Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Ventura County Stage Race and Barry Wolfe Crit
Boy how time flies. Last weekend I did the inaugural Ventura County Stage race which was a 3 stage 2 day race. Since my season has been a little up and down my coach wanted me to do it to continue to work on my race legs.
Saturday the 16th started off early with a drive to downtown Ventura for a time trial start time of 10:13am. I brought Murphy my time trial bike and my disc wheels. The course was a 1.7 mile out and back with a steep little power climb in the beginning. I debated using Murphy but opted for him in the end. I went gang busters off the start and felt like I was going great and felt powerful. I started my watch when my 30 second girl went and finished with a time of 3:16. I did however accidentally cut the course short on the turn around as it was not clearly marked and therefore ended dead last on the GC. Bummer as I felt I would have had an excellent time.
I then spent my day resting in my car and found a great little bakery that made sandwiches to eat at. Thank god for my iPhone and a good book which helped the time pass until the 5:30pm criterium in the evening.
Before the race I went and got a Starbucks coffee and ran into Neil Brown from Road Magazine and Phillip Chang who I used to dance with back in the La Danserie days. Crazy how small the world is. I did a great warm up for the crit and off we went. The course was a 4 corner with a climb after turn 1 and a screaming downhill after turn 3. As usual La Grange with there 8 squad (or which seems like 8 riders) team kept launching attacks. I tried to be smart about what I went after hoping that some of the other teams would chase if they were not in it. This was not the case and a La Grange and a NOW rider went up the road. I waited and finally decided to launch an attack to bridge. Since the GC was out of reach for me a stage win would be fantastic. The NOW rider fell off the pace and I nearly caught the La Grange rider who was 8 seconds off of me but for some reason I could not quite close the gap. I found out later that La Grange after a bit went on the front of the pack to reel me in. Crazy to be so marked. Near the end of the race the attacks were furious and just being one rider it was really hard to mark everything. The field came down to a sprint for 5th place and Beatriz nicely rested came around me to take it and I got 6th. More importantly though I felt like I was finally coming out of this crazy start to the season I was going through and my legs were feeling like the old me. Good news!
The next day was a 40 mile road race in Ojai with an afternoon start time. It was hot in Ojai and my frozen bottles were melting even in the cooler before the race. Scott Searway and his daughter Emily surprisingly showed up to watch which was great. We had to do the circuit 7 times which meant climbing the 1 mile climb 7 times. I felt good during the race which was the typical slow pace until the climb and then slow pace again, until lap 5 when my body just over heated and said stop. My water was warm and neutral feed was few and far between as well as having warm water. Cheryl Roth from Helen’s and Alexis Ryan from Major Motion and myself rode the last two laps together. Mostly Cheryl and I wanted to do the descent again which was totally fun. I even survived a bad feed from the neutral feeder who held the bottle incorrectly and I almost went down. I was really happy when the race was over. I finished 16th overall starting from dead last after my wrong turn so not too bad but not great. It is very hard to do road races in the heat without the help of a feeder with cold fluids. On the way home I stopped off for the traditional In n Out Burger. Yum! Didn’t really deserve it with the way I rode but it still tasted delicious.
Memorial Day Weekend – Barry Wolfe Criterium
Another weekend, another race. Luckily for a very intuitive wise friend and the brilliant knowledge of Ashton at Sundance Cycles my bike is finally feeling correct after a long hard time of getting it to fit. Jenn X and myself rode from our homes and met in Warner Center for the race. X brought me a 100mm stem to switch out on my bike (I love my friends!) which I did before the race but ended up having headset issues right before we started. I couldn’t seem to get it to lock down but the stem was on tight. I had a slight jiggle in my headset but decided to try and race anyway and if it was too bad to pull out.
The race started and I took the first turn hesitantly and then from there on out figured all was good and I was back to whipping it through the turns. X of course thinks I am crazy! I think I was super frustrated from the headset ordeal and rode the beginning of the race like a maniac going after all the attacks and being super aggressive. My bike was feeling good and I was feeling like my old self so why not ride super hard, right?
I then heard the magic word of a free haircut prime to the winner of the next lap and I was motivated knowing this was coming from my hair stylist, David Alva – the best in the business. I had to sprint for the prime and got it. I continued to ride hard and X was being very aggressive as well. Not bad for being only 2 girls against the many numbered local teams. X finally got in a break of 5 girls with all the teams represented. It was weird though because they never got more than a 35 second lead on the main field. Girls from the main field kept trying to jump to the break and I was covering the moves. A group of 3 or 4 got off the front of our group a little and I pulled them back to only get attacked again. Eventually though there was a melt down in the break and with just over 5 laps to go we were back together. Cheryl Roth from Helen’s attacked once the break was caught and X did a great job of reeling her in. Funny how the teams with more riders were not so concerned but X and I wanted to practice everything we could for our upcoming weekend in Tulsa so riding hard was on our agenda. With a couple of laps to go X was back on the front doing a great lead out and keeping me out of the bubble. Between turn 3 and 4 Pam Schuster (Helen’s) jumped and I was on her. We went into turn 4 hard and I immediately jumped off her wheel and went for the sprint and won! Excellent! X finished 9th which was awesome after all the work she did for me. In addition, while she was in the break she won a haircut pime as well. We could not be happier! My headset held up (fixed it correctly when I got home) and finally my bike is like home again. I can’t wait for Tulsa. Stay tuned.
VK in the house!