Unfortunately, there isn't much to write about this past weekend's race in Chicago. I went down to race in order keep my fitness up and maybe improve my seeding at nationals. The course was great. It had snowed. There was mud, sand, and icy roots. In the 1,2,3 race there was a lot of pushing and shoving for position at and after the start, I think it was partly due to how slippery and technical the course was.
We had just about established a line when I heard a horrible noise. My rear brake was jammed into my wheel. I thought, that's weird and hopped off to pull it out and put the straddle cable back, but the arm where the cable engages was bent together. I spent about 3 minutes trying to pry it open and get the cable back in. It wasn't happening. By this time the 3's field had passed by me too. I made a lame attempt to ride with only the front brake and quickly found out that wasn't going to happen. All can I think of is that another guy must have rammed my brake in all the pushing.
I raced for a total of 3 minutes. Argh. With 3 weeks until nationals and no more races I can make, I am going to need some motivation to keep training to at least not lose any fitness.
Monday, December 12, 2011
After three weeks off of racing and more ground beef in a week than I think I have eaten in month for a few years, I wasn't sure what the race in Madison was going to be like. I wanted to race and I have been riding, but I haven't been able to push myself like I can during races.
Lauren opted out of coming to this race because it was real cold. Weather.com said it was 25 with a windchill in the teens at the start of our race. During the course preview and warm-up I felt pretty good though. The course was hilly and far from technical, although if we do get snow or ice for Nationals there are going to be some sweet crashes at the bottoms of the long hills with 90 degree right hand turns!
I knew I was dressed well for the race because I was freezing while waiting for the start. There were call-ups for this race according to registration and I got the last front row spot. Sweet! I had great start and by the time we hit the grass I was comfortably 5th wheel. They ran us with women 1,2,3 and for some reason started them first. This made no sense as we caught their entire field on the first big hill. That is where I lost contact with the lead group. I got pinched off on the steps by not one, but two ladies falling hard. As I dodged the first one to the left the other one went down in front of me. This allowed a 50 meter gap to open up to 4th wheel. I wasn't mentally in the race and let them go.
Half a lap later another rider caught me fast. I didn't even see him until he passed. I put some effort in to stay with him but settled back into my pace. Then another rider caught me half a lap later. I was starting to come around mentally so when he passed me I stayed on his wheel. We rode together for a lap and caught one of the lead riders who was falling back. When we passed him he hopped on too.
At this point two things happened. First, due to the routing of the internal housing of my front derailleur, after weekly bike washings enough water got into the housing to sit at the bend and freeze in the extreme temps. So I could shift into the big ring but not back down. I could kind of get it to work for the first few laps, but then it stopped. So once I got it back down, I left it down because of the hills. This made the loooong paved straight very hard when the two guys I was with were hammering in their big rings.
The second issue was in a super bumpy corner I got a little loose and started to go down. I couldn't get my foot out to stop the fall fast enough so I yanked my foot out of the pedal and slammed my knee into the end of my handlebar with the force. I had no power for a lap. So, due to the shifting and the knee both guys I was with took off for a lap. But mentally I was coming back around.
One guy smelled blood and hit it, so I never saw him again, but Chris wasn't feeling well. So after he got a gap he settled in again. I made solid contact with one to go. I had no choice but to throw it in the big ring on the flat to stay with him, and of course it wouldn't shift down again. After the flat I went around him and pulled him through the rest of the lap. At the finish I looked back with a little to go and Chris was about 50 meters back. So I pedaled hard, but I didn't sprint. Then I look back right before the line and he is right next to me! What a jump! He thought he had it and almost accidentally killed me with his celebration.
It was hard to say though if he did get me. He went through the line faster, but did he get there first? Well, the officials didn't think so and gave me the spot. I ended up 6th in a pretty good field of racers. My last lap I finally felt like was in it and racing. I still had some left too, I will have to adjust to the 45 minute races for the rest of the year after doing 60 minutes all season.
I'm still stoked to race this race year so maybe I can keep it going for Nationals. Next week, Afterglow cx in Chicago so I can keep the intensity up.