Saturday, March 21, 2009

San Dimas Day 1 and 2

Day 1:  3.8 mile time trial...up a climb.  The saddest part about it was that I think we pre-rode it faster than I ended up time trialing it.  The nice part about the time trial was although it was one big climb with about 1000 feet of climbing (I think) was that it was a steady climb which allowed you to get in a rhythm going up all those switchbacks.  It was still ridiculously painful.  I finished in 17:35 which put me in 32nd of 80+ starters...not that bad I guess for the first time.  Shannon pulled off a 17:06 (or something) which put her at 21st.  At the top, they had coolers of water, but no one brought bottles for such a short TT, so it was more of a tease.  Regulary brakepads with carbon wheels made for a very loud decent.  

Day 2: 56-mile road race...8 laps of 7-miles.  There was a ~500 meter steep-ish climb every lap (with QOM at the top!)...the rest was pretty flat or rolling.  My job was to lead Ashley and Casey up to the climb on every QOM sprint (lap 2,4,6), so they could try to win the sprint.  The first time ended up being the charm though because I them out, enabling Casey to attack up the climb and Coryn to follow to form what became a 13-person break that stayed away all day.  Those girls totally rocked it...Coryn came in 4th and Casey came in 7th, moving them up to 12th and 13th respectively.  Casey even won a QOM sprint!  Ashley, Shannon, and I mostly sat in and did nothing since most of the major teams were represented in the break (plus it had a huge time gap).  I attempted to lead Shannon (Ashley wasn't feeling good) out up the climb, but basically just sorta strung out the pack leading up to it and got her to the front and then rode with what I had left to the finish line.  Shannon did pretty well in the sprint (top 4 maybe?).  Pretty good day for us!  

Tomorrow it's supposed to be cold and rainy for the crit.  We'll see how that goes!

Friday, March 13, 2009

California Here I Come

Finally the California trip is almost here.  School and obligations this week were a drag with doing two weeks of school work so I'm glad to have most of that out of the way now and now I just have to tie up loose ends before leaving for Dallas tomorrow.  The weather Tuesday was 85 degrees and we were using our A/C to cool the house to 78 degrees and the very next morning it was 40 degrees and raining so we had to turn the heater on.  So ridiculous, but that is Texas for you!  It's still pretty nasty outside and I'm predicting a 3 hour indoor trainer ride later this afternoon...

Tomorrow Peter's mom is driving over to Austin from Dallas to pick us up (we'll be flying from California to Austin at the end of the trip so we didn't want to take the car to Dallas!)- big thanks to her for that!  Metro VW will be participating at "The New You" Health Fair Expo with the dealership and their Jetta (Green Car of the Year- woot!) this weekend and then Monday we'll be off on our journey to sunny California, where I grew up.  A couple of my friends that are in school there are going to try to come out to a race which would be so awesome as I haven't seen them in awhile.  First race on the schedule for the trip is San Dimas, followed by Redlands.  I'm definitely excited and the trip as whole will be a great experience.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rouge Roubaix

If this race could be summed up in one word it would be epic.  This 102-mile road race was far from just a 102-mile road race.  It came complete with three significant dirt sections, miles and miles of pot-hole and gravel covered crappy roads, some nice roads, and some lovely swamp-filled scenery.  The only other off-road race I've done (besides a couple MTB races) has been Tunis Roubaix during my first year on the bike.  It ended with a cracked frame.  Well, this race ended much nicer.

We started at 8:15am, rolling out during a foggy drizzle of 70+ degree weather with Men's 4's, 5's, Master's and Women's Open category.  I have no idea how many people there were in our group because the 5 of us Metro girls started in the front and really never left the front part of the group.  The first dirt section was a fine sand, 25 miles into the race, and about 10-12 miles long.  Seriously, you were fish-tailing it most of the time.  Probably the most nerve racking for me of the three dirt sections.  Just kept on pedaling though.  Most people made it through the first one together.  I missed the first of 3 feeds I'd miss that day.  Not much happened between then and the second dirt section.  

The second dirt section (65 miles in) had more gravel and loose dirt than fine sand.  It also had a pretty large and steep hill that pretty much tore the race into pieces.  Casey and Ashley, our little climbers made it to the top in the front, I was only 50m back, but couldn't bridge up to that group on my own.  Maybe 5-10 minutes later Shannon, Andrea, Shontelle, and a couple others paced up to me (Shannon had to run up the hill after hitting some particularly deep gravel- bummer) and we rotated fairly evenly.  Eventually a larger group caught up to us with a Kenda girl.  Shannon and I just chilled in the back and waited for the last dirt section.  

Shannon and I went to the front right before we hit it (~75 miles in).  This section was much rockier and since it was only steep climbs, it was much harder to keep gripped to the road.  Since we started in front and drilled it up the climb, we dropped everyone except Shontelle.  The main focus in that section was not crashing as the decents on gravel were as steep as the climbs.  I opted to coast on the downhills instead of trying to push the pace and crash.  It made me lose some time to Shontelle, but there was a good 18 miles to go after the last dirt section before the finish.  

Shannon and I TTT-ed up to Shontelle after sharing some Gatorade given to us from the lead vehicle and downing it at 29mph (life-saver).  We caught up to her and opted for an easier pace since there was no one behind us.  At some point, Shannon's rear derailler broke...and all of a sudden she wasn't there anymore.  Shontelle drilled it at that point and I just sat on.  Well, my sprinting power isn't quite the match for Shontelle, so she got that (I was pretty blown by that point), putting her in 3rd and me in 4th.  Shannon was luckily able to still ride that broken derailler and get 5th.  Andrea double flatted after hitting a massive pothole and after changing both flats, she got 9th.  But most exciting of all, Casey and Ashley were able to go 1 and 2 respectively!  Obviously, since we weren't all together, they'd be much better at telling their story, so go check out their blogs!!

Our men did well too, Christian won, Dalheim was 2nd, Peter was 5th, Benji was 7th, and the rest managed Top 20!  A good weekend for Metro for sure!!

Thanks to Andre and the mechanic for keeping us watered, fed, and on well-working bikes!!

To understand the craziness of the race, check out this video: 

Well, this is my last week of classes before Spring Break.  While many of my classmates will be heading to the beach for some party action, I'll be heading California with my team to race San Dimas and then taking an extra week of Spring Break and racing Redlands.  It'll make for a long school week this week, as I'll have two weeks of work to do in the next four days but it'll be worth it! 

Monday, March 2, 2009

21st Birthday

Another year has come and gone but this year I've now become legal.  The thing that baffles me is how overnight you go from being not mature enough to consume alcohol in public to becoming mature enough to do so.  Neither here nor there. 

I had a great birthday.  Peter had a delicious, very extravagant, homemade brunch waiting for me when I finally decided to roll out of bed.  It was very impressive.  He even chopped up apples for the cinnamon-apple waffles.

In the evening, I met with friends at Malaga Tapas and Bar for dinner and wine.  It was a wonderful evening with friends and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending to my birthday.  

I was waving at Lindy.  I promise that's not a Ricky Bobby hand.

Amazing birthday cake from Tammy from Whole Foods. 

The obligatory 21st birthday drink picture.  Pure joy, huh?  I had been trying not to laugh and then realized the drink didn't taste that great.