards the finish line. Much more fun to ride with a group and have the vocal support of spectators, even if they aren't cheering for you. Instead, I rode past groups of silent watchers - it was almost eerie. Maybe "you're almost there!" and "looking good!" didn't really apply. Fortunately, B, Pete and the rest of the Bike Doctor team were along the course working corners and directing traffic, so between them, Spencer and the ABRT Junior squad, I had some support :)

I was lapped by the lead group of 1,2,3 (and fast 4s) s with 2 laps to go, and got stuck in between them and the chase group. I finished strong, having maintained the gap on the rest of the 4 field, but know the official results are not completely accurate as to my final placing. For the first race of the season, I was happy to have finished well, and surprised myself with being able to TT that many laps on that kind of course. Last year, I would have had trouble staying motivated to push that hard for that long, by myself. Next time the goal is to NOT get dropped.

I am definitely looking forward to Jeff Cup next weekend, with a 4-only field and hoping for some more ladies to race with at Harwood.


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