Sunday, March 20, 2016

Did NOT See That Coming!

Time for the final 2 laps around Mason Lake. Of course, it was another pouring rain-fest. At least it wasn't quite as cold as last week. I was only cold once I stopped. 

Julian and Jasmine (now an official OOA teammate--yay!) picked me up again this morning. Here's a photo of the three of us.
The Julian, Jasmine, and Colleen Show!

We also had Jean, Julie, and Karen racing today! This was Julie and Karen's first real road race. Jean was planning to work with them to keep them in the race. Jasmine and I would work together, staying near the front, in case there was a break like yesterday. I knew Starbucks would be working for Emily so she could win the series. However, since Alisha didn't show up this week, Emily didn't really have to have much of a finish to still win. 

After last week, I did some calculations to figure out what the final series scenarios would likely be. Unfortunately, there was little chance of Jasmine and I being able to place in the series. We were coming into this 3rd race with 12 and 11 points. Emily already had 24 points. Alisha and Olga each sat at 15. There were a couple of other strong gals tied with 10 points. My best finish had been 5th. Even if I managed 5th again, that would only give me 7 more points. But, like I said, Alisha didn't show (and Olga had upgraded to Cat 3 after the first race).

We started the race. I was about mid-pack through the neutral roll out, and while we were going up the first hill. About half way up the hill, I moved up on the right to get a better position in the pack. I wanted to be ready if they should get some crazy idea to make a break. After yesterday, we all knew it was possible to get a break, and stick it. 

I spent some time on the front. Just when I was thinking I need to not do this, a gal came up and got in front of me. Excellent! We continued around to the roller section. Not long into the rollers, a gal took off (don't think she was part of a team). At this point I was on the front. I glanced back and could see no one was chasing. Okay, I'll wait. The gal kept going. Before long, a Starbucks gal came up beside me. I said to her, "So, are we ready to reel her in?" I think it was a Group Health gal that finally decided to give chase. A bunch of us got on and we set to work. Well...we tried to get to work. Emily was yelling at everyone to start rotating. She would say, "Up and over, up and over!" Which means to move up to the front, then move over to the side so the next gal can move up, then move over. The message was not seeming to make it to the front. Finally, we had a rotating paceline going, but it was rather messy. It would take the next rider eons to get up to the front. At one point, I used that to my advantage to not get too far back. There was a gap, and I moved back into the rotation. 

Just after crossing the start, we caught the gal. We tried to tell her to get into the paceline, but I think she was cooked. A few of us continued to try to rotate. I couldn't tell if there was some kind of break, or even how many of us were in it if there was actually a break. I just kept trying to rotate. I was in the lead through Corner 1, but I eased up so someone could rotate by me, then come in front to give me a break. When that happened, it seemed like we did indeed have a bit of a break. I just didn't know how many of us there were. The rotating was still pretty haphazard. 

Coming down the hill, we finally really did seem to be getting away. There were four of us--Group Health, Bike Sale (I think), Starbucks, and me. Sadly, no Jasmine. I yelled to tell them to keep working together. We were doing okay, but I could tell Starbucks (not sure who it was) and Bike Sale were struggling. As Laura from Group Health rotated to come in front of me, neither of the other gals moved up. I caught back up to Laura, and told her it was just the two of us, and we needed to work together as best we could. I wasn't confident that we could stick it, because there are a lot of hills, and with just two, neither of us gets much recovery time. But, we kept at it. We were doing short quick pulls on the uphills, then taking longer pulls on the flats and downhills. We made it around Corner 2. I glanced back to see if anyone was coming. I saw a Starbucks gal. I yelled to Laura that maybe we could have three to work with but, Laura began to pull away from me. I tried to catch her, but she was very strong. I came through the curve, and continued to work as hard as I could going into the rollers. I looked back to see if the Starbucks gal was coming, but she was no longer in sight. I thought to myself, okay, it looks like it's time trial time! So, down into the drops, head down, and pedal! I could still see the lead car for most of the rollers, but I wasn't gaining on Laura at all.

I continued to glance back every now and then to see if anyone was coming. Nope, nothing as far as I could see. Not wanting to rest on my laurels, I continued to go as hard as I could. Besides, with no one to block the wind, if I slowed down at all, I would get cold. I did NOT want that!

Up down, up down, around the lake I went. Finally, I saw the 1km sign. A couple more ups and downs, and I was going by the 200m sign. Still, no one was coming. I crossed the line 25 seconds after Laura for 2nd place. Lauren, from Starbucks crossed 50 seconds after me, and Jasmine nipped Emily at the line for 4th about 50 seconds after Lauren. Karen and Julie did great coming in 13th and 19th respectively. Jean had a flat, ran the last mile, and still came in 21st!

I wanted to stay in my kit in case there was a podium, but I was soaking wet, and getting cold. I also wanted to get a photo of the 5 of us, but Karen's lips were turning blue, and Jean wasn't back yet. So, no photo. Jasmine and I managed to change into warm dry clothes before we were shivering too bad. We went over to the Community Center to get some hot cocoa. Jean joined us. 

After awhile we went to see if the results were up, as well as the series results too. Emily, of course got 1st. Turns out, I got 2nd, and Jasmine got 3rd! I did not see that coming! Check it out!

I asked Jean to take a photo of Emily, Jasmine, and I. 
Emily was smart and had a dry jersey to put on. Of course, she knew she would be winning too.

Today's swag was another water bottle, a pair of socks, a multi tool and some other things. Jasmine got the same, but for my 2nd place, I also got a certificate for a 10 race punch card for the Seward Park Thursday Night Cycling Series (in the summer). When I got home I messaged Emily to see if her team could use it. Starbucks has helped me a lot these last few races, and it may as well not go to waste.

Next week is IVRR, where my streak of top 10 finishes will likely come to an end (way too many huge hills). Another year of laps around Mason Lake is finished!

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