Mini vaca complete - really wanted to discuss the 3 days and training plan with my friend that's been coaching me. Never seemed to happen.
I trained hard all week doing hill efforts and cruise intervals and pre-riding the Tour de Olmsted course before Saturday's race. They all felt great, did my easy tune-up on Friday evening with openers, got to bed at a decent time, hydrated, and finally slept very well until 7:30. Got some work done early, loaded the car and got to the event with plenty of time to prep. The temps were in the 90s and humidity was high, there were not many places to be cool. Didn't want to spend too much time on the trainer because of the temps, so finally took a ride out Southern Pkwy and back to keep my legs loose. The cat 4 women lined up behind the at 1/2/3s. Our race started 5 minutes behind them. We all took off, made it up the first hill together and on the second hill they dropped me and 2 others. The race did not feel anything like the pre-ride. It was very hard going up those hills, I tried to maintain my lines and work through the discomfort and made up time on the downhills. On the backside of the 2nd lap the other two with me passed me. I kept them in sight and would pull close and lose ground. At the bottom of the last hill on the last lap one of them had dropped a chain. I'm working up that hill and she passes me! oh what an ego buster. I pushed and pushed and caught her at the top. As I crested the hill I clicked all the way down to my smallest clog and drilled the pedals as hard and fast as they would go. By the finish line I was really hurting. And I was exhausted. Another great experience for sure. I have to thank one of my girl friends for bringing sandwiches, water, cold towels for the back of the neck and chocolate peanut butter brownies. She was a life-saver!
Sunday saw an early morning, regular routine of breakfast, pack the car and drove to Richmond. Not knowing exactly what to expect I wanted to have plenty of time to setup and warmup. The heat index was predicted to be over 100F and there was very little shade except for next to a building which is where I setup my trainer. This was my very first criterium. I had no idea what to expect. One of my fellow racers gave me some advice on Saturday, recalling the course from last year and insisting that I pre-ride it to get a feel for the corners. This was a 2 block by 1 block course that was .6 of a mile. The start was downhill with a 90degree left turn over cobblestone and onto broken patched pavement and potholes to dodge. Then there is an immediate 90 degree left turn uphill into a head wind. Not complaining, because the two laps without the headwind were the hottest climbs I've ever ridden. Coming out of that turn to the uphill climb I clocked myself @ 25 most laps. Two blocks of that hill, a false flat and short downhill with another left-hand turn into a short yet steep hill. This is where Colleen and Tracy and Joan dropped me. I worked to get back on once back on the downhill stretch, but they gradually pulled away. 45 minutes of grueling heat and effort to do @ least 20 laps, most likely more. Tracy and Colleen wound up lapping me a total of 4 times. Something I'm not proud of to say the least, but I gave it my all out there. The outcome was the order I list above, I was 4 of 4 women. Sad thing is there was a guaranteed payout for the first 5 finishers. I got paid! I am happy I went and did this race. I was so scared I almost got back in my car and drove home. But that would be a dumb thing to do so I raced. Definitely have much work to do. But I am having fun and learning lots about racing and myself.
Tonight I attended the clinic at the 5 spot Criterium put on for local racers. This is a great way to learn some skills on a closed course with opportunity to do a mock race. Following all of the racers in town ride over and are divided into A and B groups and race. I attended the clinics last year, but too chicken to do the B race. Tonight I did the B race until I got a stitch in my side. I was feeling great and hung in the middle of the pack until 4 laps to go. Wish I could do the next one, but I'll be in Warsaw. There are at least 4 more planned. I hope to do as many as possible.
This weekend coming up should be interesting. I'm sure there'll be another entry at the end of it.