Monday, March 09, 2015

To You The Next Best Thing to Playin' and Winning is Playin' and Losing.

Thanks to B, McConnell for taking this. The women racers before the race. We look so clean.
 Hey! I actually have a race report today. That's right. I did my first road race of the year on Sunday. The Hills Classic race was part gravel and part pavement. The gravel was really wet and slippery muddy in spots, but the temps got all the way into the 40's, so it almost felt like Summer...Okay, that's stretching it, but last Sunday we had below zero wind chills, so it was at least 50 degrees warmer out.

Only 6 women showed up to race. Which was too bad, but I was surprised there were even that many women. Our numbers seem to be getting lower and lower for races in Eastern Iowa the last couple of years. Sigh.

I was in no kind of shape this early on and I'm not really sure what I'm doing this year as far as racing is concerned. With all of the weirdness going on with the perimenopause, I'm never sure how I'm going to feel from one day to the next and if I'll have a migraine or not. I think I'll be doing more running races than cycling, but I'm just going to go with things and see how I feel from one race to the next.

Mud freckles everywhere. Yea!
 This race, I felt okay. I ran about four and a half miles the day before, so my legs weren't completely fresh. One of the women we were racing with was doing her first race and riding gravel for the first time. Brave woman. I was a little worried when she asked if the hills were Pittsburgh or Iowa hills. I answered by saying, "Um, Iowa...But gravel roads don't have to grade for trucks, so the hills are steeper than regular Iowa roads." She said she didn't care if she was last, she just wanted to finish. From the results, it looks like she did finish. So, that's great for her first gravel race.

We started the race and I didn't really warm-up at all. As a 50 year old racer, I need to warm-up even more than all the young girls I was racing against, not less. Oops! I fell off the back early on. My legs felt like lead, but after we got on the pavement, I went as hard as I could and caught back on to the pack at the beginning of the 2nd lap. I held on until the last big hill on the gravel (my nemesis) and then hoped I could catch them again on the pavement. Of course, one of the women attacked hard and the pack broke apart, but I wasn't able to get anywhere near them.

John has always told me to ride as hard as if I'm fighting for first place, even if I get dropped and am riding all by myself. That worked for me here. At the end of the gravel section on the last lap, I saw two women ahead of me that I might be able to catch. That never happens. When I got to the pavement section, I figured I'd try to see if I could get up to them. I had absolutely nothing to lose. One of the women sped-up, but I caught the other one. I was really surprised because she is much younger and stronger than I am...Especially on gravel. I could tell she was hurting, so I told her to hop on my wheel and if she had something left, to try and go around me on the uphill gravel. I knew I was dying and wouldn't be able to climb that last muddy hill very well.

We turned onto the gravel and I figured she'd take off, but she told me she was having a low blood sugar episode and couldn't go any harder. I went as hard as I could (think turtle's pace) and I joked later that we had the slowest sprint for second on record. I got 2nd, but only because the other woman wasn't feeling well. I gave her my salted caramel Gu and John rode up to us after the race and gave her his too, so she could ride home okay.

The big thing I took away from this race, was that even toward the end, when I was hurting and so, so, tired, I thought, "I love this so much!" I really don't care how well I place in a race, I want to always have that feeling.

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