7/28/08

My first circuit race




If you asked me to choose between cycling and triathlons, I would 100% pick triathlons. But, I can honestly say, there is nothing easy about just cycling...I would much rather swim, bike and run for an "easier" race.
I would like to say that I am not even close to putting cycling races behind me. If anything I can't wait until the next race. However, between now and Aug 9th I have a lot of work to do on my bike.
The work isn't about training. Of course I would love to be more powerful on my bike but I have another goal. I need some skills and to get rid of my fear of riding fast and with other people.

After Karel's road race on saturday I was in major mommy-mode because Karel looked like death. A normal look for him after these crazy fast and hot races but I am always ready to take care of him when needed. However, when we got back to our hotel room at 6pm Karel was fast asleep before I sat down with my computer to start some homework. We were both really tired and after a little evening snack we were out for the night.

So, here goes sunday. I started the morning finishing up homework. Of course school is the last thing on my mind when I am racing triathlons but in this case, it kinda helped me pass the time by until my race. Karel and I packed up the car, picked up a few gallons of water at the gas station and headed to the progress center for the circuit race. My race was at 12pm and Karel raced at 2:15. I warmed up for about 45 min just spinning my legs on the opposite side of the race course as the cat 3 guys were finishing up a few more loops of their race.

Rather than splitting up the Cat 1,2 girls and the Cat 3,4 girls we were all together. This was a big bunch. The funny part was when we were all on the line and the announcer said that all the Cat 3,4 girls can go to the front of the line (where the Cat 1,2 girls were standing) because "we" (cat 3,4) really raced the road race on sat. Hey, it wasn't our fault that we were going fast and we passed the Cat 1,2 girls after starting about 5 min. behind them.

So off we went. I was in a group of around 10 girls after the first loop. My category (3,4) had 16 people in it and the rest of the girls (around 10 maybe) were Cat 1,2. There was a quick breakaway of two and my group couldn't catch her. It was Rebecca Larson who is incredibly strong on the bike that was in the front with one other girl on her wheel. So after 2 laps we had 5 more laps to go. The scary downhill was nothing compared to the scary downhill sharp left turn. Each loop I had to fear that stupid corner. Errrr...
I kept getting dropped at that corner because i would squeze my breaks and I just didn't know how to turn quickly. So I would expend all this energy to catch up and then as the girls were climbing a roller I would think "they are going so slow". So it was a lot of catching up for me because well, I just don't have any skills.
The best part of the race was seeing Karel on every loop. Karel was there with our camera and his bike just picking spots on the course to cheer and take pics. He would yell "stay on their wheel marni" and it totally worked. Around the 3rd loop I attacked on a climb and just went. Karel was cheering loud to cath that 2 girl breakaway and with only one girl on my wheel (mary pat jones, who is also really strong) we were ready to go get the lead girls. Well, until my chain wouldn't shift. So I spent my "breakaway" move trying to change my gears from the small to big chain ring. I was just bummed about the situation that i could have had to be in the lead group but instead I had to get back to my pack and just keep going.
We were doing a total of 7 laps so I had a few more opportunities to make some moves. I tried my move again on a hill before the straightaway to the start/finish line (same as last time) but when I got to the downhill scary turn I lost my move. Errr...
So it wasn't until the last loop that I lost it all. I just got so scared at the fast pace down hill and I totally lost my draft at that corner. Each loop was 2.4 miles long so there was nothing else I could do with over 1 mile to go until the finish. MY group eventually caught up to a group in front of us and I sprinted to the line all alone. However, because I was in a breakaway group (out of 2 groups) I finished 5th in the cat 3,4 group out of 16. I was pleased with my performance but not as happy as Karel. He had a lot of fun watching us and he is ready for my next race.
Well, we spent the whole ride home discussing how I can improve on the bike and I am ready to work hard. I want to do these races as much as I can because really, it makes me a better triathlete. Even if I can't draft in triathlons I am able to be more confident on the bike. To me, it doesn't matter if you are fast...if you are not confident on your bike you can't excute your power. Well, at least that is the way for me. So, I will continue to work.

As for Karel. I took plenty of great pics and I was super hot. The race lasted 90 minutes and I am sure the riders were just dying out there with a 2:15pm start in humid georgia.
Karel sat in mid-pack and he said the pace wasn't too hard. I'm thinking all 70 riders were a bit tired from the last few days (or those who did all 4 races) but the heat totally exhausted Karel. The finish was exciting for the top 3 guys but Karel rolled over the line without a sprint. He said this was a first time for him to just see the mid-pack guys sprinting for the line in 30+ place. As for karel, he tried to stand up and sprint for the line to try for top 10 but once he stood up to sprint his body quickly told him "I don't think so". With nothing left at the end of the race, Karel summed up the weekend as a long, hot weekend.

We both had a great time in Ga and we heard that next year the race is 7 stages!!! Hopefully the races will be in the evening or early in the morning because Karel and I are both sunburned and super tired.
*I just don't know how Karel does it. 4 days of racing at your max. I really need to sign up for an IM cause I am feeling super lazy compared to him :)

Here are some pics from the weekend...














Scary Corner