Monday, June 1, 2009

Cycling Adventures!

Though I haven’t written in a while I have been racing and riding my bike a lot and having plenty of fun at the same time. Some of the highlights for the past few months include:
4/26/09 Wente Criterium – 18th out of 30
5/2/09 & 5/3/09 – Women’s Track Clinic at the Velodrome
5/8/09 – Friday Night Track Race – 2nd overall Ominum winner
5/17/09 – Strawberry Fields Forever Century Ride – Tons of food and fun times. My boyfriends first 100 mile ride too!
5/25/09 San Jose Memorial Criterium - 8th out of 42 (won 2 prime laps)
5/30/09 Golden State Criterium - 1st out of 16 (won 1 prime lap)

During these past few months I have learned quite a bit about racing, tactics and making sure that having fun on the bike is my top priority. I had quite a disappointment at the Wente Crit: I was 4th coming around the final turn but couldn’t react to the attacks coming on both sides of me during the straight away to the finish. I was very bummed that I didn’t take any chances and played it safe until the end of the race, only to have a spot on the podium vanish in front of my eyes. My self-esteem on a bike plummeted until the next weekend where I played on the track with about 24 other girls. The women’s track clinic hosted by SJBC was an excellent introduction to the track and I gained A TON of fitness that weekend. The following Friday there were specific races for us beginner girls and I had a smile on my face during the race and afterwards when I received my overall second place prize of legwarmers and a cookie. Once I finish with my semester at school I am going to be racing the track much more on Tuesdays and Wednesday nights, the skills and explosiveness of track suit my racing style and it’s just so much fun!

The other highlight of May included completing the Strawberry Fields Forever Century Ride with my boyfriend and my dad. My boyfriend is an English teacher at a high school over in Morgan Hill and doesn’t have much time to train, but was amped to think he could complete this beautiful course right in our backyard. Not only did he complete with hardly a whimper, he did the whole thing without cycling shoes and has a steel touring bike that weighs about twice as much as mine. What a trooper!

The San Jose Memorial Criterium was the beginning of a new era of racing for Kimi. The Women’s 4 field was the largest I’ve raced in for a crit, 42 ladies charging for 1st place. The Los Gatos team was out in full force and they were trying to dominate the race by throwing girls up in the front to keep the pace high. Even though I knew I was all alone out there I figured I wouldn’t let a stronger team dominate the race and not wait until the end to make a move. I ended up breaking away from the pack twice throughout the race and nabbed 2 primes and time trialed a total of two laps by myself in an attempt to psyche out the field. I am happy with an 8th place finish since I know I worked hard and learned a lot about my racing style.

The Golden State Crit this past Saturday was certainly a highlight for me. I took the lessons I learned from the Memorial Day Crit and applied them to this race as well. The field was quite a bit smaller, only 17 girls total and I could see that a few of them were inexperienced in racing crits. The FBCC/Chipotle team was out and it was immediately obvious they were shooting to having one of their teammates win, they were trying to lead her out and were protecting her the whole race. At first the pace was decent, but on the backside of the course the headwind made everyone slow down to a crawl since no one wanted to work. I was getting frustrated by this speed and went up to the front to try and speed up the pace. Instead I ended up breaking away from the group and TT’d for about 1 ½ laps while also grabbing a prime. I figured it was too early to keep my break away going so I headed back in the pack to rest for a bit. Again, the pace slowed and another Dolce Vita girl tried to attack a few times, but didn’t stay out in the front for too long. I attacked a few more times as well but still the group never did increase their speed, even on the last few laps. During the backside of the last lap a Chipotle girl (a girl that has a mean sprint) attempted an early lead-out for her teammate but the teammate didn’t follow. People were looking around trying to figure out who was going to make the next move but no one was willing to work because of the slight headwind we had. With 2 more short turns to go before the finish line I attacked with all my might hoping that: a) I would string out the pack so that it would be a safer finish for the less experienced riders, b) I would get enough of a gap so that the sprinters wouldn’t have a chance in hell of outsprinting me at the line, or, c) if I did get passed I would still get a podium finish. Luckily it was a combination of options b and c and I came around the final turn with the pack far behind me and I crossed the finish line with no competition around me. Yahoo! It was such a thrill to finally win a race, and I hope it will be the first of many wins to come.

2 comments:

Satin Matt said...

you sound like you are going really strong Kimi...love the spirit of stringing it out for a safer finish for the inexperienced girls...true leadership quality there...and congrats on a well-deserved win.

Dennis the Mennis said...

Impressive results! And nice write-up too!