Stage Racing: Uncharted Territory
I must be trying to recover, since I finally have time to create a blog post. I was also able to go visit newborn Violet Hope and see how her Mama is doing. These things just can't take place when I am on the limit.
Let's get to business:
The Opportunity: Ride as a guest rider with SC Velo/Empowercoaching Systems, Directed by guest director Michael Engleman, with team leader Mara Abbott who joined the team for the weekend as well, coming straight from Italy. The SC Velo team is a local heavy hitter with national champions and a lot of the horse power for in the local racing peloton, with Dotsie Bausch (just back form winning silver at the Pursuit Worlds Championships!) at the helm. We also had another local rider, Erika Graves from the NOW-MS Society join the team as a guest rider.
Bonnie, Michael and Dotsie, making a game plan!
Now of course I am a big part of Team Redlands, but we do not have the option to put a women's team in the Pro race, so I needed to race as a guest/composite rider for the event. SC Velo is stacked with awesome ladies and I was beside myself with excitement to be part of a team, working for a common goal, and doing something with a group of ladies I have really grown to appreciate. And these girls are hilarious.
I have been practicing racing the last few weekends, figuring out a sweat iPod warm-up mix, pacing myself during the time trial, eating well, sleeping more, and resting period. That's a lot to take in though. I used the Tour of Murrieta Omnium and San Dimas Stage Race as practice for all of these items and more and each of those were stacked with high learning curve, stress, success, failure, and a lot of fun!!! But nothing could really prepare me for Redlands. Nothing at all.
To keep this less annoying, I will do a report on one stage at a time. Because there is a TON to report about!
Day 1: Prologue 3.1 miles of basically up. A route I ride sometimes, and trained a ton on, making it a huge "home court advantage" for me going into it. I do not own a Time Trial bike nor do I plan on buying one. So I put clip on bars on the handle bars and went for it. Fortunately on this course, a road bike will do just fine.
Trying to be undercover, not really pulling it off!
Being the home-town girl I really really had to focus. I kept my headphones on during the whole warm up tried to not even look people in the eyes, which is extremely difficult for me to do! Bonnie Breese from SC Velo was my "handler" for the day meaning she would escort me to the start to get my bike checked by the USAC officials to make sure it was legal, and to give me water and a pep talk while I waited my turn. She was rad! Dotsie also stuffed my speed-suit with bags of ice as the sweat poured off my nose and down my back, it was going to be a scorcher!
Warming up alongside longtime homie Lisa Campbell
The start was rad. My buddy Ken Kramer got hold my bike at the start, Mark Love put my bike up there, and my friend Larry Longo was the announcer. So cool!
The race went well until the 3k sign, where I got out of the saddle for a little climb and realized "squish squish" my front tire was flat! Super! That is rad. No options. No spare bike, neutral support was behind me and you can't go backwards on the course. Soooo, one and only option....ride on!! So I rode the rest of the TT with a front flat which was pretty entertaining coming in hot into corners on a front flat and pretty tough getting out of the saddle and not wanting yard it on day one. I actually thought it was funny, just a little. I had tons of friends/teammates/students out on the course and the cheers and laughs kept me going! I wasn't caught (we start time trials every 30 seconds) and was pumped to learn I got 84/113. Now that's not amazing. But with a flat on the 3 largest climbs of the TT, I ain't gonna stress!
The other cool thing about being a local is that I had 5 trucks to pick from to get a ride down to the start. i will ride flat on a road bike UP, but not DOWN.
Day one a success. Because we made it through! Just starting the event got a lot of the nerves out but then the focus was turned to eating, laundry, eating, resting and finally sleeping.
Moderately chaotic homebase! Getting 8 ladies ready to race is no small task!