Race Report - Theodore Wirth Classic

6:48 AM

No pictures from the race, so you get a pic of my cute cat!
First, a definition of my new favorite biking term:

Yard Sale (noun): From skiing, the evidence or remains of a catastrophic accident or wipeout, in which the victim’s belongings are scattered or spread out across a large area (resembling a traditional yard sale).

Now, to the race report.  I knew at the line-up that there would be chaos at the start of the women’s race on Sunday.  All the ingredients were there.  A narrow starting line, a strong group of women, and a few tight turns that we would hit a full speed.  I had a spot in the second row, but was ready to soft-pedal it from the whistle just so I could stay back and watch for any warning signs.  The initial 100 meters goes up a hill, and I knew there would be plenty of chances for me to make up any lost ground from the first few seconds.

Sure enough, everyone jumped with the category 1-2 (and a few category 3) women charging up the hill.  I used the entire hill to weave my way through the majority of the 3s, and hit the meadow on the tail end of the lead group.  As I came out of the second turn around a tree I was met with…you guessed it…an amazing yard sale that involved the entire elite field.  I had enough warning to weave around it with ease and went from mid-pack to second place in a matter of seconds.

It took me a few seconds to adjust.  There was a lot of yelling behind me as women extricated themselves from the fray and calls to the pit were made.  Just as the stupid thought crossed my mind, “I wonder when they will catch me?” I realized I had to GO!

I don’t often, sorry, I never find myself at the front of the field for any length of time, so it was an odd experience.  I threw myself into the race, trying to eek out every advantage I could to hold my spot for as long as I could.  Some quick-recovering women caught and passed me, and I latched on to their wheels for as long as I could.  I charged up every hill, came out of corners with as much speed as possible, and braked as little as I could safely manage.  The course this year was exactly as I would design: punchy hills, a sketchy downhill to the lake, a tricky line along the shore in some sand, a lung-busting staircase run-up, and a smooth stretch of single-track that a teammate and I called our “meditation zone.”  All of it was fun, fun, fun!

When I came around and saw there were two laps to go I began to think that I could grab a podium spot.  There were a couple of 180s on the course, and I could see that I was holding my gap over the ladies behind me.  I tried to count how many women had passed me, but my exhausted brain couldn’t put the pieces together.  My legs were screaming, but my brain was still yelling, “GO!”

I thought I heard a funny sound as I hit the corner at the bottom of a hill, and a few moments my fears were confirmed as my front tire went completely flat.

ARGH!

I had five seconds of complete frustration (I think I actually whined to the universe, “But I’m doing so well!”) before I let it go.  As I stood there in the woods while the racers sped past me the one thought that jumped into my brain was, “I would have finished in this place.”  Absolutely confident.  The last lap and a half would just have finished out what I had already done.

And with that, I threw my bike over my shoulder for the long walk back to the start/finish with a grin on my face.

Oh, and I’m looking in to tubular tires.  

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