Monday, May 27, 2013

US Pro National Championships Time Trial and Road Race

Catherine, Katherine, Katie, Jes, Amanda, and me before the RR

Market Street Bridge (source - Casey B. Gibson)

This Memorial Day weekend was absolutely amazing. Saturday was the US Pro National Time Trial, and Monday was the US Pro National Road Race. Both were in Chattanooga, TN, and so much fun. These were the US Pro National races, which means that the best of the best of the cyclists in the United States were out to race. And we were honored to be able to line up with and race against them.

Katie, Cath, T, me, and AJ after the TT

My teammates Catherine and Amanda, and guest rider Katie, all decided to race the time trial. The TT was 31 kilometers long, and 42 women raced. I went along for moral support (T was there for mechanical and strategical support, and I'm pretty sure my job was much easier) and got to cheer at a few places along the course. The Team Belladium women were amazing and so strong. We'd done this course at the beginning of the month for our state TT, and Amanda bettered her time by 2 minutes! Catherine and Katie were going at the course for the first time and were super strong. Katie was 30th (47:14), Amanda was 38th (49:05), and Catherine was 40th (49:57).

AJ, me, Cath, and Katie previewing the course

We had ridden one lap of the course on Friday, and on Saturday after cooling down, we headed to Lookout Mountain to ride down on Scenic Highway. This descent would be part of Monday's road race, and we wanted to be comfortable with it and to have done it before we actually had to do it in the race. We drove to the top, rode down, and then were shuttled back to the top by Todd. We repeated one more time and then headed home. The ride was about 8 miles total, and we got up to 42 mph on the descent (one time down, we had tons of traffic, and one time down we had much more open road).

Katie, Catherine, and AJ after the TT

We headed back to Chattanooga on Sunday and, after checking in and picking up our numbers, rode one lap of the circuit. The roads weren't closed and we weren't riding at speed, but the course was well-marked so we became familiar with the course. Dinner was at The Terminal, and dessert was at Clumpy's, and then we headed back to the house to rest up before Monday's race.

75 women all together!

Monday morning, we all signed in together and then warmed up as necessary. Finally, we lined up with 68 other women for the US Pro National Road Race: Catherine, Amanda, me, and Katherine, and guest riders Jes and Katie. We had 3 laps of a 5.3-mile circuit to complete first, and it was super fast. I think I got a new fastest 5-mile time on each of these circuits! After the circuits, we headed to Lookout Mountain for a climb and descent. Then it was to be one circuit, one climb/descent, three circuits, finish. I was unable to finish because I was outside the time restriction. Out of the ~75 starters, maybe 42 finished the entire course. Others were scored by position but weren't allowed to complete the entire course. I wasn't happy about having to be pulled, and I have a lot to work on for next year.

Katie and me at T's car

I was in a fairly good position for most of the first lap of the circuit. I was much too close to the back on the second lap, and I was almost off the back on the third lap. In preparing for this race, I spent a lot of mental and physical energy on the climb and forgot to focus enough on the circuit. Lesson learned! Next time I will prepare for all aspects of a race before I begin it.

Climbing Lookout (source)

This was a big-time race, and being able to stay with the pros for as long as I did was an encouragement. I have a lot of work to do to be able to remain with them for the rest of the race, but it is definitely a start.

Collins family

We had fun all weekend, and I am super proud of all of my teammates! Katie was the only Team Belladium lady to finish, and she was in 26th place of the 42 finishers. I was pulled first, then Katherine, Amanda, Catherine, and Jes. It is definitely frustrating to be pulled, but it is not quite as frustrating when you know you've done your best. Maybe some day my best will be as good as some of these other ladies' bests :-)

Stats from Monday's Road Race:
1:26:20, 26.68 miles, 18.5 mph (38.9 max), 162 bpm (192 max), 2998' ascent, 2940' descent
Circuit: 33:02, 13.13 miles, 23.8 mph (38.9 max), 155 bpm (190 max)
(I fell off about 2.5 miles before the end of the last lap.)
Solo: 14:26, 5.14 miles, 21.3 mph, 197 bpm
Climb: 23:09, 2.63 miles, 6.8 mph, 183 bpm
Descent: 8:10, 3.6 miles, 26.5 mph, 135 bpm
Finish: 7:32, 2.19 miles, 17.4 mph, 131 bpm
(I finished at the feed zone.)

My max speed is so low, and appears during the circuit rather than the descent, because I was in the little ring and behind multiple cars for the entire descent. I was really bummed I didn't have an open road, but that will be more motivation to get up there with the group (or at least closer to it) next year.

Blue gets a break after the long, hard weekend

Street art by the Collins family

Ashly has a good video here, from one of the first few laps of the circuit when we were all together.

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