A few weekends ago was the Junior World Championship Trials in Nashville. After a day of work on Friday, my mom, brother, and I headed through the scenic roads of Illinois and Kentucky. The next day was the 10k TT. I arrived to a scene of girls in flashy skins with more expensive bikes than my car. Their parents were enthusiastically tweaking away at the girls time trial bikes while the girls warmed up on their road bikes. As I warmed up my ghetto set-up of road bike with mini aero bars on the front, a zipp 404 and rear hed tri-spoke, I politely asked my mother if she would put my numbers on the back for me (she remembers it differently). After fussing about why it was my job to do such things, she obliged and started pinning me, not so enthusiastically. I was the second 17-18 year old woman to go off. I went to roll out beforehand, where they picked up my bike and proceeded to make jokes about how heavy it was.
Only 6 miles I kept repeating in my head. 3 miles in I passed my minute girl, Yippee Skippee, maybe I’m better at this than I thought (too early to say). I kept roaring on. 4 ½ miles in, I see another hill but it just keeps going and the finish of it is nowhere in sight! I bonked. I could feel all the Peanut butter Powerbars and Nutella sandwiches – not in a powerful way but in a coming back up kind-of way. I tried to find a rhythm as I thought of a GirlTalk mash-up (for exact pump-up in the heat of the moment, click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-8zmGAeP-0). Finally I crested over the top and headed down. There was a sketchy turn and I went off-roading for about half a minute (due to my sucky-turning skills) and then sprinted to the finish. I wound up getting 6th. The next day was the 57-mile road race which was the longest I had done up until that point, being a Cat 4 woman. I hung on the breakaway group for the first 13 miles or so but then was dropped on a mountain. Shooooot! This is the worst time for my brakes to be rubbing. I thought, scapegoating my lack of fitness on my brakes. As I reached the top, I realized that they were definitely not rubbing and to get over myself. But I sprinted back to the pack on the downhill and flats. The next mountain came, and I was dropped for good. I rode along for the rest of the 40 or so miles with a few other girls. 5 water bottles, 4 Gus, 3 shot bloks, 2 powerbars, and 1 panic attack later (reminds me of a musical) on that 92 degree weather day, I finished the race 7th. I rolled off my bike. I couldn’t even walk when I tried to get the hell out of my kit and into some baggy clothes. It was indeed an eye-opening weekend filled of girls much fitter than me… and so I catted up.
My first race as a Cat 3 was yesterday at the State RR in Ste. Genevieve (aka 67 miles!). I felt a lot better the whole race than I had at the race in Nashville. The pack rolled along at a much faster pace than I was used to but it wasn’t as intense at the Junior Worlds Qualifier. I dropped my second bottle in the feed so that was a huge bummer. Nothing too exciting happened but I think that the Womens 1, 2, 3 were afraid to be behind me (due to a history) because they just kept going in front of me. I occasionally pulled but I was mostly in for the ride (*notice picture). Slowly people were being peeled off the back as the climbs became harder each time. Heartbreaker though, I got dropped on the KOM the second time around, 60 miles into the race. I wound up finishing 4th with dead legs and a light head.
So now I’m going to gnaw on a slice of humble pie… or maybe I’ll just have a protein shake.