Today was the first race in the women's pro 1/2/3 series. The start time was late afternoon, 3:45 pm, so I got some much needed rest this morning. I drove about 90 miles north to the top of Lake Winnebago and the sleepy, clean town of Menasha.
Yes, my friends, there really is an East Oshkosh!
Lotsa wind, too. These wind turbines were really cooking!
Okay, so I guess you are probably not interested in anything but the racing!!
So moving on to the important stuff...
This was the longest crit I've ever done. 50 laps, .8 of a mile each lap! A full field lined up, I'm guessing around 50 women, but the numbers went up to around 75, so maybe it was more. Apparently staging is a skill I haven't learned yet, because yet again, I started at the back. Guess I just need to get good enough to get call ups every time. ;)
Basically a triangle downtown, the course had both a LONG, wide finishing straight and a long, wide backstretch with a couple of 270 degree turns and another open turn like a curve. Frankly, it got a little old after lap 40....
There's a points sprint competition at this series, kind of like a race within a race. There were 3 points sprint laps during the race, and the points go 5 deep. The first I was not in good position to contest, but I decided to go for the next two. I got 4th place twice, enough to finish in 5th place in sprint points for the day. There are some great sprinters here! One girl from Oklahoma was very strong, I feel bladly that I can never remember people's names. I'll have to look it up. I'm going to mix in up in all the points sprints from now on! Fun!!
Today I wanted to work on being more comfortable in the pack, staying in good position, and being aggressive at the right moments. I also wanted to finish top ten. I accomplished much of this, although I finished 11th (10th in the pack). I think I probably didn't conserve sometimes, but I really was having more fun being active at the front for awhile. I bridged to a group that countered after a points sprint, when I perhaps should have let the pack chase. I chased another attack as well, and pulled the pack with me. And I went for two of the points sprints, so I was pretty wiped about an hour into the race. I saw my highest heart rate ever after one of those sprints... 184 bpm.
I just kind of sat in for awhile, until 5 to go. I really was tired, and in ways I've never felt in a crit. It wasn't as much my legs as the rest of my body! My back was very sore, my left wrist hurt uncomfortably, and I almost found it hard to pay attention at times, especially because the loop became a bit monotonous. The rough pavement everywhere except the finish straight must have taken a lot out of me. I thought about it, and I don't think I've ever raced in the drops for over an hour and a half. I know, I know, wimp!! :) Guess that's all changed, as all the crits this week are long! So are the road races!
Back to back primes with 5 and 4 laps to go kept the pace high to the end. I moved up before the last prime, although I decided to save my legs and stay in the pack. I got up towards the middle of the front with 2 to go, and went along with any attacks that came from the sides. I stayed up at the front, probably 5th in line, and we were hauling, stringing the front out into single file. Around the last corner, people jumped. I went, but made a mistake. I should have stayed right on someone's wheel, and instead, I ended up in the wind. It was a long finish straight, and I guess I didn't have my best sprint left in me. I thought I finished 9th in the pack (there was one woman off the front who finished several second off the front), but the results had me as 11th, so I counted wrong. I was happy to be up there!
I got bumped in one of the corners, and stayed up. I was in front of a crash that happened early on, and I was more aggresive in terms of getting good positioning in the pack. I still have to learn to put myself consistently in a tucked in position. I'll get there soon! I get to practice again tomorrow afternoon! I am going for all the points sprints. I hope to do well in the overall points series. I really love going for primes and sprints!
The only problem with late starts is that you get home late! I'm exhausted, and need to sleep now. I hope this entry was coherent! I feel delirous.
I will sleep dreaming of sprinting. :)