Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hell of the South Race Report

This was my first time doing this race, its second running. Earlier this year, we had ridden the race course as a team, preparing for the gravel section and the extremely rough roads. Any preparation I can get of courses is of immense benefit, and I was feeling very confident about the course. I knew where the turns were, knew where the hills were, knew where the headwind would really come into play. The only unknown was how rough or smooth that gravel section would be. It was fairly smooth when we’d ridden it earlier, but today it was quite rough—almost like they’d recently put a new layer of gravel down.

The gravel section is what split up the group. Earlier (after our 2-mile neutral zone, which was good for our safety and the safety of the finishing Cat 5 men, yet was probably unnecessary since they stopped the men and waved us through) in the race, we launched a few attacks and reacted to a few others. The pace was going between fast and easy, and nothing stuck until just after the gravel. I got stuck in no-man’s land here, and stayed there for the next mile or so until Stephanie and Olga (teammates) caught me.

I tried not to work with them much, knowing that I had three teammates ahead of me and one slightly behind (who might have been able to catch if I could have slowed the pace just slightly, but Stephanie and Olga were doing the majority of the work and not allowing Lisa to catch up). Before Olga fell off, I had still been debating whether to wait for Lisa or go up to Anna. Finally I said to Stephanie, “Let’s not play the race behind us (that is, let’s not worry about what’s going on back there) and play the race ahead of us (that is, let’s catch the girls in front of us).” That was the best decision I made all day and something I have to remember every race.

We worked to catch up to Anna and Amy, but it ended up being the 3 of us after Stephanie just couldn’t hold on. That was probably around mile 15 or 20, and we rode the remainder of the race together. We made a good team, pushing each other up hills and reminding each other that we were still racing those ahead of us, not just thinking, Oh, we can’t see anyone behind us who might catch us, so maybe we can take it easy for a few minutes. Actually, I was the one who didn’t allow any of that kind of talk! Anna and I did our best nonverbal communication about the final sprint and executed pretty much perfectly, finishing right next to each other at the line and leaving Amy probably 50 meters behind us. Cali came up to us after and said she’d been watching from behind and saw some good teamwork. Woohoo!

Unfortunately, we never did catch (nor see) the field ahead of us. In fact, we didn’t even know that Parri had taken off at mile 10 and stayed away for the remainder of the race. She won after basically a 40-mile solo TT.

Lisa was in the field and won the sprint (which was less of a field by the time she and Katy got to the line), so Team Belladium took first and second in this race.

It was a good local race with a fair women’s field, so we were happy with the results. I would have liked to have been in the field, and looking back maybe I could have been. It was a tough decision, though, because I didn’t know if anyone else would have come up with me and field would have been even bigger with possibly other stronger riders. So many things to think of while on the road!

I ended up in 9th place with Anna a close 10th, Lisa 13th, and Jonell 16th. The legs are feeling better and better each race, and I can’t wait to race again soon!

  • Totals: 2:45:15, 50.03 miles, 18.2 avg (34.8 max), 173 HR (196 max), 3,155 cal
  • 9 of 17, women 1-2-3-4; we were all racing together, but had we been separated, I’d have been 5/8 or 5/9 I think (I'm not sure of a few riders’ categories)

Later, after church, I headed to Farkas’ for dinner with Aunt Renee and Lauren. After dinner, Aunt Renee walked me through a genogram, which is basically a relational family tree. It was challenging to try to determine (within the given parameters) my relationship with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings, and their relationships with others.

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