Friday, August 29, 2014

Chris Thater Weekend!

Staring down the barrel of September means only a few things... the start of the school semester, the arrival of cooler weather, HALLOWEEN MOVIE NIGHT on the horizon, and Chris Thater.

I've never gone up for this race before, and I picked the perfect year to give it a go.  They opened it up to a 2-day event with a USA Crits event on Saturday night and a Pro/1/2/3 on Sunday morning.  It was definitely going to be a challenge to race a super hard and fast event Saturday and then return to the same venue, for the same length race, only a bit more than 12 hours later.  But, I was up to the challenge and was accompanied by a few of my favorite local ladies, Deborah Leedale-Brown of EPS, Meredith Ehn of Finkraft, and Elspeth Huyett who was guest riding for EPS.  

We all drove up together to try our legs against a nicely stacked field that included LVG, Tina Pic, Coryn Rivera, Erica Allar, and Sarah Fader (among a host of others who could be named ad nauseum... if you want to see what the hurt looked like, you can just check out the results here!)

Sunday night's race was fast and super hard.  My legs were not feeling super fresh, but I fought my way through to the end.  There were a lot of attacks and a LOT of primes.  This kept the race super jumpy with a lot of surges and high power moments.  In the end, we averaged 26 mph and did 28 miles in 1 hour and 6 minutes.  Yipes.  

I wasn't thrilled with my finish on Saturday - my positioning in the last lap was awful and my legs just didn't have the jump needed to move up in the pack late in the race.

Thankfully, Sunday was coming and I had the chance to redeem myself!!

Sunday's race still included a field of over 40 riders.  Though a few of the big guns had opted out of this one (no Colavita team and no Coryn Rivera), the Fearless Femmes, Pepper Palace, and Mellow Mushroom teams stuck around to continue to inflict massive amounts of pain on the rest of us poor fools.

The race was nearly as fast as the evening before, averaging 25.5 mph.  But, it was much steadier - with fewer major surges and a more comfortable overall pace.  I was able to do some attacking, sit comfortably at the front, and feel like I had a lot more to give in this race.  A break got away with a few laps to go and, with every major team represented, stayed off the front for the rest of the race.  

I had a much better finish this time 'round - holding my own in a bunch sprint to take 22nd.  Just out of the $$, which went to 20 deep (sad face), I nonetheless feel great about the weekend of racing!

All in all, this was another awesome event... I have to give a huge THANK YOU to some of our sponsors, without whom this weekend would have been a lot cruddier!!

VERGE - My bum has never been happier - these new kits are the BOMB!!

CeraSport - thanks to your rockin' EX-1 - I didn't dehydrate on Sunday!

Rudy Project - Sunday evening was raining and dark, but thanks to my Stratofly Photochromatic lenses, I thought it was high noon!

ProGold - despite driving the bikes in the rain, racing in the rainy and wet conditions, and racing twice in one weekend - my bike looked PRO because of ProGold!!!

Belated Iron Hill Post!

OK - so, I'm a terrible blogger.  I meant to post this a looooong time ago, but, well... I'm a slacker.

So, here goes.

I was so nervous about this race.  I'm not sure why... other than the fact that it's a big deal 'round these parts (lots of folks come out to watch and the racing is always high intensity), it was going to be streaming online (my first ever live streamed race - and my Mom, Dad, and GRAMS were going to be watching), and I wanted so well to do well!

Becky and I lined up that evening with a nicely stacked field.  Not too big, with just over 30 women regged for the race, I knew that it would be fast from the gun and for the first few laps.  The course is a straight up 4 corner crit, with a mild climb between turns 3 and 4 and a false flat through to the start/finish line.  The road surface is nice, with a few bumps on the final straight, but nothing too gnarly.

I was right about the fast from the gun, thing... it was blistering for the first 5 laps or so - thanks in part to a prime on the FIRST lap!  I was on the rivet, but never OVER the rivet, so all was well.  I had pretty cruddy positioning during that stretch, so I was fighting a bit too hard near the back.  Nonetheless, I held in there and the pace eventually slackened up a bit.  At that point, I was able to move about in the field a bit.  I felt confident and comfortable and knew that it was a matter of making it to the finish for me to be a happy Chop.

With about 12 or 13 laps to go, a break got off the front and the pace in the field lessened a little more.  By that time, there were only about 25 riders left in the group, so I knew that this was a good time to be a bit more active.  I launched some attacks, sat nearer to the front, and felt good for the rest of the race.

The end got a bit whacky as the break lapped us just after the finish line when we had 2 to go and they had 1 to go.  Turns out (you learn something' new every day), that meant that we suddenly ALL had 1 to go.  I was not prepared for that (after hearing "2 TO GO, 2 TO GO, 2 TO GO!!!") as we crossed the line just a few seconds earlier.  Needless to say... I didn't sprint.  At all.  Not a bit.  Grrrr....

I'm still THRILLED with my finish and my race - so, all is well...

And, team CAWES brought home some DOLLAHS, so all was even better than well!

Thanks to all who were out on the sidelines screaming and yelling!  I heard you!  Honestly, this may have been one of the most exciting races I've done in a long time.  The crowd was AWESOME, and the energy was high.  Fun stuff!!

See you next year, Iron Hill!

Thanks to Scott Kingsley for this photo... and thanks to Fearless Femme for allowing me to get my face into their photo shoot!  ;)