On The Road Again

What a fun weekend! This time my races brought us out to Fort Ritchie, MD, the Big Apple, and Bear Mountain, NY. I was lucky that Rob did not have a soccer game this weekend, so I relished in getting to have him there to support me at both races. It's great. He drives me there and pumps me up with his hilarious pep-talks, gets my trainer out and ready, pins my numbers on for me, feeds me water bottles through the race, yells out time gaps (if I'm in a break), cheers loudly, takes pictures, and then tells me after the race that I am the best - no matter how I actually end up in the results. If I ever feel intimated by someone, or tell him that about how strong the other ladies are, he always turns it around until I am laughing at his ridiculousness. And if I place well enough, I'll even earn a post race massage to get all the lactic acid build up out of the legs. Wonderful! I don't know how I found him.
Here is Kate. She is warming up on her rollers, which creates all this static electricity and made her head look like a science experiment.

Perhaps all that static was what caused her to make a classic mental mistake in criterium racing...not realizing when we were on the final lap. Okay, I'm not actually sure if this is a classic mistake or not, but I've made it before too. I know that two out of two people is too small of a sample size to conclude that everyone has made this mistake. But it's probably fair to say that a lot of people have. Anyway...the leadout plan didn't work out so well as a result and we both pretty much botched the finish of the race about as bad as you possibly could. We were in a break away group of seven - two of us from HPC, two from C3-Sollay, one Cyclelife, one Artemis, and one Kenda. So we should have had an advantage over the three stray racers. But we ended up sixth and seventh. Yikes. At least Kate has a good excuse. I, on the other hand, was just kind of an idiot. I went into the race thinking that I wanted to do as little work as possible to get our team over the finish line first. The mistake is that I think I put the "as little work as possible" plan over the "finish line first" plan. I didn't really think about what a mistake it is to have that mentality going into a race until it was over and I was frustrated that we just got schooled at the finish line. No excuses - I gave it my all to sprint ahead at the end and got beat. It was just too little way too late. C3 put in the kind of effort and tactics necessary for a win, and they got it. Sonja and Janet from C3 Sollay worked beautifully together, layed the hammer down, and fully deserved the win. I just wish that I had given them a better run for their money. All of HPC - Jen, Anna, Kristy, Kate and I - were taking flyers from the start of the race to get it going, and when my attack came back into the field, Kate and Anna launched or went with (I'm not sure) a counterattack with a small group. After a couple laps, it was easy to see that this was the winning break and we needed to give HPC better numbers up ahead. Kristy helped launch me off on a bridge attempt (Bridging means making a burst of speed to break away from the main field of racers to get up to a break away group, hopefully without bringing anyone else along in your draft.) Bridging hurts!!! In reality it only took a couple minutes, but closing those last ten meters to get into their draft felt like an eternity. Once I was in the break away draft, my main goal was just to help keep the break away, but besides that do as little work as possible. I wanted my legs to be good for the long 56 mile race the next day at Bear Mountain, and not waste myself too hard at this one. The only problem is that I am not a pure sprinter. So letting a race come right down to the last 100m after the final turn is a terrible race plan for me. The way I win sprints is by wearing out the real sprinters enough before we get to that final stretch. So anyway...I think Kate and I both felt bad that we botched it for the rest of the team who helped us get away in the break. But in the end we had fun anyway and we're learning. And props to all the other girls who raced great and are riding strong. I really like all the ladies in the MABRA, even if we do bark at each other a bit during competition. It's fun that we're all in this together, pursuing the same thing. I liked what Beth wrote about it. This wouldn't be any fun without each other. It's fun to have a lot of people you like in the field, because even though I will always lament my own mistakes, it can still be fun to see others do well. Sonja Evers is strong as ever and I'm always happy to see her do well and pull out a great 1-2 for C3-Sollay with Janet, even at the same time as wishing it had been HPC!
Rob and I then drove straight out to NY for the best part of the trip - getting to stay with one of my best friends ever, Dana Broderick and her husband Ryan (and three lovely girls) on Saturday night in New York city. It felt like only a day had gone by since we were college roommates. I wish we lived closer Dana!
Saturday night we ate at a place called Max Brenner. It was like eating at a restaurant created by Willy Wonka. (Except much better than that cheap stuff). Chocolate paradise. It was amazing. If anyone ever needs to bribe me, con me, blackmail me, kiss up to me, beg my pardon, thank me - whatever - just click on the link above and you will find a multitude of ways to accomplish your task. Thankfully it was Dana's birthday, so I had a good excuse to try some of Max's chocolate goodness.
The next day was the Bear Mountain road race. FUN! I knew it was going to be good as soon as the race began and we started on the 45 - 50 mph descent, took a crazy hair pin turn, then started on a long climb back up. This is why I love mountain races! The funniest part was passing this huge group of Japanese tourists on the side of the road cheering for us like crazy and taking pictures as we rode past. One of the more random things I've seen during a race. We all smiled and loved it.
Another interesting part was on a descent where the two lane road all of a sudden narrows to one lane. Well, as soon as you start going really fast, over 40mph, the drafting effect becomes really magnified and you just start accelerating past people. Not a good thing to be caught passing on the side when the road suddenly narrows. I got squeezed off the road and took a fun little high speed trip through the meadow. Not my smartest move, but flirtation with disaster can be pretty exhilarating when you come out unscathed.In a nutshell, I tried to get a break away going by pushing the pace hard up the 3 mile climb on the last lap. I needed to have a few people with me to work with in a break because there were still 10 miles to the finish after the climb. Mission accomplished - we got a break of seven for a while. Unfortunately, I didn't have any of Anna's handy paceline invitations with me, and the rest of the girls for some reason didn't share my same urgent desire to stay away. Since not everyone was interested in helping the break stick by taking pulls to keep a fast pace, I stopped pushing the pace once the course flattened out and eventually over the next several miles girl after girl caught back up until we had about 20 up front. It was frustrating. Sprinting against 20 was still better than 55, but still a lot worse than 7. Especially on a fast downhill finish line sprint, where positioning is everything. My plan B at that point was to stick on Sinead's wheel, knowing that she is a good sprinter and could be a good lead out to the line. Well, I accomplished that and aggressively stayed put on her wheel during the last kilometer, but unfortunately that didn't turn out to be the winning tactic. It was an odd finish - I got 6th place by being on Sinead's wheel (she got 4th), but was boxed in on either side and never even sprinted. In fact, because the finish was such a fast downhill, even though we were going 40 mph, my last 10 seconds of power only averaged out to be 368 watts. Not much at all. Girls in the wind probably put out over twice that power, but in the strong draft that's all it took to hold my position, and there was no where else to go. Kate was pretty much in the same position and got 5th. Guess we teammates stick together. Altogether, it was a great race, really fun, and we placed in the money, but hindsight is 20/20 and it's kind of funny to race for 56 miles and have the top ten places decided in the last 200m. And so I can't help replaying the finish and thinking where I should have placed myself instead. It's what keeps me coming back for more.
Canadians took 1st - 3rd. No more losing to Canadians on US soil. That's my rule.
Here is my last picture. It is Anna, practicing her superman pose at Bear Mtn.
This is the longest post ever. I have a tendency to blab when I talk about racing. Anyway, last, but not least, the cherry on top of our road trip was coming home to Rob's sisters, Amy and Andrea (staying at our place for a while), and finding that they had swept, made our bed, baked cookies, and planned out meals for the entire next week! Wow! I want to keep them forever.

Rob  – (3:23 PM)  

That was the longest post ever. Now everyone knows what I have to put up with!

Mrs. Anderson  – (4:50 PM)  

Rob you do sound like a stud in this post - she must have been in a great mood writing it :) But seriously guys, sounds like an incredible trip!

Mrs. Anderson  – (4:50 PM)  

Oh and you guys should create your own comic books!!

Sara  – (5:18 PM)  

I read the whole thing. Awesome recount of your races! And nice job - amazing what strategy is involved, and how fun that you can plan and learn for the future races. I think I like being the one on Rob's side better - although for poor Mike I usually can't cheer as well and go to as many races as most of my attention gets swept to keeping max OFF of the course...although Max does a great job at cheering - he says "dad!" anytime he sees any male person on a bike. Pretty funny.

K-country  – (9:15 PM)  

Great update Lo!~remind me to tell you about the time I got 1st and
3rd in the same race. Only happens once:) See you this weekend!!

PlainJane  – (4:47 PM)  

Awesome post, Lorena - I laughed, I cried... Excellent finishes both days, and isnt "fun mountain race" an oxymoron ?

Anna  – (5:05 PM)  

Way to race this weekend! Oh, and awesome illustrations! Really, the superman position helps make up a lot of time. You would be surprised.

Speaking of bridging up, I think you should build a drawbridge between your two prospective homes.

Rachelle  – (2:49 PM)  

That was a sweet tribute to Rob. Hi, your name is Simon, and you like to do drawrings.

LISA  – (5:00 PM)  

Sounds like a alot of fun over there!!

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