...was a total blast. tysons crit, on sunday, april 5.
the morning of.
one of my favorite things in the world is waking up early without an alarm. it's like your body just knows you've had enough sleep, and you're up and at 'em without NPR blaring in your ear. it's a rarity for me, but this past sunday i awoke just after 7 in just this manner.
i had a killer bowl of oatmeal. i have a killer bowl of oatmeal every day. and i killed the wapo crossoword. i'm a huge nerd. feeling glorious, i was ready to hit the road.
i don't think i've ever felt so prepared for a race (and i'm not talking training-wise). i am so used to packing for a triathlon, and i ALWAYS feel like i've left some crucial item at home, since each leg of the race requires various elements, all of equal importance. for a bike race? helmet. bike. shoes. sunglasses. kit. food. water bottles. ahhh, so much easier.
arrival and warm up.
i got there with plenty of time to spare - 2 hours - and got dressed, all the while trying to look and act like i was a seasoned veteran and not a total fred. i mainly needed to fool myself, in that regard. brian showed up to help me warm up & put my number on, and some of the boy coppis gave me advice as they'd already completed their races. it was a beautiful day with some wind, but hardly a cloud in the sky. perfect day for my first race.
the course was nice and friendly. about a mile, with a nice downhill and an uphill climb to the finish. even on the warmups, my legs and lungs felt it on the uphill (i blame my windy columbia brick from saturday, but i also like to make excuses). uh oh. i decided not to worry about it. i was pretty nervous before warming up, but as i rounded the course a few times, i calmed down quite a bit.
the women's cat 4 race was delayed due to a few ugly crashes during the men's 4/5. oy. we got a few more laps in (and christian joined me!) and then lined up. i was in the wrong gear, and tried to fix it while waiting for the gun...knocking the gals around me a few times. sorry peeps. newbie. i didn't end up getting it right, but luckily i didn't drop my chain and shifted easily into place.
i started out pretty strong, at the front with christian. i hung with her for the first few laps, and then on one of the uphills i lost her as the field strung out a bit. she ended up pulling one of the climbs (the fastest one!)...she's super strong. i settled in (kind of) but had trouble finding a wheel to hang on to. i sped through the descents and then struggled up the hill.
to be honest, most of the race was a total blur. i just tried to stay with people, making up gaps on the downhill and flats. when they finally rang the last lap bell, i was pretty relieved. i tried to make up some time on the last lap...but at the final climb i sat and cranked away at the pedals without even a hint of a sprint. something to work on.
i finished in the second pack, 17th out of 29. i had an incredible time. i was tired and in pain for the majority of the race - but i know i could have done better. hang on christian's wheel. hang on anyone's wheel, for that matter. get out of the saddle to sprint. drink more. eat something. the list goes on. but it was a phenomenal first experience and i can't wait for the next one.
some parting thoughts.
i wish triathlon were more like bike racing. one thing's for sure - i race bikes like i'm in a triathlon...i'm like that even on group rides, in that i totally tune out what's going on around me. bad habit. i need to start paying closer attention to the entire field and be a bit more strategic. i also wish i were an amazing swimmer. little brother just signed up for the 2010 NOLA half-ironman, and i'm clearly going to have to do it. maybe once the summer comes i'll be more motivated about the pool. i do really like swimming at HP. in the meantime, need to focus on getting my butt ready to kill columbia. my brick on saturday was brutal. BRUTAL. but i enjoyed it, and am ready for the race.