This year we had our same awesome group of OOA Chicks representing in the Cat 4 Masters 35+ category (all of us definitely on the + side of the age group). We arrived with plenty of time to stand around and enjoy the sun on this, the last day of February. Soon, however, it was time to get down to business. Trainers were set up, and warmups begun. Karen did her warmup out on the road (she rode to Flaming Geyser State Park--next year, I may do that just to check it out). I was, literally, warming up while riding in the sun on the trainer! I thought about removing my base layer, but I figured it would be cooler once I was actually on the road.
One by one we finished up on our trainers, put stuff away, and donned helmets. Jean and I were very stylish in our TT helmets!
Jean was to go off first of the 5 of us. I was last at 8 minutes behind Jean. Cindy was 4 minutes ahead of me, and Karen and Debbie were 1 minute and 30 seconds, respectively, ahead of me. We positioned ourselves in line, and each waited our turn to go. Debbie and Karen would be my "carrots". Cindy would be my distant "carrot". There would be no way I could catch Jean with an 8 minute lead.
I took off, and so did my heart rate. In the blink of an eye, my heart rate was up to 154, then 160. As it continued to creep into the low 160s, I thought, hmmm, I wonder how long I can maintain this? But, once my legs were warmed back up, I felt pretty good, even though my heart rate was still hovering in the mid 150s.
I came around one of the curves, and could see Debbie in the distance. I closed the gap and passed her. Next up was Karen. As I passed her, she hollered encouragement. On I pedaled trying to keep my speed in the 22 to 23 mph range. There seemed to be sometimes a tailwind (or no wind), and sometimes a bit of a headwind. It was still better than last year.
Before I reached the turn-around, I saw Jean, looking very focused, on her way back (little did I know what had transpired before she got to the turn-around). Then, just a bit before reaching the turn-around, I saw Cindy heading back. Could I catch her?
I made the turn, and got back up to speed. Again, the wind was variable. I could tell my legs were getting tired (that, or my air intake was just not quite enough), because my cadence was slowing down. I shifted one gear easier and felt a little bit better (still gulping air like it was some vanishing commodity). My heart rate was staying more around 160 by now. About halfway back, I was starting to dream about seeing that 1km sign, and looking for it around each corner. I could now see Cindy on the longer straight stretches. I told my legs to pedal harder! I rode by the 1 km sign, getting closer to Cindy. At the "zoom" (200 m), I put my head down and pedaled as hard as I could. Spit was flying out the side of my mouth (it was open so wide, trying to suck in more air; making one think I had unhinged my jaw). I was closing in on her! But...I ran out of race. Cindy crossed the line before me (I know, you were expecting some triumph on my part, but...no).
Lungs heaving, I came around the corner after the finish, and saw Jean. I stopped beside her. She was breathing hard in that close-to-full-blown-asthma-attack way. She said she had crashed. Her wheel had hit a vertical crack, and next thing she knew she was flying off the bike. I assumed it had happened somewhere near the finish, but it had happened before the turn-around! Remember, when I saw her coming back, she was looking very focused. I thought it was amazing that she was less than halfway, but managed to get back on the bike and finish! She thinks she lost about 3 minutes. Here's the cool thing--she wasn't even last! The last place gal was more than a minute behind.
Karen found some 1st Aid supplies (bandages and neosporin), and we patched Jean up. The abrasions were not too serious, but definitely the kind that sting. She probably won't feel so good tomorrow, but she is in one piece, thankfully.
We waited until the results were finally printed. Here's a photo.
I got 9th, with a time of 28:00. I cut 11 seconds off last year's time, and moved up 2 places. Debbie finished 17th with a time of 30:18. Karen finished 22nd at 31:21. Cindy came in right behind her at 23rd, with a time of 31:53. Jean was 24th at 33:33. All in all, a good showing from us OOA ladies!
(L to R) Debbie, Cindy, me, Jean, and Karen
The Post TT Ride
As I said at the beginning, there was a post TT bit. After Debbie dropped me off back at home, I decided 10 miles was not enough riding for such a nice day. I hopped on KITT and headed south on the trail. I met a former OOA rider (now does mostly track), and rode with him as far as the train tracks.
I didn't want to run out of daylight as I didn't have my front light. I rode into Rainier (the pull toward Main Street Cookie Company was great, but I resisted). Took a left on Centre and headed back on the road. When I got to the stop sign at the end of Hubbard, I had moved to the left side of the lane as I was going to turn left. I was waiting for an oncoming vehicle to go by. It was a full sized SUV. The driver, instead of turning left of my left, turns into the wrong lane between me and the right side of the road! She stops halfway through her turn. She rolls down the passenger side window, and says she didn't even see me. I said, "You really cut the corner." She agreed! About that time, a Sheriff's car comes speeding up Hubbard with lights flashing. He stops at the intersection and, seeing the odd juxtaposition of me and the SUV, asks me if there was a collision. I said no, but before I could tell him how the stupid lady totally cut the lane, he said, "I gotta go!" and sped off, lights still flashing. I'm thinking it was that lady's lucky day! I rode the rest of the way home thinking how, not only was I lucky that woman didn't hit me, but if she hadn't stopped to talk to me, her and the Sheriff's car might have hit each other head on! That would not have been pretty!
What a day! Next week is the Tour d Dung #1.