Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cantua Creek & Pine Flat RR's

Me, Lauren & Erin warming up for Cantua Creek
February 17-18, 2007

In my quest for upgrade points I decided to compete in back to back road races, the first in Coalinga.
I left for Coalinga on friday afternoon in hopes of getting down there early enough to have some time to relax before going to bed. Erin and her husband Mike got to the hotel before I did as I ended up taking the LONG way!

Lauren arrived a few hours after I did as the three of us were going to race saturday morning at 8:50am. Both Erin and Lauren are getting used to bike racing and are having a good time and are doing very well.

It was an early morning on saturday and a little drive to the local Starbucks before arriving in the middle of nowhere for our 52 mile bike race which actually ended up to be only around 48 miles approximately.

The course was mostly flat and two loops with an up hill finish. The pace was pretty slow for almost the entire ride which made it seem to take a long time. I had to pee so bad and one of the women, Jessi, tried to organize a stop. We were all almost in agreement as I wasn't the only one who needed to go, but one women didn't want to stop, so we all kept going. The night before the race in Coalinga

I jumped at one point up a small incline to see what would happen and the pack jumped also. I slowed down at the top of the rise and let them catch me and we rode together for the final loop. I saw the sign for 1k to go and so I took a chance and went for it. I glanced back a time or two and no one was with me. I pushed as hard as I could and ended up finishing first! Lauren was right behind in second and Erin I believe placed 6th! Overall it was a great race and warm up for the next day.

We got back to our hotel and changed into running clothes. Erin and Lauren ran for about a 1/2 hour while I ran about an hour. It was so warm out and the terrain was rolling hills that it was great Wildflower training.

I got back with just enough time to shower, pack and grab some food before Erin, Mike and I left for Fresno. The drive wasn't too bad and we arrived at our hotel in time to relax for a bit, take a dip in the pool and then go grab dinner. We got to bed early as tomorrow would be yet another early morning.
Since we don't have matching jersey's, Erin
bought us matching "Team Heart Socks."

We made our way to the start of the Pine Flat RR; approximately 62 miles of rolling hills in the misty morning. Erin and I warmed up on our trainers and talked excitedly about today's race. We both felt pretty good on the trainer, but the true test would come as we start the race with an up hill. I'm not exactly sure how many of us there were, but we did have a pretty good group who actually worked together. Erin was having some trouble during the first half of the race with the down hills; she is getting better, but was still a bit nervous. She is strong on the flats, she if there was a gap, she'd always catch us...pissed her off she said, but she's a tough girl and I know every time she gets on her bike, those down hills will get easier!

My finish at Pine Flat

I felt really good and did my fair share of pulling especially toward the end. There was one other woman who was pretty strong on the up hills; she used to race Cat. 2 in Canada but hadn't been racing for quite some time. She and I rode away from the pack towards the end when the climbs got a bit steeper. We worked really well together (she was crazy fast on the down hills and I worked extremely hard to stay with her) and rode almost all the way to the finish. It was probably just over 200m to go when she jumped from behind but just didn't have quite enough to keep her momentum and I saw my chance...jumped and rode as hard as I could on the up hill finish for the win. I can't believe how good I felt and it was great to have Cara to work with. Erin finished in 5th place and she felt great!

My next bike race won't be until Sea Otter Classic in April.

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