Saturday morning, bright and early, I was headed down to Tsawwassen Ferries to get to Victoria for some weekend races. The ferry was pretty amazing, it was incredible to see how big the ferries were, and how many cars and semi trucks they could hold. How does this stay a float?
First up on Saturday evening, I had a very short time trial. The Kona/Russ Hays time trial was 5km, and it looped past the start finish line twice, making it a very spectator friendly course. The crowd could see almost the entire course as it followed along the coast line of South Vancouver Island. I was focusing on the criterium on Sunday more so than this time trial, but I figured that it would be a good "leg opener" for the following days race. I had no aero gear, and I believe I was the only women in Pro 1/2 not to have a disk and an aero helmet. I was thinking to myself that it was short, and that its more the powerhouse in my legs and not the equipment that will result in a good time. It ended up being extrememly windy, but I finished the race in around 8 minutes. I ended up only 1, 3 and 4 seconds back from three people ahead of me, which had aero equipment, so I know I had had a good race. I ended up in 7th in the time trial, which I was content with. I couldn't get my heart rate up nearly to where it should be, but this race wasn't a big focus for me.
Sunday I woke up bright an early once again to go watch Jon race. He had a great race finishing 13th in cat4 Men! The course looked tough, and the weather was luckily warm and dry. The start finish line was on a uphill, and it wasn't very far from the last corner of the loop. From the start line, the race continued uphill with a 90 degree left hand turn that lead to a false flat uphill. The road flattened off before the next left hand corner directly onto a steep downhill that narrowed at the bottom at the corner called "crash corner". -Hense the narrow road and eight potholes. The bottom stretch was directly along the ocean and was very windy- a perfect stretch to tuck in behind all the riders and catch some draft! The last corner was a fast corner that lead uphill to the finish line.
The field was fairly big and I was very nervous at the start of the race. I didn't know how it would play out, just like any other race. I know however that nerves are a good thing. It means I care about how I do, and it shows what is important to me.
The race started out fast, and Trek Red Truck went to the front of the peleton to set the pace. We were doing 1:04:00 second laps, on the 900m loop. There were attacks happening from many different teams on every climb. Leah and Erinne attacked, and I knew that I had to go with them. I bridged up to them, and we shortly had a breakaway of five. I tried to pull through as much as I could for the next 15 laps while conserving as much energy as I could. Our lap times dropped to 1:00, probably sub 1 minute a few laps. This was faster than the Pro 1/2 Men later in the day! My heart rate sky rocketted, but I was hanging on really well. The climb suited me perfectly, a short, power climb. We soon lapped the entire pack, and had 20 laps left to go. We sat in with the pack at the front, and TRT covered most of the breaks. The last half of the race went by fast, and was very confusing at the end. The peleton was done 5 laps earlier than the breakaway since we had lapped the field. Leah attacked on the last climb on the lap, and I sat right behind her. I knew that I could take the sprint at this point, if everything worked out.
Going into the last corner before the finish I was in second, right where I wanted to be. Erinne attacked and swooped inside on the corner, and Leah and I and her bumped handlebars and I almost went down. I had lost all my momentum and Erinne had gainned a small gap. I sprinted the last 200m as hard as I could, and I gained huge time on everyone in the sprint. I ended up second in the sprint, cm away from winning. If I had an extra meter I would have had it.
It was a fantastic race. Dissapointing however to end up second and be that close, knowing that it was the bumping in the corner and not my speed that held me back. There's nothing I really could have done differently, maybe start the sprint before the corner, but short sprints are more my strength. I was proud though to come second, especially to Erinne, a great rider who was at the last Olympics in Bejing. There are so many more crits this year, and I am SO excited for them.
My fitness is up where it needs to be, and I know that my power in my sprints are really exceeding my expectations. I just need to work on some endurance, but that comes with more miles I put on my bike. Three weeks till Nationals, I should be good to go. Hard work now, results later!
I'm off to Oregon on Wednesday for a five stage-stage race in the mountains. One road race stage "Three Summits" contains 8200ft of climbing and took 5 hours in years past to complete by the pros. I will have the privilege of racing with the top Pro women's teams in the USA, the NRC teams and Clara Huges here. It should prepare me for nationals and just make me that much stronger!
Time to get back to watching cartoons, on a wonderful day off,