April 12-15, 2007
Once again the Sea Otter Classic returned to Laguna Seca. Not only do I volunteer every year at the VIP tent I also race the Road Race and Circuit Race (which is the only time a cyclist has the opportunity to ride on the race track!).
I finally was achieved my cat. 3 upgrade, so these two races would be my first in this new category. I was a bit nervous, but knew that riding with this new group would be beneficial to my overall training.
The circuit race was held on friday in the afternoon. It was too windy and there seemed to be a large group of women with whom to ride. The race is 50 minutes long and I think we were able to get in about 7 loops. The pack mostly stayed together for the entire race. I made a few small attacks to see what would happen but otherwise stayed as close to the front as possible. On our final lap one girl broke away on the first gradual climb. I tried to go with her, but didn't quite have it. A small group of us however got together and managed to work together down the cork screw and up and around the final climb. I saw the girl in front on the flat section just before making the final right right hand turn; I decided to go for her as she seemed to be slowing just a bit. I rode up on her right and kept hammering for a sprint finish with my taking my first cat. 3 win! It was a difficult race but worth it!
Saturday saw dark clouds, heavy rain and gusty winds. Lauren, Erin and I wondered if we would even race. We went to the officials who were hiding under the bridge to keep from getting soaked. They said they weren't sure but to suit up just in case!
I was surprised when I got down to the start and we actually had quite a large field. The road race was 5 loops in the former Ft. Ord with an up hill finish. The weather conditions make it extremely hard to see especially when descending. The rain would pelt you so hard that it actually hurt your eyes and face. By the second loop or so there was a small break away of about 9 women, myself included. It was hard to work together because of the conditions but we did try our best despite one women yelling at us to get organized and work together. Eventually Patty yelled at her and that was the end of everyone yelling! The course was quite difficult and I think it wore people down.
After the 5th loop we made our way back down a nice long descent to a sharp right hand turn and the final climb of the race. With just about 200m to go, one of the girls jumps. I go right after her and kept pushing until she cracked and I got to the line about a wheel in front of her! It was definitely close and very hard.
I was glad to win both races and I look forward to more bike racing in the future.