I have done this omnium once before (2011) and ridden the road race course three times (2011 recon, 2011 race, and 2012 recon). It does not get any easier. The 38-mile course ends with a 3.5-mile climb up Raccoon Mountain, which from the direction we climb is about a 6-8% the entire time besides a little descent around mile 2.5.
The weekend started with the 4-mile time trial, and my goals were to finish in the top 10, beat my time from last year (9:58), and beat Amanda. (There's an overall award for the state, and I started the weekend 25 points behind Amy [who couldn't earn any more points] and 7 points ahead of Amanda [who could earn more points]; I figured if I beat her, then I'd end up the overall winner, so my goal was to beat her.) I finished 9th in a time of 9:53, so I achieved my first two goals. However, Amanda beat me by 5 seconds and 1 position, so I was now only 5 points ahead of her...more pressure for the crit!
Our crit was at 6:05pm (my TT had started at 9:14am), so I had enough time to relax and prepare, but I was definitely nervous going into the race. There were 19 of us 1/2/3 women, and I knew I had to do well. It was a hard race, but I hung on to the lead group and finished 6th overall, 1st Cat 3, and earned 40 points to put me a slightly-more-comfortable-but-by-no-means-cushy distance ahead of Amanda.
Going into the race on Sunday I knew that I’d probably have to finish within the top 5 Cat 3s, and that was going to be a major challenge. However, as we started the race, I realized that I would just have to finish this race because Amanda wasn’t racing (she had been hurt in the crit the night before and wasn’t able to race). Then there was a lot less pressure on me and I was able to just enjoy the race—I definitely enjoyed it!
There is a climb around mile 7 that split the group up for a few miles, and I made it up that climb with the lead group—hooray! I was hoping that this break would stay away, but we (and there were maybe 20 of us) couldn’t get organized and got caught just before the QOM climb around mile 14. I did not make it up this climb with the lead group but was with a few people, and we were able to work together on the descent to catch others and eventually catch the lead group. So this meant that I started the stair-step climb around mile 20 with the lead group! Considering the strength of the women in that group (like my teammates Catherine and Parri; Jackie, who is a pro; Pam, who won the Cat 1/2 TBAR jersey; Amy, who won the Cat 3/4 overall at ToAD; and others), I was thrilled to be in that position. I would’ve been even happier had I been able to stay with them, but I wasn’t and just had to watch them ride away.
At this point, I knew I had about 20 women ahead of me, and there were at least 2 in that group who could score Cat 3 TBRA points; I imagined AJ in that group, which put me in 4th, and I HAD to stay there. So I rode the next 12 or so miles by myself, doing my best to make up time on the group ahead of me and not look back to see whether anyone was gaining on me. Eventually I started the final climb, and I still had not been passed by anyone. But 1:26 into my climb, Todd and Valerie drove up beside me. I was surprised to see Val since she’d started the race with us, but she said she’d flatted and cramped and sagged at the feed zone. Val said there were some girls on their way to me, and it ended up being Anna and Kiki (with 1 other) who caught me 6 minutes into the climb. Sadly, I wasn’t able to stay with them or with the other 2 girls who passed me eventually as well, but no one else passed me and I could see those 5 for most of the rest of the climb. I ended up finished 26th overall and maybe the 8th Cat 3 (4th or 5th TN girl), which was just under where I’d wanted to finish.
However, because AJ didn’t race, I won the TBAR points race and earned a jersey. Definitely couldn’t have done it without Anna’s and Valerie’s help this weekend and throughout the rest of the season! Catherine also won the jersey for her Cat 4 category. Success for Team B!
Since I didn’t have my Garmin, I don’t have stats for the first 2 climbs and I have only time from the final climb. But here are the stats from the previous times I’ve ridden the course:
- Queen of the Mountain (QoM)
- Begins around mile 10.2 and lasts approximately 1.8 miles
- 8-14-11: ~9:40 (~1.8mi)
- 8-28-11: ~9:20 (~1.9mi)
- 8-12-12: ~8:50 (~1.7mi)
- Begins around mile 33.3 and lasts approximately 3.4 miles
- 8-14-11: 29:50 (3.4mi)
- 8-28-11: 25:12 (3.4mi)
- 8-12-12: 24:58 (3.34mi)
- 8-26-12: 26:33
This is a picture of the race route, including elevation.
River Gorge RR and Profile