20 September, 2008


What a fantastically fun day! I was so nervous this morning, just before leaving the hotel for the Time Trials (TT). It was a cool morning, mid 50s and I forgot my long pants and don't have leg warmers. My lungs were clogged with asthma gook. I kept thinking; long, slow breathing, gotta find a calm place.

I picked up my packet and my number was 6! That meant I was 6th in the gate for the first race. Thank goodness I wasn't first! We got our bikes ready and I took some warm up laps - got familiar with the course now that the cones were in place. (We rode the TT and RR courses on Friday). We introduced ourselves with all the women. Nice group of people. I've never started from a 'gate' before. You have a ramp, someone holds you up while you clip in and when they say zero, start pedalling as fast as you can. Wind chill was cool, but by the end of the first lap the muscles were warm. Ears were cold though. I kept coughing the whole time and looking over my shoulder so I wouldn't spit on anyone. There were a couple of dips that threw me off while in the aerobars, but I just kept pedalling and trying to focus on the road ahead.

I was worried about the second race, it's twice the length. I wasn't sure what speed to try and maintain and not run out of gas. About the 5th lap, behind the mall, the headwind was fierce. I just kept my head down and pedalled.

The timer set the chips for the 5k for 3 crosses of the tape, but we crossed at the beginning so the times were off by a lap. Had to wait until the road race to get the accurate times. I wound up winning Silver medals in both time trials.

We went back to the room, showered, ate and laid down for a bit. Then headed to the road course. The men went first with a pace car, then 5 minutes or so later the women started. 1.2 miles from the start is the first hill, 3 women dropped me on the hill. I kept them in sight to the 2nd hill. I stood in my pedals about 1/2 way up and my left shoe clip cracked and I fell hard on my saddle. I had to stop, compose myself and restart ( in the middle of the hill). My saddle moved and the nose was pointed to the ground. Sitting was more like sliding to the crossbar. I finally made it back to the start of the race and found an allen wrench so I could adjust my saddle. I kept thinking I would just stop here. About the time my saddle was tight someone said, there's the SAG truck, if you leave now and get in front of it you can still finish. I took off. The adrenaline had drained from my body. It was all I could do to pedal for the next 2 miles. Kept changing gears trying to find a sweet spot. Somehow, around mile 6 I found my second wind and had 2 riders in my sights. I passed one on a hill and then the other at the crest. I had a great downhill and started feeling really good. The fourth hill was in sight and I saw another cyclist. She was struggling and I started encouraging her, "you're almost to the top, keep making big circles". 4 miles to go. The last 150 feet, sprint to the finish is an uphill climb. oh my goodness, I tried to stand and then sat back down, scared I'd unclip again. When they announced the finishers at the medal ceremony and said I'd won the bronze, I thought they had to be wrong. I hadn't passed that many riders, but I had.

Who'da thought last year that I would've done this? Not me! I'm so glad I quit tobacco. Now I'm going to SanFran next August for Nationals. I have so very much work to do between now and then. This has been a fantastic weekend in my life. I am so very fortunate!

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