Bike racing is fun, right? That’s why we do it.
With one TT under our belts, Kat, AFR, and Emily Zell (Value Act) headed down to San Jose for our second race of the weekend. K, AFR, and I were meeting Brooke and Ali for a little action packed race known as the Mt. Hamilton Classic. Oh yeah. Start in San Jose, climb Mt. Hamilton, and then end 66 miles later in Livermore. 20 mile climb, then some shorter climbs and rollers leading into a fast descent into Livermore.
With a few pit stops and flawless trip planning extraordinaire by Kat, we made it to the race site. With 30 minutes to spare.
Remember my ingenious idea to time trial with my SRM from my road bike? Yeah, that one. I switched cranks to put the SRM back on the road bike for the race. I was very proud of my mechanic capabilities and even announced my technical savy. Race was lining up. I hop on my bike. Chatting, laughing…and the pedals won’t move. I scream for Tim from Paradigm Cycles to come help!
“Ahh!” “Someone get me an 8mm” “Quick” It was like an ER episode. The women are staged to start the race, and Tim is doing a quick surgery on the Look.
“Alison, what’s your heart rate”
“I’m in Zone 3 and getting warmed up! AHHH”
Quickly, I mount the bike and roll to the start just in time to catch the tail end of the Women’s 1/2/3 field. Phew. A close call, but the Look 585 was repaired quick enough to join the bike race.
Lesson Learned: When performing mechanical surgery on your bike the night prior to a race. Pre-ride the bike before actually starting the race.
The race starts, and we were mainly looking for AFR or myself to jump on any moves from the “climbers” of the group. Jazz Apple was out there in full force. We climb and climb and climb…descend…and then start the 2nd climb. Bam. Attack attack attack. Kat jumps on. AFR and I jump on the chase. We are golden. A break of 4 with Kat in it. The break dissolves and two riders move on. We are 20 miles into the race…one narly descent and roller to go…. and 46 more miles to chase the break down.
Narly descent. AFR and Kat take off. I struggle to stay connected. Have to chase to get back with them. The break is up the road, and we are doing the work to get it back. Lots of hills in between Mt. Hamilton and Livermore. By the Way. Lots of hills. I like to think of them as mini-mountains.
The break is established and we are going for 3rd. It was a hard course to reel them back in with such a technical descent. AFR flats, Kat gives her her wheel. We are 5k from the finish. AFR is chasing to get back on, and suddenly I realize I am in the break of 6 going for 3rd with no other teammates. What do I do? What would they tell me to do? With 1k to go I attack. Oops. AFR saw it and said, “Oh, wrong move…next time do that with 250m to go”. Oops. I got 6th. Team TIBCO had a little tough luck, but AFR got 9th, even after flatting. The pay out was 10 deep and they had licorice and chips at the finish line. We love them.
Lesson Learned: If you haven’t climbed Mt. Hamilton before, do it. It is beautiful, from what I remember… and then single lane road into Livermore is truly epic. It is what a bike race, or ride, should really look like. The foothills of Northern California are epic and gorgeous.
Lesson Learned: Do not jump with 1k to go on a downhill finish. Wait until 250m and then do you jump. I can sprint. Maybe.
Lesson Learned: Climbing road races are awesome. I will do that race again. I love my team too. Those are some strong girls.
The next day of racing…we headed to do the Memorial Day Criterium. Z and I headed down to San Jose. I pull out the BlackBerry to update my ever-important Twitter status and notice Kat’s Twitter status that she is in Morgan Hill. Hmm…20 miles south of SJ. I guess the crit is in Morgan Hill. Shoot. Arrived to the race 30 minutes before start. Quick pre-race meeting. And we were off, and by off, I mean it. That was a fast crit. Strong field, and no sitting up. We were attacking and covering and attacking and covering. Breaks weren’t sticking, but we were getting in plenty of them. Ouch. Attack again. Ouch. Chase. Ouch. Brought Brooke to the front with 2 to go. Get in good position. Chase down a lone rider. Lead out goes. I blow. Completely. Pretty sure I was DL. Still a hard race. Brooke gets 4th. Our legs were a little fried.
What do you do when you blow up before the lead out and your legs are torched after 50 mere minutes of racing? Join the Pro Men’s race of course! Brooke and I jump into the men’s race and hang on. Geez. Those guys are fast, but I just sit in and enjoy the ride. I got a couple of double takes for the blonde braid and pink Rudy sunglasses, but enjoyed the 30mph crit and the sweet draft. I dropped out with about 5 to go, and enjoyed the motorpacing session with the fast guys. Good leg speed.
I was torched. Today was an easy day.
Lesson Learned: Bike races are much easier when you can sit in and not race them. But they are much more fun when you race them and don’t sit in.
Lesson Learned: Get direction to the bike race before leaving the house. Even if you don’t do that, at least know which city the bike race is in.