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Monday, March 16, 2015

Kent Park

Well I learned a lot this race, for instance don't be stupid and drop your chain, and second, don't give up, even if you find yourself DFL and on your own a half lap into a five lap race.

As always, my legs felt like crap on the warm up. While this is normal for almost any race warm up, I was particularly worried since my legs haven't really not felt like crap yet, as I try to get back into race shape after winter. But once the race started I was actually feeling pretty good, thank goodness.

Getting ready to race. Photo by Darian Nagle-Gamm
I made it up the steep climb to the finish line with the group and kept up with the attacks going on pretty much from the start of the race. And then on the first big hill I managed to drop my chain. I should really not be having this problem, but I made a bad choice about when to shift. So there I was, half way up the hill, on the side of the road trying to get my bike functioning! 

It was jammed pretty well and by the time I got my bike working again I was in absolute last place and on my own with 4 1/2 laps to go. Oh boy, I knew this wasn't going to be easy but I was not going to pull out of the race. I got back on my bike and took off. If nothing else I would get in a good ride!
Riding with my teammates. Photo by Darian Nagle-Gamm
It took an entire lap, but I finally caught up with two teammates right about where I had dropped my chain. After another lap, again in about the same spot, I saw another racer ahead and took off to chase her down. By the climb to the finish area I had caught up with her. I was informed by the spectators that another teammate wasn't far ahead so I sat in or rode slowly, not wanting to bring a non-teammate up to a teammate ahead. 

The next time through the finish area, I saw one lap to go, so I attacked off the front. It worked and I was able to get away, maintaining my place through the finish of the race. 

Hanging out post race with Niels and Robin. Photo by Mauro Heck.
I was so happy that I was able to catch up to a few riders and ride well on my own, that I wasn't even upset about the chain issue. I didn't give up and proved that I am in better shape than I thought. And that was worth so much to me! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

First Race of the Year - Hills Spring Classic

...And I apparently forgot to tell my legs it was race day. Ha! It actually didn't go as badly as I thought for an early season race. The weather was fantastic and we actually had sunshine! It felt so good to be out on the bike with some other ladies. And it was apparently Women's Day for biking, I'm really glad I got out to ride.

The first couple laps were pretty hard. I was sick earlier this week and didn't do much at all beside sit on the couch, luckily my legs finally warmed up and the second two laps weren't so bad. A group of four (out of six women) broke away from the start. We rode together nicely the first lap and then there were a couple of attacks on the second lap where the course transitioned from gravel to road.


Women on the start line. Photo by Brittany McConnell

Alijah managed to initiate a break (nice job girl!) and I fell off from the two girls chasing. Crap! I really did not want to ride 2 1/2 laps by myself so I keep a steady, strong pace and finally caught back after the fist turn once back on gravel. That I caught back up on a gravel section is nothing short of a miracle, I suck big time on gravel!

The three of us stayed together with Mari and I taking turns pulling (her on gravel and me on road). We were almost to the end of the third lap when the leading men's group came around us, and the girl riding with us latched onto their wheels and it was too late when we tried to chase on. Once they were away, there wasn't a chance of us chasing them down.

Mari and I rode together for another half a lap, and once I saw another rider come up on us, I decided to pick up the pace. I rode the rest of the way in solo and was so, so happy to cross the finish line. Glad to have the first race done!

Alijah & I post race. The photo does not do justice to how muddy we were! Photo by Brittany McConnell



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