I won myself a bike race.

Today.  Spring Hill Road Race.  Petaluma, California.

It was kind of a crazy morning, but with most of the team either in Tulsa and Montreal, it left ARo and I to take on the somewhat small peloton in Marin. 

One thing racing in France taught me was that bike racing is supposed to be hard.  I like hard races.  The harder the better.  ARo and I did not want to pedal in circles around the beautiful countryside of Petaluma for 70 miles.  We would check out the course, and the we would start attacking.  And if they caught us, we would attack again and again.  I was going to make it a hard race.  And if at the end, everyone was there, it would be a great opportunity to work on my sprint.  I was ready to race.  Hard.  I also thought it would be a good day for a Team TIBCO win.  Why not?  Hard race, and a win.

Needless to say, the race started late and we were freezing.  The race started on a 2k climb.  What better way to warm up then drill it up the first climb.  As Ali and I laughed as we got “warmed-up” on the climb, and the group was strung out. 

I heard some complaints. “Girls, we have 67 more miles…do we need to go this hard?”

Well, this is a bike race.  Welcome.

The course was mainly rolling with some power climbs.  Very few flats. and 10mph winds.  The main climbs were 4 minutes at max.  Great course.

As we roll around, I hear…

“Can we have a nature break?”

No.  ARo has a wedding to go to, ,and then a SnowFlake Shower.  We have places to go, and we don’t have all day. 

16 miles in, Wells Fargo attacks.  I jump on.  They counter.  I jump.  I figure the best option is to counter.  I get caught.  I counter my own catch.  I get caught.  I attack again. 

Here is what I think:

  • You have to attack like you mean it.  You have to go for it.  Really go for it.  Believe it, and mean it.
  • The next couple of minutes are all out very painful and very hard.  Do not look back.  If you look back, you didn’t mean it.  Head down, put out power and go for it.
  • Settle in.  Find your rhythm and start going.  No fear.

Well, I attacked.  I meant it.  I went pretty deep and put myself in a hole to further establish a gap.  Drilled it up the feed zone hill and kept going.  I went into full TT mode.  It someone was going to bridge up to me, that’s perfect.  But, I was going to make them work to try to catch me.  My gap was at around 45 seconds.  I kept pushing it.  Why not?  We are here race our bikes, I might as well race mine as well.  I started counting down the miles to go at 33.  32 miles to go.  31 miles to go. 2 minute gap.

Suddenly, I felt pretty alone.  It could have been the headwind and the crosswind.  It could have been the rolling terrain of ranches and random furry cows…  Or it really could be that I was all alone on a rolling terrain, and for some reason the follow car didn’t follow me, but stayed behind the chase group?  I was in a deep time trial mode, staring at the SRM holding my watts in a particular window and just keep pedalling.  Didn’t I do a practice TT yesterday?  Was I really prepared to TT again today?  Well, I was the one that attacked.  I put my head down and went.  I put myself in this position, so I might as well roll with it.  Just roll with it at a very fast clip.  I honestly don’t have much thoughts from that 50 miles.  I was hurting and I was steady.  Accelerate over the rollers, hold power on the descents.  That’s all.

20 miles to go.  18. 16. 15. 13. 12. 10. 9… I think I can win?  I hadn’t received any time splits.  I had no idea where the peloton was.  I just kept pedalling.  Kept pedalling.  The last hill.  I went for it.  Finished.  I won!  Where are the girls?  Over 8 minutes back.  They asked why I went to hard?  I didn’t know I didn’t have to.  Hard race.  Good workout.  Pro win number 2.

I felt good about the race.  Bike races can be negative, but I will not be caught up in that.  I will race and I will go for it.  No, you will not win every time, you may even blow up.  However, if you attack and you race your bike.  You will not only get stronger, but you will have a good story to tell. 

This one time, I attacked…and I had to ride 52 miles solo and I don’t remember much about it.  But, I won.  It was a good story.  Maybe there will be more.

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