I hope your week is going well. As I mentioned yesterday, I was exhausted the first few days this week, started to feel a bit better yesterday and today I feel like a new woman! Good things come to those who rest, right??
I started recapping my weekend at the Tucson Bicycle Classic yesterday. So if you missed day one you can check it out here.
Ready to hear about day number 2?!
Day #2, Road Race:
The second day was a mentally challenging day for me. But lets first start at the beginning.
My race had a fairly early start time of 7am. I got to the race site around 5:30, checked in and picked up my leaders jersey!
I warmed up, got everything I needed together and headed to the start line.
The road race for my category consisted of 2, 20.5 mile loops for 41 total miles. The course had some good rolling hills, a big descent and a slight climb to the finish. In the middle of the desert, wind also became a factor.
For my non cyclists friends: If you have ever seen a road race (think Tour De France) the group usually rides in a big pack or peloton. Sometimes a rider will attack and try to create a break. Other riders may go with the attack or sit back. The peloton is often more powerful and moving faster than a single or few riders in the break as there are more riders who will take turns pulling. Sometimes breaks are successful and the few riders will ride alone to the finish but often the peloton ends up catching back up to the break. So how the race goes is greatly determined by what other riders do. Road races are like a big game of chess, there is a lot of strategy involved.
I’ve only done two other road racers before this past weekend. In the first race an attack was made right before a BIG climb and I was completely shocked, out of my element and had no time to react. In the second race an attack was made as we crested a climb before a big downhill, luckily this time I was ready for it. I went with the attack and a group of about 8 of us stayed away. This race I knew I wanted to initiate an attack and see what I could do to stay away.
The group stayed together through the first lap. About a mile into the second lap there is a slightly technical turn. The road narrows and takes you over railroad tracks right before a steep climb. I knew that if I was going to make my attack this would be the best place to do so. I headed towards the front of the pack and right before the railroad tracks I shifted, came out of my saddle and gave my best all out effort for about 30 seconds. I settled down just a bit into a LT effort for a few minutes until I noticed that 5 riders had followed my lead and weren’t far behind me. Although I had did not get completely away I was happy I split up the group and knew the ones that followed would be ready to work in order to not let the pack catch back up. I later learned however that my attack split the field up completely! After that there was no peloton. So I would say that it was pretty successful!
Our group of 6 worked in a pace line and pushed the pace for that second lap. As we turned into the last climb that led into the finish two of the girls broke off in front. I hesitated.
I have thought about this hesitation over and over again. For that second I thought, “this finish is longer than it looks, they won’t stay away” but they kept getting further away. I tried to bridge the gap but at that point the hesitation had been too long. For the next 1000m I worked on my own, there were 3 riders behind me and the two in front. At 800m to go I looked behind and knew nobody was going to catch me, I looked ahead though and wasn’t sure I could bridge the gap anymore.
I am not sure if I gave up or if I had nothing left to give but I accepted that I was going to ride into the finish in 3rd place.
I knew the girls that finished ahead of me were in the top 5 after the time trial. I couldn’t figure out how far ahead they had finished in front of me however and was afraid that it could have been enough time to bump me out of my #1 GC (overall) spot.
The worst part was that the results would not be posted at the race site. We had to wait until late in the afternoon when the results were posted online to see how the day affected the overall standings. I was a ball of nerves all day. I couldn’t stop thinking that maybe if I had just dug a little bit deeper would I have finished better?
Around 4pm the results were posted.
I was SO relieved to still see my name at the top. With only 5 secs however I would need to race smart on Sunday.
Check back tomorrow for the final race day recap, how I held onto my leaders jersey and even gained an extra one to take home!
Have you raced lately? How did it go?
Have you ever made a “mistake” in a race and replayed that moment a million times in your head wondering if you could have done something different?
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