Sunday, March 18, 2012

Union City Mayor's Circuit Race and Road Race Recap

This weekend, Anna, Shelly, Todd, and I all traveled southeast to Union City, Georgia, for a weekend of racing. Although there was a time trial on Saturday morning, we went for only the Circuit Race (CR) (2pm Saturday) and the Road Race (RR) (9:10am Sunday).

Circuit Race Podium

Twelve Cat 1/2/3/4 women were in the CR, which started like an RR and ended like a crit. We were to race only 30 minutes and started out pretty slow. Eventually Shelly and Anna started trying to pick up the pace a little, and Anna ended up off the front for at least 3 of our 9 laps. A couple of the other women had to do some hard work to bring her back, but they eventually did with 2 laps to go, so she had a couple laps to recover before the finish. That was good for me, because our plan had been for a team win and for her and Shelly to lead me out. Anna had an amazing lead out, nearly the entire last lap, until the little hill before the last turn where I knew I'd have to get in front of her before anyone from behind us came around me. So I made my move and won the race.

Circuit Race Finishing Sprint
There were a few others from Nashville there, and Tim from took this picture.

According to the referee, the difference between a circuit race and a crit is that in a circuit, you ride for distance and don't have mechanical help, whereas in a crit you ride for time and have a wheel pit/free lap. Also, usually, circuits are longer than crits. This course was 0.98 miles around, all right-hand turns, and fun course. It should have also been fast, but we started very slow.

Stats: 24:37, 8.83 miles (9 laps), 21.5 mph (33.7 max), 174 bpm (197 max). Course profile:

The RR setup was quite different than the CR: The race director allowed the women to start with whatever category of men they wanted; we did not have our own race. Anna and I started with the 62 Cat 4 men and raced 55 miles (we could have also started with the 64 Cat 3 men and raced 73 miles) with 3 other women (5 total in our group, and 5 more who raced with the 67 Cat 5 men). We knew that this race was going to start out fast, and it did. But it didn't just start out fast—it continued and ended fast as well. There were lots of times when we would brake, but there were also lots of times when we were completely on the gas with no breaks. My main goal during this race was to stay with the pack and make sure Anna could see me the entire time. I knew that if she could see me, she'd stay with the pack as well, and I knew that if I thought she was looking for me, I'd stay with the pack because I'd think someone was counting on me. It's all about the mental game at that point—your body is physically well-prepared, so now you have to put your mind to work. And work for me it did.

The entire race, I'd focused on staying about 20–30 bikes back from the front; a few times I'd get closer, a few times I'd get farther back, but I'd always get back up to the middle position. If I was still with all the other women and with the pack, at 5 miles to go, I'd make my way up to the front and sprint it out or lead Anna out. However, by that point Anna had flatted (twice) and wasn't with us any more (I am so thankful for the guy who rode up to tell me, because otherwise I'd have been continually looking for her and wondering what happened). I knew that the other women were, so I was plotting my move and my finish. The most significant climb (the rest of the route had been rolling hills) came with about 6 or 8 miles to go (I remember looking at my watch at 44 minutes and 1:33 and not any other time during the race, so these are just estimates), and by that time I knew Anna was off and I had only 3 other women to think about. I had just seen Julia and knew where she was, I had noticed that BettyJean was toward the back, and I could see Kim next to me. During that climb I told myself that if I could stay with the guys I was with up and over that climb, I would be good. Plus I could see that Kim was starting to fall off, and that was even more motivation for me to keep moving with them.

There were one or two times where I thought maybe I couldn't do it, but I kept pedaling and telling myself to let that group pull me up and to not do too much work. Just before the top, I noticed Kim was off but I will still with the group. I still looked around during those last 5 miles to make sure I hadn't missed another woman, but I pretty much knew I was home free—as long as I was in the group I was in, I would win the race. I'm sure I had the biggest smile on my fast that entire 5 miles.

Road Race Podium

Stats: 2:22:46, 55.47 miles, 23.3mph (41.7 max), 163 bpm (199 max). Course profile:

This shows only 1 of our 2 laps (on the pop of the lollipop)

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