Sunday, March 11, 2012

Race Report: The Great Forest Park Bike Race 2012

This is the least technical course we see all year. It's almost completely flat and only has two real turns in it.  The weather wasn't nearly as pretty today, the sun was hidden and there was a nice little wind.  Amy and I did some efforts in the park and I spun around a bit more until race time. Today our field was 16 deep, a few different faces from yesterday.  I felt really, really good when we went to the line.  When the whistle blew I merged to about third wheel in the pack.  We formed up quickly and had a moderate pace on the back side.  Towards the end of that stretch, I took a little jump to see what would happen.  Caught immediately.  We went around two more times with some small attacks coming.  
In the mix.  Photo credit: Tony Lowther

Lap three right after the start finish I decided to really try.  I was sitting third wheel and had a clear line so I jumped...into the wind. I'm guessing I wasn't geared heavy enough because within a few pedal strokes I lifted my rear wheel off the ground. I sat down and kept pushing.  Chris, Pam and Ashely were with me.  Pam tried to organize us to get the break to stick, but no such luck. We were reeled in by the time we got back to the start/finish. About 18 minutes in we got the first prime.  We slowed way down and I positioned myself near the front again.  I had no real interest in it, but knew Carrie was entirely capable of taking it and staying away.  We turned the last corner and the pace ramped up but no one jumped until about 100 meters out.  Carrie and Ashley took off. I stayed with them but didn't even attempt to match their sprint.  We came back together on the back side and went around again.  Teresa pulled up alongside of me and I asked her how she was feeling.  She said she felt good and I told her I did too.  I nodded at her and jumped.  This time I had the right gear and got off and away.  No one was with me, which was good and bad.  I was adding ground until I hit the wind. It was there I needed someone to trade pulls with.  I got pulled back in at about the spot where I originally jumped.  Within two laps we had another prime bell.  It set up much the same as the first until the very end.  There were about four girls sprinting it out.  For a quick minute I thought they were going to get away, so I pushed and worked to bridge up to them.  By the time we were crossing the bridge they had let up though.  
Team work! Photo credit: Tony Lowther
From there until one to go we would have a couple of attacks attempted every lap, each eventually pulled back.  On the bell lap I was sitting in a poor position, I was about third wheel, but in the center of the pack.  I knew it would be impossible to get a good sprint from there.  I waited for any opportunity to move and got it on the backside.  I eased up and slid behind Heather and around to the outside.  The pace picked up as we moved through the false flat and into the final turn. The pace slowed and then revved up, but again no one jumped.  Finally Carrie made her move.  Ashley and Britta and several others were right with her.  This time I didn't need incentive to sprint.  I jumped and spun and added gear.  I pulled alongside Britta and got her by inches on the line for third.  

All-in-all I feel really good about the weekend's races.  I was very happy with my ability to recover today.  I need to still work on my sprint and on timing...endurance too if I ever think I'll make a solo break stick ;-)

Race Report: Carondelicious Circuit

The Carondelet course has several gentle climbs and only two real corners. The challenge for me at this course has always been the uphill finish. 

It was sunny and mid 40s yesterday. I got to the park and warmed up on the road with Amy and Vanessa. We were going to have four Big Shark women in the field. There were 15 women in the race, most of them very strong. We got instructions and the whistle and I decided to lead us out hot.  I settled in and decided to fade into the pack on the backside downhill. It wasn't long after that the attacks started. While no one ever got away for long, the surges were pretty steady throughout the race.  I would say about five or six girls kept mixing it up and trying to make something go.  I worked at staying near the front of the field.  I did my fair share of responding when a girl would try to make a go at it.  
Photo credit: Kelly Croy Patty

Sitting pretty.  Photo credit:  Kelly Croy Patty

Grab a wheel!  Photo credit:  Kelly Croy Patty
There were two prime laps in the race, and as is typical, the pack slowed way down when we got a bell and worked for position as we moved around.  I didn't make a serious move for either prime, but rather stayed up front in case someone wanted to try to turn it into a break.  At three to go things settled down a little and the paced slowed to moderate.  Vanessa tried to go off the front with two to go but was quickly brought back.  On the last lap, Amy ramped up the pace and the pack went with her.  I moved in and grabbed her wheel and hung tight.  Vanessa was on my left. We made the last turn to the hill to the finish and Amy glanced back at me.  I heard someone behind me start to add gear so I jumped.  The sprint was on. Chris, Ashley, Rachel, and someone else pulled away.  I was still in the saddle, but upping my cadence.  Britta came alongside of me and that gave me the oomph to sprint.  I was up and out. I pulled back ahead of her to cross the line in 5th.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Race Report: Eagle 5K Sprint

I decided since the race was in Columbia that I would run to the race as my warm up.  It's about 1.7 miles to the high school, so it's a perfect distance.  I felt great on the warm up.  The sun was out, the wind was light and the temps were in the low 30s--perfect running weather.

Within a few minutes of getting there, I ran into my Wednesday night ride group.  There are three ladies in the group who are really fast runners so I knew I would be challenged in the race.  Right before we lined up, they described the coursed--It would have three hills on the way out and two on the way back, and go right by my old house.

Toni and I moved to the very front of the group.  There were about ten middle and high school boys standing on the front line already.  The horn blew and I took off working to move my way around the kids.  Within 150 yards I hit the first hill and I continued to move up, trying to find someone to pace.  We turned into the park and headed over past the pool.  A guy passed me and I worked to stay with him for a while, but when we crossed Main Street I couldn't sustain his pace.  From there it was down into my old neighborhood.  

Right after my old house, my watch beeped for mile one.  No looking--keep pushing!  On the third uphill on the way out, Dana caught me.  I moved in behind her and let her take me to the turnaround.  She took water at the aid station and walked.  I chose to keep going.  When I turned I saw that Toni wasn't that far behind either.  

I was about .2 miles past the turn when Dana and Toni caught me.  I was very tired at that point but continued to fight to stay with them.  As we went back past my house, Toni started to pull away.  I didn't have it to stay with her.  Dana and I stayed together up the final hill and across Main Street.  It was on the downhill she pulled away and I had to let her go.  

Knowing the roads so well, I knew exactly how far I had left to run.  If I could maintain the effort through the park, I could manage the downhill and finishing straight.  My chest was burning at that point.  Tennis courts --- done.  Baseball field ---done!  There was the downhill.  I could see Toni and Dana near the bottom.  Push, push, push. I made the left into the park lot and saw Toni finishing.  I gave my last effort and worked to close in on Dana.  I wasn't able to do it.  Toni finished in 22:00, Dana in 22:21, and me at 22:25.  I was third out of 151 women and 16th overall for 360 runner.  That's :16 seconds faster than the February 5K on a much more challenging course--pretty happy with it.  Plus for me it was staying with Dana and Toni--when I started running/riding with this group, I was no where close to their league.
Race bling!  Woot!  I'm pretty proud of this one.

Bella and Boo with their race bling.  The princess is going to be a heck of a runner someday.