Cherry Pie Race Report
Lesson No. 1 - Never get in between a girl and a cherry pie.
This is the first time I’ve raced the Cherry Pie Criterium and I am already looking forward to mastering it next year. My nerves were strung so tight in anticipation of this race since I was still recovering from a very nasty cold that hit me earlier in the week. I had to take most of the week off of training and I felt that my fitness wasn’t up to par for a course with a hill sprint. (Note: I'm not a fan of hills)
I showed up at the race with plenty of time to spare and it was nice to be in the cycling atmosphere. After signup I meandered along the side streets close to the course to do a quick 15 minute warm up with a few sprints to get the blood going to the legs. There were some ominous looking clouds, but luckily it never rained during the course of our race. It was great to see Jim, Russ and Joe racing as well! Seeing your teammates really kick butt in their race is such a rush!
At the start line I noticed what it really meant to have the 35+ category grouped with Cat 4’s. I noticed quite a few Los Gatos girls that were Cat 1 and 2 in our race and that immediately got my heart pumping pretty steadily since I knew they would be taking charge with the pace of the race. Los Gatos was very prominent in this race and there were about 10 of them out of 55 entrants.
Once the whistle blew it was every one for themselves as girls were fighting to jockey into position before the 90 degree right hand turn. The 1, 2’s were already in the front drawing out a beautiful line for that quick turn and it strung out along the backside of the course. I tucked myself in the top 20 since I wanted to play this race safe and I was determined not to get dropped by the field and therefore pulled out of the race. The two quick lefts and the chicane were taken slowly and the hill didn’t seem so bad the first time around. I managed to keep my spot in the top 20’s for the first half of the race, all the while the 1, 2 girls in the front kept upping the pace. The race ended up being amazingly fast and with about 6 laps to go I was really starting to doubt how my legs would hold up. I was trying to move up during the backside of the course, but I couldn’t get more than 10 back from the front and during the turns I would drop back another 10 places to get where I just started. I knew that I wasn’t racing the smartest during the last 5 laps and expending too much energy but at this point I just wanted to finish! The last lap was a mass finish to the start and I ended up getting 28th overall and 16th in the Category 4’s. Not quite what I had hoped for, but now I’m ready for next year!