Monday, July 11, 2005

Day 2, Maritime Bay Classic Crit in Manitowoc

It would be a lot easier if I didn’t want to do so well so badly.

(Okay, insert a big DUH! here. Real profound, right?)

If cycling didn’t have the lows, then the highs wouldn’t be so awesome, right?

It was a beautiful, blue sky, 90 degree day. Another big, strong field lined up for a 4-corner, pancake flat, rectangle crit. This was a ride hard, turn left crit. Wide roads and corners kept things relatively safe, although there were two or three crashes, two of which happened near the end when everyone fought for position. 55 laps of .7 miles each spelled another hour-and-a-half crit. The pace stayed hard and fast due to the points sprints and primes. The distance from the last corner to the finish line was not very long, so being one of the first three or maybe four was essential to have a shot at winning any lap. Chances were slim, though, with Kathrine Powers and Megan Long dominating the field. And did I mention the headwind??

My biggest obstacle is dealing with positioning in races. I have the fitness, that is clear to me right now. What I don’t seem to have is the kahunas. I have a real hard time moving up to the front, and when I get there, I can’t stay there. I get wigged out by how close and fast and aggressive everyone is up front.

I was too far back to go for the first points sprint. (There were 3 – at 40, 30, and 20 laps to go.) That made me frustrated from early on. I got to the front for the second sprint, but crossed the line 6th, and points only went 5 deep. I don’t even remember being in position to go for points the third time, maybe I did, but no soup for me. I got to the front in time to get in the mix for some primes within the last 10 laps, but I never got closer than third or fourth. I did gap the field on one attempt, though. On the lap when I was in best position for the prime, I was fourth in line going into the 3rd and 4th corner. The girl in front of me clipped her pedal hard into the ground, and she bounced hard. I don’t know how she stayed up. But I had to coast for a split second to keep from hitting her, and then I was gapped. I tried to stay on front, responding to attacks and surges, but could only do that so long. As soon as I tried to get on a wheel and sit in near the front, I lost position and in the blink of an eye, was at the back again. I don’t know how it happens so fast. I just can’t hold my position. And when I tried to move up again, it was just too late. With just a few laps to go, the pack was curb to curb, and the tempo was so fast I couldn’t advance. A crash in the third turn on the last lap jostled things up a bit, and luckily I wasn’t involved, but I had to settle for finishing at the back of the pack.

I find it very frustrating to do well one day and not so well the next when the field is exactly the same. I know I could have sprinted with these girls, I did yesterday.

The next three days are long road races, but I have a feeling that they aren’t going to be like road races back home. There aren’t enough hills out here. Tomorrow and Tuesday have 9-mile loops and Wednesday's a 2-mile circuit. Judging by the race profiles, I think they will be sprinter-fests. Maybe I can finish well. I hope to forget about today and look to tomorrow.

I wonder how Kami’s doing in Colorado. I heard there are a lot of girls we know out there… more than the three we knew of. Marci Titus Hall raced here today! It was fun to see her. Brooke O’Connor has been ripping up the pavement here the past two days as well. She’s been riding so well.
I wonder how everyone’s doing back home… Send an email or leave a comment here!

Sweet chopper bikes in a storefront window on the course! :) Tom, can you make me one of these??

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