Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's Love

I, like many reading, was your typical triathlete that said I'd never race a crit. Ummm, scary? yes. Dangerous, well ya. Never say never, because never came knocking on my door for Day 3 of the stage race. I was of course nervous, but after the road race was pretty excited to go hard again.
I jumped on the trainer for my long warm up, only to learn the hay delivery man slept in so the race would be delayed at least an hour. Most people jumped in their car for an early morning nap or chill session. I took the opportunity to get in a longer warm-up. 2 hours later, I found my way to the line.

The starter put me at ease as he went over the 'rules of the road.' Our race was set for 20minutes. I only had to remind myself of my failed tt two days prior to realize my work was cut out for me. Have I mentioned that sprinting is not my thing (and by sprinting I mean anything less than, ohhhhhh maybe 2hours). I recently changed to speedplay peddles so I wouldn't get left at the line wondering where the hell everyone went.
Sure enough the gun went off and like horses flying out of the start gates, we were off to the races!
We let the race leader take over at the front and set the pace. The course was a figure 8 of sorts, featuring 8 turns per lap. I settled in about 6 people back and started getting comfortable with the course. My tires felt a bit sketchy on a few of the turns. I'm pretty sure they were glued on years ago, and I know the tires were selected with the sole intention of riding straight 'n steady for hours on end. After about 3 laps I turned the "your going to slide out around the turns" voice off and decided to move-on-up..
Vince and Kurt were kind enough to explain how to move up in the pack around the turns. I didn't really comprehend what they meant until I was out there. Soon enough I started cutting the wide turns and moving up towards the top 3.
I never looked back, but had I done so I would of realized we dropped over half the pack in the first 2 laps. With 5 laps to go the lap bell rang loud to signify the next lap would include a prime. I thought we were racing for time bonuses and knew the only way I've move into the top 5 in the GC was to get a few time bonuses (I needed 10seconds). I wasn't set up well after the final turn to go for the first prime. Lucky for me the bell rang again and the next lap also had a prime at stake.
I moved up and just before the line sprinted ahead to take the lap win. 2 laps to go! The heart was pumping and I was actually having fun. I stayed within the top 4 and went into the final turn in 3rd. Unfortunately I picked a bad line and a small gap formed between me and the top two. I sprinted my heart out, but there was no way I could close on them.
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. (I am to the far right of the above pic-someone needs wider bars!) I could hear a few girls breathing right off my back wheel and knew I was in trouble. Sure enough they flew by me at the last second.
Crit racing is actually fun. I'm not going to lie, it was scary. There were crashes. But, for my first crit, I was darn happy with the result. I learned so much from this weekend and had an absolute blast racing with these girls.
I've now fallen in love with cycling in a whole new way. Yes, I actually enjoyed biking even though it didn't entail sitting in the saddle for 5+ hours. But, something else captured my heart that weekend! I knew I had a crush on this little guy, but now I am full on IN LOVE! The bonus to racing in Arizona, and much of the reason I go out there is to see my BFF. It's been way too long since I've seen her and her little man. He is more precious than ever and well....the picture says it all. I so miss that smile.
Oh Cole, I can't wait to see you again. You may of thought I was a stranger when I came in and swooped you up from your nap, but little buddy-you've captured my heart and I love you to pieces. XOXOXOXOXO.