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Racing is fun???

By April 29, 2005No Comments

Hello! Sorry it’s been so long… I guess I better start at the beginning by writing up a *SHORT* race report from High Altitude since I haven’t told you about it yet. So here goes….

We left last Saturday for Cloudcroft with Chris Casey and got down there while it was still light out!! Amazing, amazing. After setting up the tent(in the light!), we sat down to relax and drink a beer. We went to bed pretty early that night and were nervous because the weather was supposed to be bad the next day. I can’t get away from bad weather. The weekend before, remember, was the hail storm on the crest. After about 20 minutes, I was STILL awake and heard this growling. I listened a little longer only to realize that it was a rythmic sound… the sound of a man at rest… it was the infamous snore of Chris Casey. I had heard many stories about this phenomena, but never experienced it first hand. I woke up a lot during the night; in particular, at 4:30 AM I woke up to rain. I was upset and really had a hard time sleeping after that. We headed to registration, bright and early, and I hesistantly handed over the 35 dollar registration fee. When it started snowing and the doppler predicted the weather to only get worse (at 9000+ feet), I tried to get my entry fee back. They wouldn’t give it to me!! In all honesty, I think they should have called the race because the trails were destroyed. I didn’t want to start, but the only thing that made me do it was Damian, my coach. He was in his van getting suited up for the race, big white teeth gleaming, pumped up and ready to go. “C’mon guys, this is mountain biking!!!” he said enthusiastically with a grin on his face. Chris, Adam, and I all looked bleakly at each other and decided to give it a whirl. I gave Adam my ski gloves to wear because he has poor circulation in his hands and feet. My other gloves were made for 50 degrees and my hands were cold before we even started. I only could hope they would get warmer. My warm up was up the road and back in the snow. We were all sitting at the start, soaking wet, and shaking. The race started off very fast and I got dropped on the pavement hill up to the singletrack. My legs would not go. Not in the cold. Not without a warm up. About 20 ft onto the mud bog of a singletrack, I couldn’t even feel my hands to shift. I heard my moms voice in my head, “If the weather is bad, don’t do it. What for?” This time her advice actually got through my normally thick skull and I decided to quit. Riding back down the pavement hill was painful in itself. My hands hurt SO bad, and when they started to dethaw they really hurt! This lady(who also quit) and I had coffee and an egg sandwich in a coffee shop while everyone else was suffering. I felt so bad for Adam. I went to the finish to watch for him. I saw a muddy, wet, almost unidentifiable figure coming across the line and it was him. I am so proud of him for riding in those conditions and for getting SECOND PLACE!!!! He is much tougher than me. Adam, you are truly badass and I always want to be like you!!! I do not regret quitting though because right now, I am at the Tour of the Gila in Silver City, NM. I made the mistake of going for a run Sunday night(after not running at all for 3 months) and am still sore today(Friday) from it. Stupid! Stupid!! I am kind of discouraged with my early season so far. At the Nova Norba National, I was winning the x-country only to get directed off the course by a sign pointing the wrong way for TWENTY MINUTES. I wrecked at Coyote Classic in the beginning and STILL have cactus in my leg (and it still hurts too). And now I quit High Altitude. Some great rider I’m turning out to be. It’s okay…it can only get better!!! 🙂

So now you are probably wondering how the Gila is going. This is the biggest road race in NM and is known for its wind and brutal climbs. This is my third road race ever, so I have been pretty nervous going into it. The descents are steep with lots of sharp, 180 degree turns. I have heard horror stories of people wrecking and breaking a collarbone or femur, and going to the hopsital. Being a Cat 3, I had the option to pick between the 5 day pro race (Cat 1,2,3) or the 3 day race (Cat 3,4). I took the advice given by many to start with the three day. Today was the first stage which was a 64.8 mile race. I could not find the start and arrived 15 minutes prior to it. Between trying to get my spare wheels(which both had flat tires) to the sag vehicle, forgetting my number and having to make a new one, and getting my bike ready, I had less than 3 minutes for warm up. There are 15 women in my field (a little smaller than I was hoping, but oh well). Among them were women I have heard about because they are fast so I was a little intimidated. The race started with a curvy descent. I let a lot of women in front of me because I was feeling timid. Ten minutes into the race, I heard this horrible sound of metal scraping asphalt. I looked back and saw the girl who was a mere 3 ft behind me on the ground. She had gone into the corner too fast. Truth be told, I almost took the corner too fast. After the descent, we began to climb…up, up, up. The pack began to break up, but I managed to stay with the lead group of 7 other women. Let me tell you, warm up is important. By the top of the climb, my legs were filled with lactic acid and I got dropped from the group. Fortunately another woman got dropped at the same time as me. I got by her and was very happy to do the next descent alone. This was the one where everyone wrecks and as KY said, “There is an ambulance on every corner Sapillo(the descent).” I was a weeny going down, but made it through without wrecking. At this point, I was very discouraged because I was by myself on a flat road and knew I had a 50 some mile ride to do alone. I put my head down and started to time trial, hoping to run into someone. After about 15 min, I ran into a woman named Jane Gagne who used to ride pro in the 80s and had actually won the pro race. Later, we ran into her teammate Diane. We all rode together through the valley, taking turns pulling. Eventually we started climbing again. My legs felt TERRIBLE. I consider myself a decent climber, but I was still trying to pull and eventually I couldn’t go anymore. I kept getting dropped by the two women and was fighting myself to catch back on. With about 17 miles to go, I heard a hissing sound and saw a tube on my tire. I stopped to check it out, thinking I had a flat. I don’t know what happened, but it wasn’t a flat. By that time, the two NMVS women were 30-40 feet up the road and I was flailing to catch up. We were 5th, 6th, and 7th position. My goal was to get a top 5 in a stage at this race, so I fought so hard to catch back on only to get dropped again. Evenutally it flattened out a little so I was able to stay with them and help pull again. There were a few more climbs and by the last one, I had drinken half a water bottle and started to feel suprisingly good in comparison to 45 minutes before. I decided to attack mid way through the last climb. It was super windy and I was worried that I would detonate, they would catch me, and I would end up in 7th. I kept saying, “go! go! go!” to myself and kept a decent gap on them. Then something wonderful happened. I looked up the road and there was another woman. “A chance for 4th!!!” I thought. I caught up with her and was cheering her on so we could work together and she would stay with me. I was taking longer pulls than her because I was feeling stronger, and was worried that this would be bad in the end. “Great, she’s going to come around me in the end,” I thought. I think the small amount of time I spent on her wheel helped because at 500 m to go, she said, “I can’t go any faster!” So I came around her and pushed it to the end. At 250 m to go,
my legs started to cramp and I fought it the best I could, hoping she wouldn’t catch me. I was ecstatic to get 4th!! The only problem is that I have some knee pain right now and I’m worried about the rest of the race. Tomorrow is the crit… 13 laps. Should be a good time. At least I have experience with crits! I really want to get top 5 in the overall GC. I would be excited to get that!!! 🙂 See you later.

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