Wednesday, June 17, 2009

race report: Waterville Valley TT, 30. May 2009

Resluts Results are finally posted... I got 8th out of 9 in the women's open field, but I did apparently snag 2nd in my category, so I'm happy enough with that.

I'm also happy overall that what I initially didn't think was a great race turned out to be a huge improvement for me. This was my second TT ever, the first being the 10K TT at the Working Man's Stage Race last summer. The Working Man's TT was a short course consisting mostly of rollers, which, as far as road riding goes, are my ideal terrain--I enjoy short, hard efforts because they hurt physically rather than mentally. The Waterville Valley TT, on the other hand, was 33K with 1,100+ feet of climbing, much of it on the way out. Yee-owch. So, a MUCH harder course (Katherine, who specializes at TTs, confirmed this for me as well). As far as equipment went, it was sorta on par with last time: last time I was running clip-on aero bars, a not-so-speedy steel bike, and carbon wheels, this time I was running clip-on aero bars, my 6Fem3 of awesomeness, and Mavic Aksiums.

My plan was to average 17ish on the way up, then crank it on the way down. I started out pretty happy, chugging along with the computer showing 21, 20, 19, etc.--fine for building up and all that, I thought, especially with things going gradually uphill. Then the grade increased, the real ouching began, and the Cat 3 chicks started passing me. Plus, I had no 30-second person to chase (Susanne Delaney from NEBC was supposed to be there, but she broke her collarbone, so is out for a while)... that sucked. Mentally, I was not terribly happy.

On the other hand, one of the reasons that I chose to do this TT in the first place (other than to gauge my progress, other than the fact that it was guaranteed to be safer than a road race or crit, and other than the fact that I was going to Concord, NH to help my friend Melissa with her move afterward) was to get used to riding alone in a race and dealing, mentally, with passing people and being passed. Psychologically, this is a HUGE thing for me in cyclocross: I would say that I am much better at gradually improving my position over the course of a race than I am at getting a position in the first lap and defending it. It's my racing style, it is what it is, and it's served me well in my better 'cross races. However, what I need to work on is NOT getting psyched out by the girls who make moves early on and pass me. So the more I can get used to working through that "ugh" feeling I get when someone passes me, the better.

And at Waterville, there was a lot of ugh. Kristen Gohr passed me first. That was expected... she is Cat 1 now. Then it was Clara... then Danielle... yikes. When I hit the turnaround point, I was averaging less than I had hoped to, too. Blah. Then I hit a metric crap-tonne of the wind on the way down. My computer showed 19.6 mph as my average, and I had been gunning for 20.

According to the results, though, my actual average was somewhere around 20.38--about 0.4 mph FASTER than my TT at Working Man's, which was a third of the distance, a third of the struggle, and involved no wind. So, like, I'm still not a time trial specialist, but it appears that my strength is generally getting better.

Of course, I haven't raced since then, so CERTAINLY, my strength is gone.

Uh, right. Hopefully mountain bike racing in a few weeks will help me to chillax and be less insane.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

it was like one of those public service announcements on the teevee.

This afternoon, while en route to my NTR (Neighborhood Thai Restaurant) to procure an iced tea, I encountered a group of three kids--maybe 9 or 10 years old?--on mountain bikes on the sidewalk. Two of the boys had helmets; the other did not.

The scene that played out next was like that Partnership for a Drug-free America commercial where the chick at the party snubs the guy who's getting high. I overheard Helmet Kid #1 say to Helmet-less Kid, "You're not wearing a helmet!" Shortly thereafter, from the window of the restaurant, I saw the two kids with helmets speed off and leave the other kid alone.

The obvious, absent voiceover: "Helmets: Just Say Yes."

The next tutorial: off-sidewalk riding.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Emo My Ride: MTB Edition.

Woke up still a bit sore, and opted to sit out one more day--meh! However, since I was already awake, I decided to drive over to Newton and give marshaling at Wells a go.

I helped out with the D, C, and B races. The organizers ran the D as a straight crit, and the C and B races as points races. I was assigned the best job ever: ringing the bell for primes and double-points laps!! It was like being Vanna White, only with quads and a Castelli hat instead of a sequined dress.

(Side note: I need a sequined dress--not for Wells, because that would just be stupid, but, like, in general. But I digress.)

Anyway, given that I was still full of energy when I returned home, I decided to do unspeakable things to my mountain bike in the form of applying reflective decals to it. Reflective, heart-shaped decals... but it gets worse. I took some scissors and made them look like broken hearts. (If the edges are a little crooked, it's because I was also dancing to Jimmy Eat World at the time and, well, my hand slipped.*) My friend Anna says, "it's not gay, it's decorating," but I'm still on the fence.

Emo My Ride: MTB edition

Emo My Ride: MTB edition

Gory details:
Emo My Ride: MTB edition

Emo My Ride: MTB edition

Tomorrow I am hopefully back on the bike and off the blog!

*kidding... though it has happened before.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

some candy talking.

I took a few days off the bike after (I think) pulling or straining a muscle while hammering (read: getting my ass handed to me on a carbon fiber platter by Shannon et al.) on the Tuesday ride. Today I forewent my usual 2-3 hours on the road and did some projects around the house instead.

One of these projects involved (finally) putting clipless pedals on my beater MTB, and the corresponding cleats on my new MTB shoes. I went with Crank Brothers Candy C pedals again--I run them on my 'cross bike, and absolutely love them--only for the MTB I got red pedals instead of pink ones (side note: I love the pink pedals, but damned if these aren't beyond hot--not to mention that they match the EuroX Magnesium wide-profile brakes as seen on Mud and Cowbells *fans self*). Going clipless will be terrific for training purposes, and will also be awesome for riding in the snow... but it was high time in general, as I plan to try a few MTB races this summer.

Um, yeah, about that. You know that reality show "So You Think You Can Dance"? I would totally watch one called "So You Think You Can Race," except I'd, you know, be watching my life.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

oh BikeReg, you tease.

Every so often, there's THAT RACE, the results of which take forfrakingever to make it over to BikeReg and/or USAC.

There was Working Man's Stage Race last summer. I was sitting in a chair hitting reload for about two weeks--no small task, with my ass covered in road rash and my right elbow oozing out of its bandages.

There was Coonamessett Eco-cross. I wanted proof of my first top ten/top half 'cross finish, but as the week wore on, I became terrified that the hippies running the event had composted the results.

And now there's Waterville Valley Time Trial, which I didn't win by a long shot, but which was a huge personal improvement over the last TT I did. Naturally, I sort of looked at my CatEye after I crossed the line, but that's not enough. I need the real deal.

So c'mon, BikeReg. I think you know what I'm after, baby. What's holding you back? Do I need to buy you dinner? Chocolate? Flowers?

I mean, I just want you to say my name... and tell me how slow I really am.