Sunday, May 8, 2011

SERC #4 Winder: Carey's Race Report

After Carly's pre-ride, I went out for mine.  Once again, I chose one gear too easy.  I guess this either means I am either getting stronger or I am underestimating my level of fitness.  I hope it is the first.  The course was 10.5 miles of fast, flowy, endorphin-inducing trail.  There were 4-5 short climbs spread throughout, 1 creek crossing, and the Monster Mile, which ran you through some tight, twisty stuff and several deep ditches.  Once ditch required some skillful braking so that you would not be pile-driven into the opposite bank.

Gearing up for the pre-ride.

After the ride, I changed my gear.  We then spent the rest of the evening playing Monopoly and relaxing in the rocking chairs at the Jameson Inn while Carly ran laps up and down the exterior corridor.

12 ladies lined up for the start.  I fumbled a bit at the start, my right foot not wanting to clip in, but managed to settle in behind the lead group of 4 which included Geri, Kim, Catherine, and Jamie.  The beginnning always hurts as I am spinning a 120-130 cadence to keep up with the leaders and their "road runner" starts.  But I know that eventually everyone settles down.  Kim attacked just as soon as we settled; knowing I could not sustain that tempo, I soon lost sight of her.  Catherine, Jamie, and I rode together for quite some time but once I realized I was going too easy, I passed them on a climb. 

Towards the end of the first lap, just before the creek crossing, I came upon several 40+ expert men.  The first couple passes went smoothly, but I got all stupid and squirrely passing the third man.  I attempted a pass between a tree and a grape vine and became a human slingshot!  The grape vine hooked my right bar end at a speed of about 12 mph, lifting my front wheel up in slow motion as it gave ... up to a point.  It then proceeded to sling me backwards with a rubber band effect, dumping me on my a$$ with the bike on top.  The crash probably took all of 3 seconds, but it felt like 30.

Catherine was right on my tail the whole time and was kind enough to stop and make sure I was o.k.  Kudos to her for being a class act!  I quickly rebounded and remounted; only my pride was hurt. Soon thereafter, I passed the guy again ... at a much more open spot.  Perhaps one day I will learn patience.

The second lap was pretty uneventful.  I finally managed to pull away from Catherine ... must of had something to do with the fact that she raced the Twilight Crit the night before.  This gal is gonna be super strong very soon!  I saw Mark walking his bike out of the woods; he didn't even give me the chance to pass him on the trail this race.

On the third lap at about the 2 hour mark, my legs began to bark on the climbs.  This race ended up being almost 30 minutes longer than the first two SERC races and I was feeling it!  With the legs being heavy, I soon found myself settling in behind the expert men and riding their pace rather than pushing my own.  Funny how your mind wanders when the fatigue monster is on your back.

I still managed to finish second, 1:30 behind Kim.  Seeing how it is still early in the season, I feel pretty confident that I can improve upon my XC race pace single speed sustainability

photo courtesy of Carly Lowery
YABA did an awesome job of getting the trail in prime condition.  They even pressure washed  the slab of rock in the creek crossing to clear of it algae that would have ruined the day for many racers.

Carly and I could not do these races together had it not been for our awesome pit crew.  Thanks Mom and Doug ... you guys managed to learn a thing or two from TransRockies. 

Love you, Mom!

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