Last weekend was my first stage race since my failed attempt at the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic as a Cat 4 in 1999 (I dropped on day 2). I raced the Enumclaw Stage Race in beautiful Enumclaw, WA (horse f*$%er country).
Saturday was a 10k (actually 6.5 miles) TT in the late morning and a 40 minute crit in the evening.
Lucy and I rolled up to packet pickup to find out that our start times had been pushed up about 20 minutes so we had to scramble to get dressed, pinned, and out to the TT start. Once we got out there I was unable to get air into my front tire. Travis and I both tried to get it to work to no avail and neither of us wanted to pull the valve extender off and screw with it anymore. Luckily my awesome teammate Tim came to my rescue and loaned me his HED Stinger for the race. I warmed up for approximately 3 minutes before heading over to the start tent.
I had never done a TT this short so I just pushed it until my lungs burned the whole time (this was not hard considering the heat and the pollen count).
The course was flat to rolling with one little kicker at around mile 4. I crossed the line in 15:08, comfortably over my goal pace of 25 mph although slightly slower than my reach goal of a sub-15:00 TT. This was good enough to win the Cat 3 TT by over 30 seconds!
After the TT, we had about 7 hours until the start of the crit. I hid out in a room in the hotel and studied while Lucy watched the crits.
It was still hot by the time the 1/2/3 crit started and I wasn't feeling super confident. Unfortunately, I got a really bad start position in the back of the pack and had to fight my way back on as girls were getting shelled.
The crit was like a 40 minute drag race. It made me realize how much I need to work on my accelerations and cornering. I think I just get a little timid in these races and won't fight for a place closer to the front.
I finished a disappointing 12th out of 25 or so Cat 3 women moving me from 1st to 5th in the GC.
Sunday was the road race. the 1/2/3 women didn't go until the afternoon which meant two things (1) that I got to sleep in and (2) that it was HOT.
We did 4 laps on a 14+ mile course for a total of about 58 or 59 miles. about half way through each loop we climbed mud mountain, a decently brutal 3k climb with two or three 10%+ kicks and slogs.
Lap 1 we shelled a few women and about 4 women got away from the pack. We chased them down, catching them a few miles into lap 2. Same thing happened the second time up the climb.
Lap 3 I was able to stay with the lead pack. The 4th time up the climb, a few women just totally took off and I ended up in a chase pack of 5. We never did catch the lead pack but thankfully there were no other Cat 3 women in that lead pack so I was able to sprint across the line for a 3rd place finish, moving me into 4th in the GC and winning me a total of about $150.
All in all I'm pleased with my performance. I wish I could pull it together in the crits but I'm still pretty new to this so I have a lot of time to learn and improve.
Mind The Gap
7 months ago