Sunday, July 22, 2012

NC.Com Crits #7, 8: Racing with the Men

Friday I ended up working out in the morning and then walking in the afternoon, deciding to not do the afternoon workout. My legs and mind were tired, plus the MFY was closed and my gym bag was in a locker there. Thankfully the sun was out and I could walk around a neighborhood in the Cool Springs area for an hour. Here is my route, which was 3.8 miles and included 1022’ ascent/1212’ descent. Then for dinner I met up with a bunch of my teammates for Kat’s 30th birthday party. The food at Olivia’s Good News CafĂ© was good, and the company was even better—Cali brought 5-week-old Bennett, who I held for most of the evening!

Saturday we all had a few races downtown. You can (usually) race your own race plus others that you qualify for: women are allowed to race their race plus a men’s race that is their category or one category down. That is, as a Cat 3 woman, I could have raced the Women’s 1/2/3/4 race, the men’s 4/5 race, the men’s 3/4 race, and the men’s 1/2/3 race. And if I were old enough, I could also race the Masters’ race (I will stay young for as long as I can).

The Cat 5 men are the beginners, so I didn’t want to do the 4/5 race. The Cat 3/4 men are more experienced but also faster, but I could convince myself that I was at their level because I typically do women’s Cat 3/4 races. So after getting permission from Todd (because this race was immediately before them women’s one), I lined up for the men’s Cat 3/4 race (with my own condition for myself that if I couldn’t hang with the field, I’d drop out). I didn’t even have to worry about that condition: I stayed with (in the middle of) the field the entire 40 minutes. Woohoo! There were 44 starters and I was 35th—at the very back of the field. I stayed in the middle of the pack until the last lap, when I moved up a little (just to prove to myself that I could) and then drifted back because the extra effort to sprint (for no prize) was not worth putting forth when I knew I had another race immediately following this finish.

Lots more laps in this race, and a much shorter cooldown
Also, a pretty steady HR

Within 10 minutes, I was back to the start line for the women’s race. Catherine, Valerie, Kiki, and I were representing Team Belladium, and we were up against AJ, Marsha, and Karah (Treehouse), Kathy and Leah (SVMIC), and Jess (Trace)—small field compared to the men’s field. The course was the same: 4 corners, all left-hand turns, with a slight uphill after turn 1, a slight downhill after turn 4, and a slight headwind between turns 2 and 3.

There was a lot of action for the first 16 or so minutes of our race, and then for 5 minutes we basically soft-pedaled (for pretty much no reason other than no one was willing to work hard or attack). The pace picked up again after an attack, and Catherine and AJ made it away together. I should have been with them and can’t remember why, exactly, I wasn’t. Then, with 3 laps to go (5+ minutes), I attacked the group that I was with in an effort to catch Cath and AJ. They had slowed down and I could tell, and I knew if I was going to have any chance at catching them it was going to have to happen right then. When they noticed that I was trying to catch them, AJ picked up the pace and I wasn’t able to bridge the gap to them before the end of the race; AJ out-sprinted Cath, and I finished 3rd by myself. It’s pretty evident in the HR data where I attacked the group in the final laps!

Fewer laps in this race, and a much longer cooldown
Also, a pretty unsteady HR

I wish I could’ve won this race; I was feeling really good and we were working together well as a team. But I didn’t make it into the break, and that is completely my fault. I wish I could remember what happened, so that I could make sure I didn’t do it next time we raced! However, this was different than normal because Jes and Katie weren’t there and everyone but AJ and Kathy had raced earlier in the day. Still have some work to do to keep getting stronger and smarter!

The rest of the weekend was a good mix of rest and fun: Easy ride with Val (2h, 34 miles) to watch the Music City Triathlon, shopping, errands (and random conversations with people at the grocery store), church, movie, reading, etc.

Crit 1 stats: 16.85 miles, 38:41, 26.1 mph (31.9 max), 183 bpm, 469’ ascent, 480’ descent
Crit 2 stats: 14.24 miles, 37:58, 22.5 mph (32.8 max), 178 bpm, 618’ ascent, 604’ descent
Sunday ride: 33.39 miles, 2:01:56, 16.4 mph (29.3 max), no HR, 1990’ ascent, 1989’ descent

7-21-12 Stats: 37:58, 14.24 miles, 22.5 mph, 178 bpm, 3rd of 11
7-18-12 Stats: 30:04, 11.29 miles, 22.5 mph, 179 bpm; 5th of 15
6-20-12 Stats: 30:06, 11.21 miles, 22.3 mph, 185 bpm; 6th of 16 (no post)
6-16-12 Stats: 40:18, 15.36 miles, 22.9 mph, 186 bpm; 1st of 14
6-13-12 Stats: 29:40, 11.37 miles, 23.0 mph, 187 bpm; 4th of 23
5-30-12 Stats: don't have them; 3rd of 21
5-23-12 Stats:  31:08, 11.63 miles, 22.4 mph (31.1 max); 3rd of 12

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