Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Weekend in the Pain Cave

This last weekend I raced Bariani and Land Park - both 1/2/3 races, both with a big team. Both days were fast and hard. We attacked, counter attacked, drove some breaks, and ultimately won. Well, we won Bariani. Land Park was great, we just didn't execute our lead out quite right. But it was the most fun I've ever had in a crit. Ever. Loved every minute of it, even though I was in so. much. pain.
I can't wait to get my upgrade and do races that are that fast and challenging every weekend. Racing with and for a big strong team is incredibly liberating. I can attack and put myself out there and take chances, knowing that even if I get dropped, or come in DFL, I did my work for my teammates, and I trust them to do their jobs just the same. Real racing. Real awesome.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Madera Stage Racin'

I like this picture, and not because my butt looks good (it doesn't, and it should be stamped with "Wide Load"). I like the colors, and the flowers, and the sunshine.

So, Madera! (How many blog posts have I started with "So, ____!"? Quite a few, I'd say.) Anyway, I've been super tired all week, super lazy about blogging. Still feeling lazy, so I'm going to go with the ol' standby and copy and paste the report I wrote for my coach.

Sooo . . . things went pretty well this weekend. The crit was good, as you know, and really happy with 2nd. There was a break going up the road that had the girls I knew to be the fast TT riders, and I was able to power up to them without dragging anyone else with me. There were only 3 laps to go at this point, so we were able to stay away, then I sprinted to 2nd.

I ended up 5th in the time trial. I decked out the road bike with my aero extensions, and some borrowed aero wheels. It was really windy out there, so I'm not absolutely positive that the the disc wheel helped a lot since I spent a lot of time trying to not get blown over, which I think kept me from going as hard as I could have. My average power was 240 watts for the 27 minute effort.

The road race didn't go as well as I'd liked. On the 2nd lap I dropped my chain at the base of the first roller before the feed zone. Couldn't get it back on, and I had to STOP and put it back on. Lame. I had to chase for a little while. I saw the pack round the corner, and the girl who was leading GC (who is a pro triathlete) looked back, saw me chasing, and attacked the pack. Chase chase chase. Things slowed down a little bit, eventually, and I got back on. Unfortunately, I think I burned a number of my matches doing it. Then, 5 miles before the finish, my teammate, who was helping me stay protected, got caught in a pretty bad crash (she was OK) but I was on my own at the finish. The triathlete girl went at the beginning of the first roller before the finish. I was pretty close to the front, but the girls in front of me were just letting her go. I decided to try to go with her hoping I'd get a gap on the rest of the group, but I couldn't hang. Then a group of 6 caught me, and I couldn't quite stay with them. The girl who was in 6th in GC, 30 seconds back from me, was in the group of 6, so I just tried to minimize the damage and hang on to my 5th place GC. I was able to, so that was cool, but I would have liked to do better in the road race. Ah well. I got a number of upgrade points from the crit and my GC result.

And . . . my TT bike arrived today! Just not in time for Madera. Haha, well, I'll have it for the next one. Anyway, I'm feeling fit and ready for more racing!

I feel a little self conscious putting in stuff about my average power for the TT (god, she only did 240 watts? What a loser.) But I'll get over it. Anyway, my coach said that was really good, and I'm getting stronger (which I knew, but it's always nice to hear it from the expert).

Later today I'm driving down to Grass Valley, then tomorrow I'm racing the Bariani/Zamora Road Race, then the Land Park Criterium on Sunday. I took it pretty easy this week and I'm looking forward to doing some hard work for the team (both are 1/2/3 races). I'm hoping that 4 weeks from now I'll have the last of my upgrade points and I'll be permanently racing with the 1/2 team.

I'm sick of 3s races - everyone wants points, so no one will take any chances, and it leads to negative racing. I'm as much to blame as anyone. At the road race on Sunday I wanted to attack soooo bad (because I was bored as hell) but sat back and sucked wheel (I actually took a pull or two, unlike a number of people) so I could get that one extra upgrade point. Weak. But whaddya gonna do? The really frustrating part was the two teams that actually had some numbers (5-6 riders) and no one anywhere near the top 5 GC standings, and yet wouldn't do a lick of work. If I'd been in that position I would be attacking non stop. I mean, what do you have to lose? So anyway, this was kind of a long ramble, but the point is I can't wait to be in the 1/2 races, so I don't have to play the silly upgrade point games. This weekend is also the San Dimas Stage Race, followed, of course, by Redlands. Next year, so help me, I will be racing down there.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Clearing Skies

As promised, Saturday consisted of a wet, cold ride. I did the Saturday morning World Championship ride, for the first time in probably 8 months. I tend to avoid it because those guys (and it is almost always only guys, unless Amber is in Reno and decides to come out and teach them a thing or two) because they're wicked sketchy and generally rude to automobile traffic. It was a pretty small group this week (aw, come on! You's guys don't want to go ride in the rain?) and everyone was fairly safe. I hung with them up the first couple climbs which I've never been able to do before, even though I got dropped eventually. Waited for them to come around, did some fast stuff on the flats, got freakin' poured on - good times. Ouch.

Yesterday, in a complete departure, I went mountain biking in Auburn with Cody. It. Was. Rad. Seriously. I haven't been in the dirt since cyclocross nationals, so I was totally ecstatic to shred some singletrack. "Shred." I was kind of a chicken, but I feel justified because I haven't been on my mountain bike, except to ride snowy roads, since probably November. Weak. I want to buy a trail bike sooooooo badly. Except, probably not as badly as I feel like I need a TT machine. C'est la vie. Gotta start making a little more money.

Anyway, a day in the dirt and the sun and the mud, a long day, with lots of climbing - that's just what the soul needs. Days like that always renew my energy, my joie de vie, and my motivation. Today is rest, and work, but the motivation, the drive, are there.