Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hell of the South Race Report, Early Easter

Coming into the gravel control!
Source (James Weeks)

Today's race was the Hell of the South, the first TBRA race of the year, in Lewisberg, TN. It is so called because the roads are rough. Very rough. In fact, as I write this I am looking at a bruise on my forearm that I got from my handlebars; while I was holding onto the drops, my forearm was hitting the top part of the bars. Oh, well, that will heal. But it is a reminder that the roads were rough and I was working hard. Parri and I ended up with the lead group of 9, she finished in 4th and I was 7th. Twenty-six women finished; 5 Cat 1/2s, 10 Cat 3s, and 11 Cat 4s. I was 7th overall and 4th Cat 3.

Chillin' – This was the second time
through the gravel section, and I
knew the camera was there

The course was lollipop-shaped, with a very short stem and a pop that we did twice: each loop for us 9 (then 8) in the lead was almost the same. I obviously didn't split at the same place every time, but I came pretty close considering I was more focused on racing then keeping track of mileage. I really didn't look at my watch at all during the race.

HoS 2012 course
Stem 1: 9:03, 2.44 miles
Loop 1: 1:04:45, 21.75 miles, 20.2 mph
Loop 2: 1:05:02, 21.92 miles, 20.2 mph
Stem 2: 6:09, 2.18 miles

Coming into the finish, we had about 2 miles to set up. I was set to lead out Parri, and when we saw the 1KM TO GO sign, Shannon (next to me, and she and I were at the front of the group) started picking up the pace. I couldn't just let her go, so I had to start my leadout too. It was sooner than I'd wanted to start, and I didn't leave Parri in the best position. She still put up a good fight and ended up 4th. Somehow I didn't even make it into this picture (but I could see them finishing), and I finished 7th.

Parri (in yellow), with Liz, Amy, and AJ (from L to R)

Considering that last year I wasn't even close to Parri (who TT-ed nearly the whole race) and the first chase group, I am pleased with how this year's race went.

Finished...a little bit off the winner, but not too much

2012 race: 2:28:06, 48.78 miles, 19.8 mph (36.3 max), 138 bpm (189 max); 7/26 overall, 4/10 Cat 3
2011 race: 2:45:15, 50.03 miles, 18.2 mph (34.8 max), 173 bpm (196 max); 9/17 overall, 5/9 Cat 1/2/3

First time through the gravel section;
determined to get through in one piece


Catherine ended up by herself in no-man's land, and Val and a couple people she was with ended up missing a turn (they were not the only ones who missed that same turn). It was so nice to have a lead vehicle--we didn't have to pay attention to where we were going. Since it is the racer's responsibility to know the course and I hadn't ridden this route, though, I did have a cue sheet in my pocket just in case I needed it. Thankfully I didn't!

Sunday was a beautiful day all day, and my cousin was home for the weekend from college. I went over to my aunt and uncle's house, where we hunted for (and found) our Easter baskets and all enjoyed some tasty brunch on the back porch. If I hadn't had to ride with my team, I might have just stayed out there all day.

Lotion, bunny-shaped Mac'n'Cheese, Clif bars, applesauce,
and post-its from my Easter basket; I also got dark-chocolate
eggs, but those were gone by the time I took this picture

Anna, Parri, Todd, Lee, Catherine, and I went out for a ride, but Todd and Anna ended up cutting their rides short. Parri, Lee, Catherine, and I rode the following route and enjoyed the sunshine. It took us about 2:05/2:10; I don't have the stats because I accidentally pressed the STOP button on my Garmin. 

I had very little time between my team ride and my softball game that evening. I am not really on the team because I won't be here for much of the season, but I was here today and they needed a girl. I was more than happy to play! It was with the same team I played with last year, but half of us hadn't picked up a bat or a ball since last October. I would've had an error in the field, but thankfully my right-center fielder was backing me up and caught the ball I tipped off my glove. After that, no issues for me in the field. And then I hit 2 in-the-park home runs. An over-the-fence HR would be nearly impossible, since the fences are at 281 on the sides and 285' in the center; there is only a line that fielders are required to stand behind when women are up to bat. But I will take HRs any way I can get them, and as much as I enjoy playing in a women's league, co-ed leagues are almost more fun because at least half the batters can hit (and it's not always the guys who can hit).

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