Friday, September 16, 2016

Everyday is Yours to Win

So, here's something weird....I actually have a race report to write today. Of course, I have no photos of said race, so I put up this pic that John took this weekend, because it looks cool.

Anyway...There's this great women's cycling group that puts on training races in our town and they had a cyclocross race yesterday. It is perfect for beginners and let's say, people recovering from cancer) because the race is short and not very technical and doesn't have gigantic hills that some of us (cough, me, cough) wouldn't be able to ride. so, I thought it would be interesting to try to "race" it. I figured, even if I only did one lap of it, it would be a great way to see how strong I was(n't) and to get myself excited about training in order to race in October or November.

I rode my bike to City Park from work, and got to ride past the new Hancher Building, along the river, which made me happy in and of itself. When I got to the venue, things were even better. The weather was lovely and I got to see a lot of people I hadn't seen in a while. The cycling community in Iowa City is a very supportive group, and many people made a point to give me a hug and tell me they were thinking of me and ask how I was feeling. It was so sweet.

John stopped at home on the way from work to feed the damn cats and so when he arrived at the venue, we signed up for our races and then I changed into my kit and rode about 1/3 of the course just to warm-up and no more of it, because I was worried that I would use up the little energy I had and not be able to ride my whole race.

What is it like to race 5 weeks out of surgery? It was hard and I got tired fast, and I know people will say that it's like that to race no matter what, but this was all of that amplified and less forgiving. I raced as a B woman, and we all rode with the A women and the juniors. I stayed to the back of the pack, so I wouldn't get in anyone's way and we were off. Besides most of the juniors, I was last. The other two B women weren't too far ahead and after my first lap, I knew I had to slow down, or I wouldn't be able to ride much more. Since I hadn't done much cyclocross practice this year. I got off my bike WAY before I needed to on the first barrier and I slowed down to ridiculous speeds on the corners. I was okay with that. this was for me and I was enjoying myself. I came around the barrier the second time, where most people were standing and I head mad cheering for me. It was pretty sweet of them, seeing's how I was dead last.

By the third lap, I saw that I was catching the 2nd place woman in my race. I certainly wasn't expecting that. Since I've been coached to race (track, but some concepts are the same), I sped up to chase the carrot. That carrot was a woman who I really like and have much respect for, but that didn't stop my chasing instincts. By the first barrier, we were even. I knew I didn't have her on strength and speed but I had been racing longer than she had, so I could get off and on my back faster, and after a couple of laps, I had gotten much faster in the corners too. I started my 4th lap and I didn't think I could do one more. the lap counter said 2 more, but luckily, I could hear the A race leaders not too far behind me. I finish on the lap they finish on, so I hoped I was going slow enough for them to catch me, so I wouldn't have to ride the last lap, but fast enough that the woman I had just passed wouldn't get me. I was lucky on both counts. I finished my race in 2nd out of 3 B women racers and I had to instantly sit down on the ground. I stayed there and chatted with some of the other racers and when I tried to stand, I thought I was going to pass-out. Whew! I guess that means I I tried as hard as I could. I was super happy with my results. I really thought I would get lapped by the whole field and wouldn't be anywhere near any of the B women racers. I was lapped by 3 women and passed one woman in my race. I was thankful for even the little bit of running I'd been doing the last couple of weeks, because it has really helped my cardio fitness. I won't be doing anymore racing this month, but I will keep training and see what happens in October.

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