Thursday, March 3, 2011

Snelling Raod Race Cat 3 Women

Snelling Raod Race Cat 3 Women
Michele Heaton

Unfortunately, this race turned out to be one of those races I didn’t enjoy, and I was very lucky to end up rolling across the line on 2 wheels, instead of in an ambulance. I liked the course, but the way we raced was boring as all heck. For some reason the flatter road races can be extremely slow and not dynamic in the Cat. 3 and 4’s. Most riders seem happy to ride conservatively and just wait for the finish. Maybe I don’t have the “winning” mentality but personally I love a race that has me mentally and physically challenged. I love to feel like I really stretched myself more than anything.

The race consisted of about 21 women. A few were active in pushing the pace in some sections, but most sat in the entire race. There were a couple of team mates but no major team dynamics. My plan was to practice attacking to see if I could split the group and try to make it a harder, safer race. I rode 1 lap to check out the riders, course, turns, wind, pavement, etc. On the end of the second lap I went hard on the finish hill to string out the group.

Me on the front applying pressure

Everyone lined up and stayed in. Next I tried attacking on a slight riser in a tailwind section. I got a gap and saw that Joanne from Bike Station was bridging. I slowed slightly to allow her to get on my wheel so we could work together but soon after the entire group was on her wheel. On the 3rd lap I attacked on the biggest riser in the race (not very big.) This time Courtney from Bike Station chased me down and I kept on the gas, taking the chicane and looking back seeing they were all single file but catching us. I don’t seem to have this attack thing down yet.

I did get countered and that was probably the hardest I had to work in the race. After that I became pretty complacent and just sat at the back waiting for it to end. At the finish I came around the final corner too far back, was speeding up the right side when a rider quickly swerved to the right and inadvertantly “body checked” me and sent me flying off the road. I was trying desperately to stay upright heading straight into the back of a van and thinking “Oh my God, I’m going to crash head on into that van at full speed!” Luckily, I stayed upright and was able to both miss the van and get back over the asphault edge without going down. Not a fun race and a very close call.

I learned it’s not a good idea to come up from the rear with a lot of speed at the end of a race. I would have done better to have used all that energy to get in a more forward position, or to have done consecutive, harder, longer or more decisive attacks, which I now wish I had, especially because this race didn’t even qualify as good training.

Checking my power tap, the result was 25 minutes at Threshold and above, 1 hour of Endurance and 1 1/2 hours in RECOVERY. No wonder we were neutralized over 10 times! Also, one rider got a flat during the roll out, fixed it, chased us for 1 lap, caught us and still got 4th place. Good for her, at least she got a good work out.

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