September 22, 2009

The first two big ones

Star Crossed and Rad Racing
Tim and I opted to drive to Seattle – maybe not one of my better ideas. We squeezed the entire drive into one long day. Twelve and a half hours in the car is not fun. Friday in Seattle we enjoyed a beautiful ride along Lake Washington. We stayed with friends of Tim’s in a beautiful house in the Madrona neighborhood. I was able to get my dog fix by playing with their three dogs for a few days.

The new Ibis Hakkal├╝gi bikes got lots of comments – we had people stop and look at them while at a pastry shop and at two different bike shops. Saturday we woke up to light rain and much cooler temperatures – this felt more like cross weather. We got to the venue really early and right away ran into Wendy Simms, mother-to-be, showing off her big belly. Wendy maintains her style even while pregnant – she will not be caught dead in dowdy preggo clothing.

At Star Crossed, I had my best start ever. Tim couldn’t believe it and said that I looked around to see where everyone was. My awesome start only lasted until the first corner. From there on it was a fight to not get dropped. The course catered my weaknesses – it was flat with lots of long straight sections. It started raining partway through the race making the corners slippery. I was really happy when the race was finally over. My heart hasn’t worked that hard in months! It took a long time to wind down afterwards and I couldn’t fall asleep until nearly midnight.

Sunday we headed out kind of early – Tim wanted to ride before my race so we packed everything into the Mazda said our good byes and headed down to Tacoma. I like the Steilacoom course and have had good races in the past. After my disappointing finish on Saturday I was hoping for redemption. As always, the run up on the first lap sorted things out. I was in a little group with Wendy Williams behind British national champion Helen Wyman, Sue Butler, Alison Dunlap and Kari Studley. We worked hard to try and catch Kari but she was too quick. Helen flatted early in the race and on the last lap wasn’t too far behind us. We tried to keep her behind us but she caught up near the top of the hill. I went deep into the pain cave to stay on her wheel over the crest of the hill then had some recovery on the long descent. I tasted blood in the back of my throat trying to stay on her wheel on the long straight stretch at the bottom of the hill. She eventually gapped us and and then it was just Wendy and me. Luck was on my side and I beat Wendy in the sprint for fifth place and my first UCI podium of the year! Tim and I wedged everything into the car and took off shortly after the podium with the hopes of getting in several hours of driving that night. We made it about four hours before we were both too tired to drive any more.

Next up – Cross Vegas!

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