Debbie and I went up to Sequim last night as Julian generously invited us to stay with him instead of getting up at the butt-crack of dawn and driving up like last week. Kirk and Jeff were also staying in the same hotel. We all met at the hotel, then went to a great dinner at a place called Blondies. Highly recommend it if you are traveling through Sequim. Jeff was very generous, and picked up the check for the five of us.
In the morning, we had breakfast that I brought (baked steel cut oatmeal with strawberries and blueberries), then hustled over to the race. I did an abbreviated warmup, and headed over to the start. 22 gals were on the list today. There were only 6 Starbucks gals, 5 Bike Sale, 3 Group Health, 3 of us OOA, and singles of a few other teams. The weather was looking pretty good. Wind, frequently a factor at Sequim, was similar to last week--perhaps a little bit stronger.
We rolled out, up the hill past the finish, through Corner 1, down the hill, through Corner 2, and onto the straight away. The pace was going along much like last week (poodling along). Then, a Bike Sale gal came up the side and attacked off the front getting a fairly decent gap. I thought, so what, we are only a couple miles into a 36 mile race. She won't stick it. We'll catch her. I was on the front just going along. Then, Emily from Starbucks went after Bike Sale. I went too as my goal has been to stay as close to Emily as possible. Another gal, I think from Garage Racing, came with us. Emily looks back, and realizes we've got a break! The three of us keep it going, taking turns pulling. We catch the Bike Sale gal, let her know we are a break, and keep pushing hard, now rotating with 4 of us.
Before too long, 3 more gals bridge up to us (2 Starbucks, and a gal from Ten Speed). But, they are it. There's no one else coming. We still had a break, but now with a larger group of 7. We crested the hill, and came down and through Corner 3. We still had a good size gap. Now it was time to work together to maintain the break. We started a rotating paceline. With 7 of us, it was great as we each got enough recover time, and spent mere seconds on the front. 7 was definitely the magic number!
Finishing lap one, the finish guy let us know we had a gap of about 3 minutes. We were thrilled! We all continued working together rotating, rotating, rotating. When the gals who happened to be on the front went through the corners, they (and me too, when I was there) would ease up to let the group get back together, then we would resume our rotating.
Coming by the finish the next time (going into lap 3) we had even more time on them. Still, we kept up the pace. Even though we were averaging over 20 mph, it was a comfortable pace. Nearing the end of Woodcock, as Emily went up the line by me, I asked her what the end game was in this situation. She didn't say anything, so I just said, "Everyone for themselves, I'm guessing."
We made the turn onto Kitchen-Dick Rd., then onto Lotzengel (possibly wrong spelling). We were still rotating, but as I got to the front, no one came up. Oh great. I can't finish well if I use up all my energy before we even get to the 1km sign! So...I slowed down. Sure enough, somebody came up beside me.
Going up the first hill after the 1km sign, the Ten Speed gal took off. Emily and Courtney of Starbucks chased. I chased them. I...had...to...catch...them! I closed in on them, and finally got on Courtney's wheel. Just after the 200m sign, Emily peeled off to let Courtney go. I went with Courtney. We were both sprinting as hard as we could, out of the saddle. My thighs were on fire! Then...THEN!!!...Courtney sat down! That gave me the motivation I needed to stay out of the saddle and pass her! I got 2nd!!! Woo Hoo!!!
Notice the circled name? She was not in our race. She just happened to go across the finish line in between the 7 of us and the rest of the group. She is really a Cat 3 racer. So, Jean got 10th, and Debbie got 14th. They had their own interesting race, including a gal who somehow managed to be in the race on a TT bike (it's illegal). She was DQd.
The obligatory podium shot!
Today was really fun! I felt like we were actually doing what the Cat 1/2s have told us to do in various clinics. Tomorrow is the final Mason Lake. Will there be another attempt to get a break? If so, I hope to be with it again.