February 18, 2009

Cherry Pie - Road Race #1

Mile 14, the gloves had to come off, the sun had come out and I was roasting in my not-so-breathable Team Sunnyside Jacket. The roads were dry, the skies clear and the wheels around me anxious and unpredictable. It was the first road race of the season (and of my career) and everyone was a bit nervous.

Cat 4 riders aren’t the most experienced bunch and I had to work hard just to stay out of trouble. Some were not so lucky. I heard the sound of carbon on pavement and didn’t look back for fear of losing my line. I was riding with the Bend Bike n Sport Team and about 40 other women – the race was just 27 miles in length…. We needed to speed things up.

I tried to push the pace, taking a pull and working hard, but no one else would help and I continually slipped back into the peloton after getting stuck out on the left side for a while, fighting the wind.

In hind sight, I should have just gone for it, tried to make a brake off the front, kept the pace high and see if I could hold it. If nothing else it would have split the field; but I didn’t. I am a rookie. I wasn’t sure how my fitness matched up to the others around me and I didn’t have the confidence to find out.

With confusion in the last 400m when the pace car called for the Women to neutralize so we could get passed by the Cat 5 Men, I finished 9th. I can’t complain, I stayed upright, I finished the race, I got a couple upgrade points; but I know I could have ridden faster, stronger. I shouldn’t have listened to the OBRA officials when they called us to neutralize. I should have ridden smarter, out of the wind until the last 5 miles and then gone for it. We should have organized better, using each other to push the pace. I should have done a lot of things, but in the end, I did train, I did race and will get faster, stronger, and smarter. It is a long season and I am learning.