Sunday, June 30, 2013

TN State Road Race: Hard and Hilly!

Cat 1/2 podium: Amanda 1st, Liz 2nd, Kat 3rd

Saturday was the annual TN State Road Race. The venue changes every year, but the gist is the same: The person who wins the race earns a jersey and the right to call herself the current road race champion. The 2012 state road race was in Oak Ridge (I was 3 of 6 Cat 3), and the 2011 state road race was in East Tennessee (I was 12 of 15 Cat 1/2/3). This year's race was the Cookeville/Avery Trace Road Race. I did not compete in this road race last year because I had been racing at the Tour of America's Dairyland the previous week and the next day was the 2012 State Crit. But that didn't mean I didn't remember it.

Cat 3 podium: Cali 1st, Stephanie 2nd, Martha 3rd

Remember it I did! In early June of 2012, we had previewed the course. In addition, I went along on race day to support the team, but I watched everything from Todd's car. This year was a different story because I was on my bike, on the road, not in a car. We got to the first of the 3 short climbs, and I remembered why, the previous year, it had been a quick decision of mine to not do the race. This year, however, I was already committed and just told myself, You have to do this. You can do this. You are already out here, and you are still with a group, so keep going. My goal going into this race was to make it through at least the first 17 miles with the group and then ride hard, hopefully with someone or some people, for the remaining ~40 miles.

Cookeville/Avery Trace RR

The first climb went well for me, and I descended (down the tricky, pot-holey, wet, shadowed, fast descent) with the group, which at the start was 14 Cat 1/2/3 women (9 Cat 1/2 and 5 Cat 3). On the second climb, I was leading (and thrilled about it!). I thought, This is GREAT! If they let me lead this whole time, I can go at my pace up a hill forever! Close to the top, Liz got a little anxious and came around me, but I think it was simply for the sake of not being behind someone, not for the sake of pushing the pace. I made it up most of the 3rd climb with the group but fell off slightly and found myself with Jes, Martha, and Stephanie. My first thought was that I would be stuck with them, but then I decided to attack and bridge up to the rest of the group. I did, but so did they (because the first group slowed up). We all rode together until that climb around mile 17. I began the climb with the group but was unable to stay.

Eventually, Missy and I ended up together (she waited for me to catch her) and rode really well together. I was happy to have someone to ride with, as was she, and we made a good team: she pulled up all the hills, and I descended first and pulled on a lot of flats. This entire time, from ~Mile 18 until ~Mile 41, we could see Parri, Stephanie, and Martha ahead of us; we also knew that Jess, Jes, and Leah were behind us. We would have loved to have caught the group ahead of us, and a few times it felt like we were gaining on them. Then the next time we looked, we were holding steady and not making up any ground. Parri is strong, so that was probably part of it :-)

Eventually, at the climb at Mi 41, it really looked like we could catch them, and Missy climbed at her pace and I at mine. I thought for sure she'd finish with those three, but we both ended up staying in no-man's land by ourselves. I could still see her (and Parri and them) the rest of the way in, but I never could get close enough to catch them. I never saw Jes and them behind me.

The finish of the lead group came to a sprint -- Kat did some hard work to lead Amanda out, and Amanda did her job winning that sprint and the race. Kat was 4th, Catherine was 5th, and Cali was 6th. Woot! I was 11th; as I was finishing the final 15 miles, I was counting riders wondering if there was any way I could make top 10. But seeing as how Missy and I couldn't catch Parri's group even though we were working together, I knew there wasn't any way I could catch them by myself. So I couldn't move up. Bummer!

My main goals for this race were to finish, stay with the group for at least the first 17 miles, and use the day as a good long training ride and a half-Ironman-distance-bike time gauge. My time goal was 2:50, which, if doubled, would mean a 5:20 Ironman-distance-bike time. Louisville is significantly flatter than this, and I finished in 2:47. Woot!

Stats: 2:47:42, 55.18 miles, 19.7 mph (45.3 max), 167 bpm (192 max), 11/14 and 8/9 Cat 1/2

Preliminary results are here.

Here's what the course looked like last year:

2012 Cookeville Road Race route
Sunday I met Val at the MFY for a long run. She and I did 4.5 miles together (10 min/mile), and then I ran another 5.5 by myself (8:30 min/mile) for a total distance of 10 miles, time of 1:30, and pace of 9:09. Considering how tired my legs had been after Saturday's race, I was thrilled that I could hold 8:30s steady for that long (and I was actually really close to steady on the hilly MYF 6-mile loop I did clockwise: 8:26, 8:22, 8:27, 8:35, 8:37).

My normal Sunday bike-cleaning looked like this today:

Little Blue getting cleaned
Normally BB would have wheels and it would be much easier to clean. However, I was also working on changing wheels/brake pads and I wanted to clean it outside (it's amazing how dirty a bike can get on the top of a car!), so I had to improvise with a bike stand. This worked for today!

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