Sunday, January 28, 2007

Patterson Road Race

January 27, 2007
Early Bird RR


I've been bicycle racing for quite some time, but only as a cat. 4 (beginner). I know what some of you are thinking, beginner???? I tried to get my upgrade last year but missed it by two points and even tried to request an upgrade only to be denied! So, this year I've decided to do a few more bike races than normal to get my cat. 3 upgrade. The first one was yesterday in Patterson, which is near Modesto.
Lauren, Me and Erin the night before

Two friends of mine who've never raced bikes before were going to race and I was glade that there were people I knew and that maybe we could work some technical majik!

My friend Erin and her husband Mike had invited me and Lauren to stay with them at their hotel which was awesome because I wouldn't have to wake at the crack of dawn to drive 2 hours to race. Lauren and I arrived in the evening and chatted before going to bed.

We woke up early, 6am , got coffee at Starbucks and then had a bagel and almond butter for breakfast before spinning on the trainer for about 20 min. Lauren warming up
I was a bit nervous and I think I made Erin and Lauren more nervous than they should have been! Sorry girls.

We got down to the start line about 10 minutes prior to our send off. There seemed to be about 10-12 women racing in cat. 4. There were no other women competitors though.
We rolled out at 8:45am to crisp clear skies with little wind (or so I thought). Our entire group cruised for quite some time and even sang Happy Birthday to Bobbi who turned 50 that day!
Me, Erin and Lauren before the race
Lauren was very ansy and when she'd get in the front to take a pull (we eventually got organized and picked up the pace slightly after about 10 miles) she's start to pull away and at one point one of the girls got jumpy and raced after them (they were maybe 10 yards away!) only to be caught in a few seconds!

Lauren, Erin and I had a plan though...we were hopefully going to break away about mile 18 or 19 (when the climb started to get steeper). Well, we kept waiting for an opportunity to present itself and it eventually did. It was just prior to getting pretty steep when Lauren was in front and I was right behind her. Erin was a few people back and I was unable to see her. Lauren and I gapped the others by just a bit but it was enough that I told her that we had to go now. I pulled around her and she got on my wheel and
we made our move. I'm bummed though that Erin wasn't near us; Us before the start
I couldn't communicate with her that we were going. I later found out that she was blocked by two other riders and she was unable to get around them and chase us down.

Lauren and I made steady gains and eventually I looked back and couldn't see the rest of the womens field.
Start of the race
There were many cattle guards that we had to cross and I almost slipped at one point but I was lucky and recovered. The climb continued to get steeper and steeper and I eventually pulled away from Lauren. I wasn't sure if I should wait for her or just go on ahead. I decided to keep going and hope that she'd be able to catch me at some point so that we could work together on the way back. Me after the race

I crested the top of the climb and started on a long downhill and finally the turn around. There were a few men spread out in front of me and it was nice to catch them and/or key off them at least for a while. As I was climbing back up the downhill I just cruised down, I was able to see where everyone was. Lauren was a ways behind me then Bobbi was a ways behind her and it was strung out like that with the entire womens one was really that close to another person.

I was now on my own and it was approximately 24 miles to the finish with a slight downhill and horrible head wind! I proceeded to ride as quickly as I could in hopes that the women behind me wouldn't get organized. I maintained approximately 23-25 mph for the duration of the ride. It even started to rain a bit and I thought that'd be good for me as I'm used to riding in the rain and that maybe it might slow some of the girls down!

Erin says "I did it!"
The advertised distance of the race was 48 miles, but I think it was a few miles short (~45-46 miles total) which was fine for me because my legs were screaming! I crossed the line in 1st place by about 15 minutes or so! I hope I receive points for my upgrade for this race!

I was waiting to see Lauren come across in second, but it was two other women who finished together and then a fourth woman came across the line and no Lauren or Bobbi? I hoped they were alright but didn't know why they hadn't finished second and third, respectively. I eventually found out that Lauren had a rear flat and that Erin came upon her and decided to stop and help. They worked together and Erin finished just in front of Lauren who rode the rest of the way with only 25psi in her rear wheel!! Lauren, Erin and I after the race

We all had a great time and for Erin and Lauren, their first bike race, they learned a lot and are looking forward to the next one as am I!

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