Michele Heaton Cat4 woman
This race was a blast. After Cantua Creek I wasn’t too sure I wanted to race anymore. That race was slow, dangerous and boring for 2 1/4 hours and fun for about 15 minutes. But I was going to this race enthusistic about riding my new Jamis race bike, which I just got, and Steve has been working hard to get me fit correctly on. For years I had been riding a very comfortable, flexy, relaxed geometry Roubaix. This is my first time being on a stiffer, more aggressive bike. Then adding my new Magnesium 1274 gram American Classic race wheels, I can’t believe the difference. In all honesty I have never payed attention to my gear. I just try to be as comfortable as I can be and go. Now I see what everyone is talking about. I am definitely joining the “geaking out on gear club” now!
With so few women at CCCX, they combined all 3 categories. There were 4 123’s, 4 35+ Masters and 8 Cat. 4 women to race with. Early on I guessed the one to watch was riding for Tread. After the race I learned she is a pro, off to race in Europe next week. She made the race really fun. She was constantly attacking, whittling the group down to 7 after lap 1, then down to 6 on the last lap. It was really fun to respond to the attacks. I felt I could have charged to her wheel, but I worked on latching on to a good wheel and trying not to work too hard, conserving energy. The final 1/2 lap I moved forward, expecting a blistering attack on one of the final rollers. Unfortunately it never happenned and instead I got sucked into leading out the final 2 hills in the wind. I decided to keep the pace hard enough, but not so hard that I didn’t have a good kick at the finish. I was not taxed from the race at all, never having to dig deep once so I knew I had quite a bit of energy left. As we started to descend I tucked in, waiting for what I thought was the moment I could jump and hold it to the end. I wanted to jump early and not have it come to a last moment sprint as I think my parents may have passed me up on the fast twitch muscles. As it was, I jumped on a sling shot from the last fast left turn. Way too early! I thought the finish was closer. I looked back and everyone was lining up single file behind me. I wasn’t trying to be the lead out girl! I realized my mistake and eased up. Soon everyone swarmed around me, going for it. Then I saw we were very close. I jumped again. The pro and a Cat. 2 came around me at the finish. I was happy with 3rd overall and 1st in my category. Best part is, that gave me the points for my upgrade.
Not a taxing race, but a fun one. This was my 12th race in the 2 years of racing and I am learning with each experience. I needed to have more patience at the finish, or I could have attacked on the final hill myself. I rode conservatively, not knowing my opponents. It’s amazing how just 1 person (the pro in our race) can elevate the level (and fun factor) of a race. I met an experienced Cat 2 Master, Jennie Philips, who I look forward to racing with in the future. I loved the course and positive “vibe” at this race. I highly recommend it.