Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

At Evergreen State Fairgrounds today the animals were were let loose from their pens to play in the mud for the SCX finale in Monroe.

All the right ingredients for a great race for me today - sloppy conditions, no mechanical, no technical blunders, feeling good in the legs and head. Just one problem though - faster gals, all wanting the same great race! I gritted my teeth (or was that just grit in my teeth?) to get 3rd place gal in my sights, but came in a few seconds back to take 4th. It was good enough to secure 3rd overall in the series, so no complaints from me!

The pictures tell a much better story of the race than I can......


Sunday, November 20, 2011

No Spring at Sprinker

Quite the opposite of spring in fact, with clear skies overnight leading to a frosty morning and temperatures struggling to get above freezing. Numb fingers and toes were the order of the day for SCX #6 at Sprinker Park, Tacoma.

Despite feeling cruddy this last week, fighting a head cold that just won't go away, I felt optimistic going into today's race. The course was fun, and a couple of changes from last year made it a little twistier and all the sand rideable. They added another run-up, but overall I was fairly confident I could have a good race here.

I took the hole-shot, but by the first run-up I was fading and just couldn't sustain the high intensity required to stay with the leaders. I watched as team mate Kristi left me behind to sit strongly in 2nd. To add insult to injury I dropped a chain. Not once, but twice. It would be nice to blame this for my getting dropped, but in reality I only lost a few seconds each time. I just didn't have any spring in my legs to power through anything.

A couple of laps to go, sitting in 7th, I wasn't losing ground anymore, in fact I was gaining a bit. Seems like although I had no spring, I did still have endurance. I was closing in on Kristi who had taken a hit with some mechanicals. Maybe we could work together to catch 5th place? No such luck though, as I couldn't hold her wheel to start with and then when I did get back up to her she couldn't hold mine. I think mentally she had just had enough. With my legs feeling a little better I did get 5th place in my sights, I fought hard, but she took me by 3 seconds at the end.

Not a good day for me, or any of our team. Crashes, mechanicals, sickness, all took it's toll today. For SCX we all get to drop our worst race, this might just be the one for everyone today. So looking back on the week, today's result shouldn't have been a surprise for me. In an effort to give my body time to recover and shake my head cold, training time totaled an hour and a half this week - all pretty close to the race. Too little, too late.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Haiku in Woodland Park

Hole shot didn't last.
Burped rear tire, dropped chain.
Must visit the pits.

Close to last place now.
Must work hard, can not be last.
Working back up now.

When will the pain stop?
Must work hard, team mate in need.
At last the target.

Will the pain stop soon?
Pass target, into 5th place.
Series win in bag.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sometimes You Just Have to Re-invent Yourself.....

SCX#4 saw a return to Steilacoom. Things were not looking good. The rain in the forecast did not materialize and it was looking to be another dry fast race for the roadies to excel at. With the return to Steilacoom I also had a return of my cough from a few weeks back. Nothing serious, but not too sure how my lungs would cope. My goal was to not get schooled too badly and hold my position in the series overall.

Over the last 8 weeks I've raced 11 times and not yet tasted victory. This was getting old. But like they say, never give up and good things do come to those who wait. And in my case, learn! So what have I learnt that I managed to put into practice today?

  • 4 weeks of training is at least 4 weeks of training. Feels a damn site better putting out high effort when you've actually practiced it!
  • Nutrition. Yes, you'd think as a Dietitian I'd have this dialed in, but I have been struggling with timing for a 1:30 start - too late for a big breakfast to last, too early to eat lunch. I finally figured out a strategy.
  • Move up as quickly through the men as possible. They can't help you and will only lose you seconds if you hesitate.
  • Keep your competition in site. It's a mental game really, if you have a bunny to chase you work harder to catch up. 
  • Use your gears! It's way easier to accelerate out of a corner in the correct gear - duh!
  • Stay focused. Knowing where you are in the race and that you are on the last lap means you can take advantage of situations that present themselves. Today I was in 2nd until the last lap. Took the lead in the last lap hoping to get a gap, but got passed again close to the end. That's all it took. I locked on to her wheel and rode it to the pavement before the finish line. I'd been here before and it was going to happen again. I gave it everything to get past her and finally got my win of the season. By 6 inches maybe, at tops!

This dry patch is over, and I'm happy to be able to re-invent myself as a roadie who likes dry courses and sprint finishes ;-)