It just so happens that out of the few photos that Velonews took of the 10K, the only ones of the whole peloton featured me tucked in deep within the pack… in otherwords, invisible!
However, I did my share of workup front once the breakgot away… I’m the green blob near the front in these two photos…
Racing a 10k bike race is, well, almost fun.
We had a closed course that ran a 6.2 mile stretch of Atlanta’s Cobb Parkway (a littlebit like Germantown Parkway in Memphis, except with hills). I’m not gonna lie- the hills were intimidating when we drove the course. They weren’t particulatly steep, but they just looked BIG.
The start was down hill, and the first mile was sketchy. Everyone wanted a good position for the first hill, and a few of the girls threatened to put you into the curb if you tried to pass to the right side of the pack. I don’t really remember the middle few miles, but somewhere in there, three riders got off the front- a TIBCO rider (Lauren Franges), a Cheerwine rider (Robin Farina), and another rider (who I didn’t catch the team/name of).
The 3-person break started to dissolve, and I bridged to the latter mentioned rider. The TIBCO and Cheerwine riders remained away (but not together). I pulled through, and a couple in the pack were sort of trying to bridge, but didn’t seem too willing to put in a hard effort. I was close to the front, so when they pulled off and started looking for someone else to do the work, I attacked. Without looking back, I aimed for Robin’s rear wheel and started to reel her in. I caught her about halfway up the hill- she looked over her shoulder, looked at me, and said “GO.” I glanced back, saw that the pack hadn’t come with me, and went with all I had with Robin on my wheel. We made it under the 200m marker in 2nd and 3rd place (Lauren was too far ahead to catch). I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but at some point before the finish, the two of us were swarmed by the pack, and Lauren won the race. Robin ended up 18th and I was 21st.
I’ve never been that close to a podium in a big race. It’s a crazy feeling, and I’m looking forward to trying again. The highlight of my day was probably when Robin approached me after the race and complimented my effort. I’d rather try to go for the glory and get 21st than sit in the pack and finish a few spots earlier, so I am stoked to get the opportunity to go for it.
Photos are popping up on Velonews. I’ll post a few once I’ve found some good ones.
After I go for a ride in the morning, I’ll be heading off to Atlanta for my last NRC race of the season, the US 10k Classic
I’ve never been in a 6.2 mile bike race before, so I’m not too sure what to expect. All I know is that it’s going to be really damn fast, and I should sprint when I get to the giant chicken… updates to follow! Maybe even some more random car photos.
Recently, some of the other ladies I race with have done some pretty impressive things…
Racing with no other teammates, Debbie Milne (Probike) placed 8th in the Elite Road Championships. It makes me feel not quite so bad about how badly she beats me whenever we race.
On the MTB front, several riders from Vantaggio (in Chattanooga) went out to the Leadville 100 mile race. Paula Burks pulled off a top ten, and Gina Tolbert finished within the allowed time to get a sweet belt buckle!
Finally, Kirsten Sass (the most feared female on a time trial bike) placed second overall in a huge field of ladies at the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon.
Good job! You guys rock!
Oh yeah, and if I’ve left anyone out, be sure to let me know! I’m going off of rumors, word of mouth, etc…
This race was very important- not only for omnium points, but also for TBRA and Sew Series points.
The rain had been on & off all morning. The last turn on course was made of some weird faux brick material that was literally like ice once it got wet. There had already been multiple wrecks on it earlier in the day. It looked like it would be dry for our race until we lined up for the start, at which time a light rain settled in. Luckily, I avoided the first wreck of the day (in the 4th corner, of course), which allowed me to implement my strategy of counter-attacking the first prime sprint.
OK, I have to brag a little- it was textbook. Kym (from Vantaggio), and a couple of others sprinted. I stuck myself on a wheel… they sat up, I launched, and the rest was history. With the help of teammates Molly and Lee back in the pack, no one but Kym was wanting to work to catch me. I did my best 18 minute time trial, and ended up lapping the group with 3 laps to go. It was freakin’ awesome (and a lot of fun to watch the pack sprint play out from the back, knowing that they were sprinting for 2nd place :) )
The win moved me up to 2nd place for the Omnium (Flavia managed to hold on to her 1st place spot from the Saturday RR). Also, with Mary Mayhew not showing for the crit, my win put me ahead of her in the TBRA standings. It also prettymuch clinched my victory for the 1st annual SEW Series. Not a bad weekend!
Here are a few photos. As usual, Ryan will publish some more on his blog from the W1/2/3 race as well as a couple of the men’s races as well.
A couple of solo shots:
Pack Sprint (best view I’ve ever had):
Podium for the Omnium:
After a 40k, a 10 miler, and a 14 miler (in recent races), it was a relief to finally have a short time trial. The course was just under 4 miles and made a loop around the reservoir on top of Raccoon Mountain. There was one pretty good sized hill on course (near the start), but otherwise, it was flat/downhill.
I felt good from the start. Once I hit the hill, I decided I’d shift into my small front chainring. It helped me get up to the top without blowing my legs up, but, unfortunately, at the top, I had trouble getting it to shift back into the large ring (my fault- time to make some adjustments to the high limit screw). I quickly got it sorted out and went bombing down the other side of the hill. I was tempted to touch the brakes, but instead, forced myself to get back into the aero bars and slam the right shifter down as far as it would go (this resulted in speed in excess of 46mph- somewhere between scary and really fun). I got into a good rhythm along the next section of flat road, then made the final right turn for the mile-long stretch into Laurel Point park. It began with a short, steep downhill, which I ripped through as fast as my nerves would allow. The remainder of the course was a blur. I have to say, this course marks some of the highest speed turns I’ve ever made while remaining in my aero position. The results were great- I broke 9 minutes (8:57), and I won the TT by a little more than 15 seconds.
This moved me up from 6th in the Omnium standings to 3rd. Time for some criterium racing…
Race #1 is in the history books. I placed 6th out of 15. Not awesome, but there were some strong climbers in the group (and the race ends on a 3.5 mile jaunt up Raccoon Mountain). The Vantaggio gals- fresh off the singletrack of the Leadville 100 mile MTB race (where Paula landed a top 10 spot), rode with me for about half the climb before they decided that I was taking it too easy & left me in their proverbial dust (along with Kirsten Davis of Sorella). Flavia Lepine from Trek 19 won by a good margin- she’s about a buck 0-5 soaking wet with an anchor in her back pocket, so she flew up the hill and made us all hate life. I could not have climbed any harder. I literally almost fell off my bike at the top when my legs gave out (I managed to get off the road and sit under a tree for a few minutes while they quit hurting). Next stop- time trial! It’s short, so I’m looking to power through it as if I’m Kirsten Sass’s 30 second (wo)man.
Here are a few of my favorites. As always, you can see more at Ryan’s Photo Gallery
Ok, I don’t want to keep anyone waiting, so I figure I’ll post up a quick report then get some photos/details up sometime tomorrow :D
Saturday’s “warmup” race was awesome. Even at “just” 40 minutes + 1 lap, it was still tough (average speed 25.6 mph). I FINALLY feel good about being able to move up/hold position in the pack. I was able to hold on to 25th out of 75 starters. Not bad, considering the company was a good bit tougher than the last big races I went to in Tulsa. Oh yeah- one of the ladies that beat me was Lauren Edwards from Probike… she was 18th. In her first big crit. Ever. I predict that by next year’s race, she’s gonna be giving the pro ladies a run for their money.
Sunday was not quite so awesome. The race distance was 50K, and from the gun, went off faster than Saturday’s race (26.5 mph). The primes were big (some $100+ ones as well as a $500 mid-race leader award), which kept the field attacking up the long, uphill, headwind grade of the start/finish stretch. I was doing OK for the first few laps, but tired legs and a hard pace caused me to slip back little by little. By the time the mid-race prime came about, I was dangling off the back. It was that surge that took me (and Lauren) out. DAMNIT!!!!
I was pretty disappointed, but I’m not beating myself up over this one. Saturday I proved to myself that I can handle the pack. Both days proved to me that I just need to train hard and work my butt off so that I can put the pack handling skills to good use.
A few other random thought/highlights:
-Laura Van Gilder is just as intimidating in person as she looks like she would be in photos. The only thing that makes it OK is that I’m taller than her. We were lined up next to each other before one of the races, and I had an almost uncontrollable urge to squeeze her bicep.
-Even though Tina Pic didn’t win, I still think she’s more awesome than most women I’ve raced against.
- I had the chance to talk to Nikki Wangsgard about her partial sleeve (tattoo) that she keeps covered in races. Turns out I was right- the cover is for sun and road rash protection. It has nothing to do with sponsor obligations. (Yay for cool sponsors!!!!)
- While the pro men were lining up to race, I spotted Sergio Hernandez stretching with his foot up on his handlebars while one of his teammates jokingly poked him in the calf. I had to get in on the action, so I went over to the barrier and gave his calf a squeeze as well. It was nice.
- I’ll be back next year for more fun.
So yesterday I get an email from the team manager. He wanted to know if I can go to Downers Grove this weekend… to the National Criterium Championship. Well, I’d love to go, but it’s an 8.5 hour drive… and, well, as awesome as the Fit is on Gas mileage, it’s still pretty expensive.
Fast forward to yesterday evening. I post my predicament on the Road Bike Review message Forums in The Lounge, and almost immediately, one of the members took it upon himself to start a little gas money fund raiser. Less than 24 hours later- BAM- I got gas money! I can’t express how much I appreciate you guys!
So- now that THAT’S out of the way, I’ve got to get prepped for the most humongous race I’ve ever witnessed. Updates to follow…