Sunday, March 23, 2014

Same Result, Different Scene

Aiyiyi, third weekend in a row, racing my bike around Mason Lake! I think two would have been plenty (not that I would really want to end the series on a crash...)! Funny thing--though the course was the same, each race was very different. Let's quickly recap. Mason Lake #1--bossy mentors, 6th place, my time was 1:20, and no crashes. Mason Lake #2--good mentors, 13th place (after crashing), my time was 1:16 (notice, it was 4 minutes faster, even though I crashed), and, of course, the major crash.

So, that brings us to Mason Lake #3. We had a plan of attacking the hills, but with two key teammates missing (Jean and Geraldine), I was dubious that we could pull it off. Heather would no doubt fly up the hills, but Debbie and I?...not so much. But, I figured, what the heck, let's give it a try. 

We started with 37 racers--the most we've had for the Series. We also had mentors again. Today's mentors were from the Starbucks Team. As we rounded Corner 1 and began racing, I found myself stuck in the midst of the pack on the inside. Heather and I had hoped to attack the first hill. She was about 3 bikes ahead of me, but also stuck. So much for that idea!

I remained stuck. I was moving up and back as the gals on the same line would speed up, then slow down, but I was still stuck on the shoulder. We were too close to the shoulder to attempt passing on the right (always a dicey proposition if you ask me), and I could not get out to the left. Sometimes I was one bike back and to the right of Heather, other times, I would be 3 or 4 bikes back. 

Heather managed to escape out to the left (an amazing Houdini act). I saw her go off the front with a good attack. However, she went alone. I couldn't get to her. As is usual amongst us Cat 4 Women, no one wanted to go with her on the first lap. Eventually, she burned out, and the group brought her back into the fold. However, it was a spectacular try, and I was suitably impressed!

I was finally able to escape from my prison on the shoulder going into Corner 2. In fact, we had already dropped a substantial number of riders. I stayed with the group as we sped down the hill, and through the curve at the beginning of the rollers. Just as an aside, I t was so much nicer going through that curve on dry pavement!

On the rollers, I could see Heather. Now she was stuck on the shoulder side. I was out near the yellow line, but the others out there were making it impossible to get by. But, the pace was pretty speedy, so I don't know that I could have passed anyway. We had a brief slowdown, when a dog meandered across the road just ahead of us (you would think the people who live along the route would...I don't know...maybe keep there dog inside???).

As we were riding along, spread out across the whole lane, I heard a gal (Bike Sale) saying, "Snuggle up, snuggle up. I'm coming up the left side. Snuggle up!" That was a new one! But, with a little bit of our sheep mentality still showing, we complied, and moved closer together. She went up the left side with no objections from the rest of us (not even so much as a "Baaaa"). That is a trick I may add to my limited arsenal!

Lap 2, heading up the hill, the pace picked up. By now, we had completely dropped about half the group. Heather and I were still in it. I managed to go with an attempt at a break with 6 or 7 others. We were each taking short pulls, but unfortunately it didn't stick (or the group was bigger than I thought). 

Into the rollers, things were going good. We were flying along at a blistering pace. With not as many people, I saw an avenue open up where I could go up the left side. I "sprinted" to the front, and managed a little continued time out of the saddle, attempting to get away. After a short bit, I glanced back only to see my effort was ineffective. Also, I was sucking wind like mad (my lungs seem unable to keep up with my legs)! Yep, everyone went by me. I could not stay with them this time. You know the saying, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." In this case it was, "Something ventured, still nothing gained." Sadly, had I not burned that match at that time, I probably could have stayed with them to the finish. 

As it was, being so far ahead of the other dropped riders, I continued on and finished the race alone. But, you know, I was okay with that. I think on some level, I had no desire to finish with a bunch of riders around me...hmmm...wonder why???

Ironically, I got the same place as the crash week--13th. However, the scene was MUCH different (and preferred) from that week! Oh, and my time this week was 1:08. Yes, it was a much faster race!

For the Series, I got a whopping total of 6 points, therefore finishing 14th. Although, I don't totally understand how I got 14th. I thought the Series points only counted if you did all three races. There are, at least, two gals who finished ahead of me who did not race all three weeks. It's a mystery! Oh well, best part is I don't have to see Mason Lake again for a whole year!

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