This weekend was yet ANOTHER wet weekend. I am SO over the rain, and racing in the rain, that I can hardly stand it. We had a weekend off of mountain bike racing so it was time to stretch our legs out on the road and see if we remembered how to race the skinny tires. The Highland Rim Classic was only an hour away and it is always a great event with big fields, strong racers, and great money. Even after watching the weather forecast grow worse as we got closer to the weekend, I registered for the whole omnium; road race (with a mountain climb), time trial (2 miles up hill) and crit. I am not a natural climber so I have always struggled a bit with this event but it is fun neverless.
Shannon, Paula, Gina and Helen were also coming up for all of the weekend (Shannon) or to help for part of it (Helen, Gina and Paula) so I was going to have some help climbing and controlling the race. Sometimes the stars are just not aligned!!! It was the weekend of mini-disasters for my team and I ended up solo for the duration. Helen woke up late and her truck had a flat tire. Shannon got sick on her drive there (breakfast did not agree). Gina and Paula were getting ready to go when a mishap with the dog on his leash landed Gina in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder. She's going to be fine but is NOT a happy girl right now. After a series of phone calls it appeared that I was on my own.
We pulled in Saturday morning under the threat of rain but so far, so good. It was going to be a tough race. There were some really strong girls there, including my friend Leigh that rides for Vanderkitten and Mary, a local bad ass road racer. We rolled out of the starting area and as we turned onto the course we could see the wall of water up the road. Great. That is not what I was hoping for today. Mary and I set tempo on the front, mostly just to stay warm in the steady rain that was now pelting us. As we got to the climb I moved to the front and set my pace. The plan was to ride my pace and hope that it was hard enough that no one would attack. I was soon on the front leading up the hill. I looked at the Power Tap and pedaled where I knew I could sustain it. After about 10 minutes it occurred to me that I was alone. I had dropped the field. ON A CLIMB. Wow. 8 years of working on climbing and it is FINALLY paying off. Leigh was the next rider back and I waited on her; 35 miles is a long way to ride solo. I figured I had a better chance to stay away if there were two of us. We worked well together and rode in a steady downpour for the next 30 miles. Just as we were coming to the descent and the finish the skies cleared. Leigh observed that it kind of felt like we'd just gotten out of the pool. Yep; that sums it up!! Coming into the finish I was in a dilemma. Leigh is a BAD ASS sprinter. I am not. I knew that if I waited to 200 meters I was not going to beat her. I also knew that I was riding stronger on the up hills and the finish was a slight incline for the last 1000 meters. I went early and although it was UGLY, I won. I still can hardly believe it. I won one of the biggest climbing races in our area. Me, the self proclaimed non-climber. Hmmm. Was it a fluke or has all that hard work finally paid off???
The sun shined bright all afternoon and we had a nice relaxing lunch while waiting for the time trial that started at 4pm. It was a two mile climb up the descent that we raced down at the end of the road race. Mark had modeled out the exact power that I would need to hold to match last years winning time. He has this really cool program that does the modeling. It was going to be tough but doable if I could get my legs to suffer. I got in a good warm up and rolled to the start. As they said go the skies again opened up and I was racing in the rain for the second time today. It was tough to start out at the pace I knew I needed; the adrenaline told me to go harder but I knew that the Power Tap was not lying to me. About half way up the climb I caught Leigh (she was my 30 second rider) and then the next girl. A few minutes later I caught another rider. I was not looking at the time. Just distance and power. I was REALLY suffering. I crossed the finish line and had no idea what I had done for a time. It felt really slow. I DID IT!!! I won the time trial by over a minute and matched my goal time EXACTLY. Thanks Mark. So, day one was now over and I had won a climbing road race and an uphill time trial. AWESOME.
Sunday was not wet. It was COLD. It was in the 50's cloudy and windy. It's the middle of MAY; where did summer go?? The crit was frustrating for me. I hate negative racing and I hate racing at 15 miles per hour but that is what everyone wanted to do. I would attack and everyone would chase me. Then we'd all sit up. They raced the juniors on the course at the same time as us and it was a mess when we got to the last lap. In the last turn there was a junior and a group of us all looking for the same piece of pavement. I sat up. It wasn't worth losing skin over. I took 4th.
I ended up having a great weekend. I haven't done much road racing in the past few years and I think I miss it. It is time to do some more of it. It was a nice change of pace. Hopefully the climbing thing wasn't a fluke and I am getting better at it.
Thanks for reading...