It's been 5 months since my last race (hmmm...that kind of sounds like something from a 12-step program). Coming into today's race, I was nowhere near race fit, but it is one of the OOA races, so it was free. I figured, why not? It'll just be a bike ride. Jean felt the same way. Oh, and the course was reversed for this year. Yikes! That meant 5 times up all those hills we previously got to go down!
Due to the low numbers of women racing, the Cat 4s were combined with the Pro,1,2,3s. Like I said, just another bike ride. Ironically, early in the season, Julian was hoping I would upgrade to Cat 3 (I have enough points) with Jasmine. When I pretty much poo pooed that idea, he suggested asking the WSBA person if I could just try Boston Harbor as a Cat 3. If I did really bad (which I would have), then I could go back to the 4s. Yeah, I didn't do that, but it didn't matter because I ended up having to race with them anyway...ironic, yes?
Anyway, Debbie drove me to the race, but wasn't racing. It was just Jean and I for OOA women. There ended up being 8 of the 1,2,3s, and 7 of us 4s. Probably could have had separate races, but I don't get to make those decisions. Plus, at the close of online registration, there weren't that many 1,2,3s (it's all their fault).
We lined up to race 5 laps around the 6 mile course. Just prior to our race, I asked Chip, the official, when the 1,2,3s left us lowly 4s in the dust, would we no longer have a follow car? He said yes, but later came back and said he gave us a follow car. I'm glad I asked!
We rolled out. At the top of the first hill (Boston Harbor to Woodard Bay), both Jean and I were wheezing like donkeys, but we were still with the whole group. Fortunately, the leaders eased up, and we were able to catch our breath.
The first time up 81st (steep little sucker!), still wheezing, but still with the group. They got away from us going up the popper on Zangle. It was just Jean and I bringing up the rear. As we made the second turn up onto Woodard Bay, we caught up to Nikki from Group Health. Then we caught Linda from Spokeswoman. I really thought Linda was a Cat 3 who had dropped. I didn't find out until after the race that she was a 4.
Jean and I on lap...whatever (not 5).
We kept up the speed as much as we could. Going up Boston Harbor the third time, I had to chase back on. Jean had the same problem on the fourth lap. We both managed to get back with the other two.
Finally, we had just one lap to go. At the top of Boston Harbor, Linda got ahead of us. But, remember, I thought she was a 3. Not that I could have caught her, but I might have tried if I'd known.
After 81st, we lost Nikki. Jean said she was gone, so at least we wouldn't be last! I pushed as hard as I could up the last hill on Zangle, and tried to keep going. I didn't know if Nikki might catch me because she had done that on all the other laps. Well, she didn't, and neither did Jean. So, I came in 5th (same as last year), and Jean got 6th. Woo Hoo! Top 10 finishes (yeah yeah, there was only 7)!
Done at last!
The results. See? That whole idea of trying Cat 3? Not a good idea!
After waiting around for the afternoon races to start, Debbie and I made our way to Corner 1 (with Greg as our spotter) for our volunteer jobs as Corner Marshalls. Debbie took the south bound lane, and I took the north. There was only one race for the first afternoon wave, so we had lots of time between laps. I'm glad I brought a chair. After that race finished, I just stayed at the corner while Debbie took Greg back. Roy would be our spotter for the final two races. While they were gone, I picked a few blackberries.
I was enjoying picking the berries until I saw a snake. That was the end of my blackberry picking.
So, today's race was my last road race. Due to my tours next year, I will not be road racing. Maybe some cyclocross, but that is unsanctioned. I'll still join the team as a fan, so when I am around, I can still ride with my posse. It's been a good 4 years of road racing. This was my best year. Now back to that which is my favorite type of riding--touring!