Monday, April 30, 2007

Firestone Classic

This race was both exciting and disappointing in its own way. I have had a questionable two weeks of training with the new job, so I was a little worried as to how much gas I would have. Two make things scarier, the week of the race the changed the length on the website to 30 miles! When I arrived on Saturday to pre ride the course it was a warm 85+ degrees! When I checked in they had lowered us back down to 20 miles.
After riding the course I was super stoked because it was! Even though I like a technical course, this was just plain fast! About the time I finished up, my friends Rory and Jen showed up. We found a good spot to pitch our tents and started to set up camp.

I had received a tent for my birthday back in Feb. and this was the first time I had set it up! Luckily I had two engineers with me! I heard a few jokes for my tent being so huge for little old me!( It's the blue one in the picture ) Once we had camp set up we hit the all you can eat spaghetti feed! It wasn't the greatest but it hit the spot after a really hot ride in the blazing sun! After dinner Rory and Jen went for a hike and I just kicked it in my HUGE tent! By the time they got back we were all ready to get to sleep! It was only about 9! As I layed in my tent I listened to people talking around their campfires. We were next to a group of semi-pro's from Colombia and some semi-pro's from Santa Cruz Ca. It was cool to listen to the two groups share their racing stories to each other. They also shared different things about their cultures and countries. They were really cool groups of people and it was great to listen to their exchange!
I had a pretty good nights sleep being that it was my first time in a tent for a long, long, long time! I awoke to a pretty cool morning that gave me hope that the fog and cool weather had rolled into the valley. That hope quickly vanished as I unzipped my tent and saw the sun rising high into the sky. It was about 6am and with each 10 minutes that passed, the heat level rose. I felt surprisingly great as I warmed up! As we lined up, there seemed still to be lots of confusion as to what our actual race course was. I was lucky enough to run into Westlake Cyclery's managers daughter, who was there supporting her boyfriends family and team! She said that she would hand me bottles in the feed zone which was a huge relief with the temperature at about 90!
Then came the always gut wrenching line-up! This is where you see all those whom you will be racing against. You would think this would get easier with each race, but I seem to get nervous even if I know half of the racers! The start was really sketchy as it was narrow for the large group that we were. It was also really dusty! I had a mouth full of dirt after the first 100 yards! The group stayed together for the first few miles. Rory had passed me about 1 mile into the race but never got to far ahead. About 4 miles in we hit the main climb and Rory slipped a pedal and I was able to pull up to him. When we hit the crest we had caught some slower traffic that caused a little bit of a slow down on the first descent. I kept Rory in sight the whole way and thought that I would try to put the screw to him up the last long climb. When we hit the last climb, I stood up and gave every ounce of energy I had to catch him. Knowing that he was in first, I thought if I catch him up this hill, I could take it to the finish. Well, as I fought my way up the hill I caught up to.....well....I thought it was Rory, but it was some other dude that had on the same color jersey! I was bummed! I had no idea how far ahead he was and I had spent myself climbing that hill! As we went through the finish line to complete the first lap, I started to slow a little and catch my breath. The first few miles was very flat and fast so I used it to recoup. I knew where I would attack on the 1/2 lap that we had left, yet as I rounded the vineyard they had roped off the track to funnel us back towards the finish. As I came through they told me to slow down and funneled me off the track. I kept asking if that was it and they just kept shuffling people off that came thru!
Very disappointing! I felt like I could have done another full lap. Plus, Rory had beat me! Aarggh! I was happy for him but very disappointed that I did not fight harder from the start. I realize that I still have a long way to go in this Sport class that I have moved up to. I hope to find a cycling coach that can give me some direction in my training. I feel like I have hit a wall. With my new job, I definitely need to use my time wisely. I also need to find the right balance in my life. I have not made the most wise decisions as it pertains to my time management! I have definitely let my passion for riding overcame every area of my life! That being said, I need to use my training time as effectively as possible!
My next race will be Castaic Lake on May 20th. It is a very tough short course with tons of short steep climbs every lap. I will do my best to be ready!

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