Friday, September 25, 2009

Hermann Under the Lights

Thursday I headed down to Forest Park for cross practice. Jamie, one of my teammates, said she’d meet me there to give me some tutoring on mounting/dismounting. I got there a little early and road around the area a bit, just trying to get use to the bike handling, etc. There were a few guys there already, so I watched them as they went over the barriers. I got a handle on the basic idea of dismounting and tried it a few times, very awkwardly.
While I was waiting for Jamie, Cory showed up. Cory did a great job of walking me through the mechanics of what I needed to do. I started to feel more comfortable with what she was showing me and rode a few complete laps on the course. Carrie and Jamie got there and gave me great tips and advice as well.
Saturday we headed to Hermann for the race. I was excited to race this event because it had an actual beginners’ women’s race. I rode the course three or four times prior to the start, falling on my first time through trying to get my left foot out before the barrier. The course had three technical turns, the first banked high the left. The back straight away was flat and asphalt, and right after the start/finish was a set of concrete stairs.
We were lined up behind the beginner men, I had registered in time to get a front row starting spot. The start line was actually parallel to the finish and added a 180 with a high right bank. The whistle was blown we were off. I fell behind going around the first turn. We got to the stairs, I dismounted without a problem and headed up the stairs. I made up a lot of ground on the stairs, I remounted and was off. The first and second loops were pretty uneventful. I stayed close to the fourth and fifth place women. On our third lap, the two women in front of me passed the third place woman and got a bit of a gap on me. I looked down at that point and realized how high my HR was. I tried to work on breathing, but couldn’t get it below 180. I stayed right on the fifth place woman through the technical pieces and the barriers. I caught and passed her on the back straight right before the start/finish. I got up the stairs and realized that I had put a pretty good gap on her. There were two laps to go and I wanted to concentrate on getting up with riders three and four. I caught up with them near the barriers and stayed with them until the asphalt section. They got away from me there. On the last lap, I was just behind them going up the stairs. I stayed with them until the last barrier. I dropped my bike when I was jumping over it and they got away from me. I got back on and finished hard. I think I was about 20-30 seconds behind 3rd and 4th place.
I know I need to work on being quick off the start and the remount still.

IL State TT--September 5...A real goat rodeo

Race day was a beautiful. Temperatures were cool and there was a slight breeze. We got to Harvard and went to check-in. I stood in line 20 minutes waiting to just pick up my number and I was fourth in line. I finally got my number and pinned it on. Sam had my bike ready and I headed out for a warm-up. I rode about the foirst five miles of the course. IT appreared to be flat, but there actually was a slight grade in place…of course uphill on the way back. I knew I would be hating that!
I got back to the start/finish and sucked down my GU and got in line. I was feeling good. My time at the start line came and off I went. I was in the right gear and felt like I was flying the first quarter of the course. My speed averaged about 22-23 mph and I was holding a cadence of 100+.
About seven minutes in, I added a gear and was able to still hold a mid 90s cadence. I got passed right after that like I was sitting still. The guy had actually started three behind me!
A little past the 10K mark, the course turns began. This was a looped course instead of a straight out and back. After the second turn, my fleetness disappeared. I had heard this course’s pavement was rough, but rough doesn’t do it justice. Over the next five miles, I checked at least four times to make sure I didn’t have a flat. My cadence was the same, but the perceived effort went up and my speed DROPPED. I kept myself going through lots of self-talk and small incremental goals. Finally, I saw the turn for the smoother pavement.
I saw the cones for the 10K turn-around (juniors and masters) and kicked up my efforts. I kept going and hit the nasty little uphill grade with about three miles to go…so I thought. My legs screamed at me, but I pushed through. I saw the 30K mark hit and pass on my computer and still didn’t see the finish line. ARRRGHHH! Just one more unorganized component of this goat rope of a race. I kept everything ramped up and kept going. Finally, after two more miles, the I crossed the line. I was estatic to be finished.
I placed 5th for Cat 4. I was happy with the effort I was able to give, but disappointed in my time and place. I hate that this was the last race of the season and didn’t end on a high note.

Druber's TT Challenge August 24

A little behind with posting reports:

Sunday started early for us—on the road by 5AM. It was an easy drive for me because I got to cat nap until the sun came up.
We got to Tolono a little before eight and picked up our race numbers. I was surprised at how few racers there were. Sam got the bikes ready and we headed out to preview the course. I was glad I had packed my arm warmers because it was chilly. The warm up was good, the course was mostly flat, but there were a lot of false flats along the way. I was disappointed that I still wasn’t getting a cadence reading on the bike but figured if I should know the feel of what I needed to do.
We rode out about 15 minutes. The roads were smooth and had little to no traffic. When we turned around to head back, it became very clear that the wind would play a role on the second half of the race.
We got back and were Gu-ing when Sam realized he had a flat. Of course he was too hard headed to just switch wheels, so I went to line up while he changed his tire.
Everyone in the starting order was friendly and chatty. Some guy swore we’d met because I rode for Veloforce and he went to Heather’s wedding. Whoever Heather is…
The race got started about 10 minutes late. I was 9th in the order. There was one guy between Sam and me and a girl behind Sam, so I was hoping I had a good chance of not being passed a lot. I rolled up to the line and happily accepted a holder. What a change eight months has made! The official blew the whistle and I was off. I was in the right gear and got rolling well. My heart rate skyrocketed off the start, so I spent the first two miles concentrating on my breathing and getting it into check. I felt great and was holding a 21+ speed with a nice effort. Around that time, out of nowhere it seemed, the guy behind me flew past. WTF!!! It usually takes seven minutes or so. I did a little self talk and kept pedaling. The organizer had a lot of volunteers stationed along the course so it periodically there were cheers from various folks. I finished the first quarter and felt good. I kept telling myself to keep my pace and effort steady.
Before long I started seeing the riders on the way back. I was close to the cone. I felt much steadier on the turn around this race—more comfort on the bike. There was some loose rock and my rear wheel skidded a bit, but I kept it up right and kept going. As predicted, the ride home was hard. The wind was a killer—either straight on head wind or a diagonal head wind. My speed dropped but I concentrated on keeping my cadence up. I ended up dropping into my small ring about 1.5 miles into the return. I maintained my speed when I did it, but it was much easier on me. 40-50 minutes in to the race were the most difficult, mentally more than anything. During that ten minute span, I was passed six times. I felt like I was sitting still. When I hit the three quarters mark, I popped back into the big ring and pushed as hard as I could to hold it. This was also the false flat uphill section of the course. I just kept my head down and kept going. The finish line finally came into view and I gave all I had. When I looked at the time, I really pushed to try to get in under 1:10:00. I didn’t quite make it, but I was happy with the improvement over Jeff City.