Sunday, October 7, 2012

Race Report: Veldrijden Columbia 2012

I was so excited that this race got moved earlier in the season.  Last year it was after state and the turn out was light...such a shame because the venue is so awesome!

I got there early and pre-rode the course before the first race started. We had had a good rain the night before, so I knew we'd have some mud.  The course was very similar to last year.  The major change was that the sand pit was out (yeah me!), but after the single track section, there was a bit of climbing added.  Overall, a good course that suited me well.  I warmed up around the park and felt pretty good going to the line.  My only concern was the amount of guys I had seen flatting out in earlier races.  I had a bike in the pit, so while I might be delayed I flatted, I wouldn't be out totally.  And I knew what to look out for after rolling my tire on this course last year.

Unfortunately there were only three ladies (Cat, Allison) in the Open race.  The whistle blew and we were off.  Cat jumped out early and I was right behind her.  I couldn't get clipped in and my right foot kept slipping.  I finally got settled, but Cat had a little gap.  We circled around to the drop in for the first single track section.  With the rain it was slick, but not sloppy.  The drop in was short and turned hard left with tree roots all around.  I rode my brakes through it and stayed up.  Allison was behind me and ran it.  I heard her say "Come on Suzanne."  I guess she got momentum going faster than me.  I came up out of the woods and went after Cat.  I kept her in my sites through the barriers and next single track section.  We started the climb.  It went up, 180 down and 180 back up before a 90 turn.  I went too wide on the down hill turn and broke the tape.  I just kept going and headed up and across the hill and waited until Allison was right there and went back on with a smaller gap than I had on her before.  We headed back to the third wooded section and the tough hill.  Last year the hill was a hard climb, but doable.  With the soft ground and mud I had already decided it would be a run up this year.  It's the spot where I made up the most ground every lap.
Few things make me smile like splashing through a creek! *Photo credit: Mike Dawson
I knew I was closing ground on Cat.  We ran the stairs and headed to start finish and back around.  This lap I was much cleaner dropping into the woods.  I rode much more aggressively through the single track and rode the 180s on the back hill cleanly.  We hit the run up and I knew Cat was catchable.  I remounted the bike and headed across and down to the stairs. I shouldered the bike and ran hard.  I caught and passed her about three steps from the top.  I put my head down and pedaled.  For the rest of the race I concentrated on riding clean and gaining daylight.  My lead grew as the race went on, but I knew a mistake would be costly.  We ended up doing five laps on the race.  With two to go, I was approaching the stairs and saw my sunshine.  Boo was at the bottom.  He started heckling me and telling me he could beat me up the stairs.  I could barely talk, but said "Bring it, little man!"  He did.  I passed the start/finish and Larry teased me with lap cards but finally flipped to 1.  I got to race my little man on the stairs again, and this time had Bella, fresh from cheer camp with her pon poms.  It was the best last lap a momma could want!
That's a winner! *Photo Credit: Dan Singer
It's the first time I've had a lead to hold for so long.  I never let up because I was fearful one of the ladies would get a second wind and close it down.  It was a fun course, great win.  My struggle for the race was my pedals.  I will be detailing my cleats this week to get the extraneous mud out of them.  I talked myself through though and just kept turning them over while I worked to clip in.
Podium shot with Allison & Cat.  *photo credit: Dan Singer

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