Friday, May 29, 2009

A Little Friendly Competition Won't Hurt Anyone, Will It?

Ragla and I are always trying to outdo one another: whose house is messier, whose kids are naughter, whose bike is dirtier. Unfortunatly, we've taken the competition to a new level: whose bike wreck is more spectacular.

Only last month did the both of us go down doing goofball moves.

Ragla went down again yesterday morning on a group bike ride. She hit her aerobars so hard with her chest that it bent the bars. She now has a bruised sternum and some road rash.

Not to be outdone, I decided to race the UVU Crit last night. No better place to wreck spectacularly than at a tight-cornered race with dozens of spectators watching, right?

I was doing pretty well racing, if I do say so myself. I had gotten to the start line just as Holly was giving the pre-race instructions. There were already about 30 guys lined up, so I took my place at the back, not up front where I wanted to be. At least when I'm up front they all have to pass me before I get dropped.

I was dropped in no time. My plan had been to recover once I was dropped and wait for the pack to come around so I could try to get back in with the group. But, as we came around for the second and third laps, I was still ahead of a few guys, so I kept up the effort. I was feeling really good, so I worked at catching and passing a couple more guys ahead of me.

Then it happened. As I was coming into the tightest turn, one of the faster groups of guys was coming up behind me. I didn't want to go through the turn with them, so I picked up my speed a bit. I'm guessing I must have been going over 25 mph. Speed + hairpin turn = not a very good combination.

The red curb was coming at me a little too fast. I feathered the brakes. "Don't hit the curb! Don't HIT THE CURB!" Then I did what I know better than to do: I locked up the brakes. Endo.

The first thing to hit the pavement was my helmet. Then my face.

I was going to pass out. I laid my head down on the ground in preparation for all to go black. But it didn't.

I couldn't breathe. I didn't think I could. But I was. Really fast.

I looked at the ground. A puddle of blood had formed. Where was that coming from? Everything hurt, so it could have been coming from anywhere.

The EMT rushed over and started asking me the have-you-been-knocked-silly questions: do your know you name? What day is it? Where are you?

A nice-sized group of spectators formed. A lot of kids staring at me. I was feeling pretty jovial and tried my best to keep things lighthearted as I told them not to look at my blood and guts. But I could see the concern on all their faces. Either I wasn't as funny as I was trying to be, or I was looking worse than I felt.

The EMTs were having a hard time getting the bleeding to stop on my chin. I finally asked if I could hold the compression gauze on because the lady doing it was getting a little too wiggly for my chin to handle. They told me that I was going to need stitches. Cool. I've never had stitches. They finished wrapping me up, loaded me into a truck, and sent me on my way to the ER.

The ER doctors quickly unwrapped everything, checked me out, gave me drugs, and sent me to get CAT scanned and x-rayed. They were worried that I had broken bones in my face, and they wouldn't stitch me up until they determined that I wouldn't need surgery. The CAT scan machine was a trip. I'm not sure it's a good idea to drug people before sending them into the giant donut machine. I had a really hard time not giggling the whole time I was getting scanned. But by the time I was moved to the x-ray lab, I was about to drop dead asleep. Then it was time to wait for results. An hour later they told me that everything looked good, and they proceeded to stitch up my chin. Four stitches, in case you're wondering.

Hoping to heal fast so I can get back on my bike! Remember to ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET!

PS - There was a professional photographer there taking pictures. He promised me he'd send me some photos, but I haven't seen them yet. Plus, I hear that the wreck was caught on video from a distance. I havent' seen it yet, but will try to post it when I get a copy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Perils of Provo

Well, at least I made the hottie list. Obviously, I need to start looking less grumpy on the start line.

Did a recovery ride to Provo yesterday. I choose that route because it's a nice and flat and perfect for recovery. I hate riding in Provo. I don't think I've ever had a good experience riding there. After getting pushed off the road by a car turning right, getting honked and glared at for riding on the road, having a semi full of pigs ride over the white line toward me just to be funny, and having several people turn left in front of me, I decided to stop in at Racer's Cycle for a break. Had a nice little visit with Racer and Kyle before heading on my way home. Wouldn't you know it, but the very first car that passed me after my stop turned right just after it passed me, forcing me to slam on the brakes yet again. What is the problem with Provo drivers?

UVU crit tonight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lesson Learned

I thought I loved SugarHouse. But it's kinda hard to love it after what I've been through the last couple of days.

After my race on Saturday, I hung out for the rest of the day officiating the afternoon races. At some point between racing and eating lunch I hit the park's restroom. I had to touch a huge bolt in order to close the stall door. I never like touching things in public restrooms, so I was already a little grossed out. After leaving the stall, I went to wash my hands. Guess what? No soap. No paper towels. Hands dripping wet, I considered grabbing some toilet paper to pull open the door handle to get out of the restroom. But I reconsidered since my hands were so wet, and the paper would have just stuck to my hands like a bad kindergarten art project. So I proceeded to touch the gross door handle as well.

Back at the race, I checked my bag for some Purel. None. I made a mental note to get more and include it in my official's bag as I grabbed the food I had brought for lunch. I tried to brush Tyson's icky blog out of my mind as I proceeded to eat my lunch. I consoled myself that I was just being silly because what were the chances that I would get sick...I rarely get sick. It couldn't happen to ME. At least I rinsed off my hands, right?

48 hours later, in the middle of lunch at Jason's Deli, it hit me. At first I thought it must just be one of my food allergies. But it lasted too long and was too severe for that. Two days later, I'm still suffering from it a little bit.

Luckily the sickness waited until I was done with my fabulous Memorial Day ride. But I spent the rest of the holiday and the next day in serious pain.

The lesson to be learned here: always keep some hand sanitizer handy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Group Ride

You know you've had a fun ride when you're two and half hours into it and it only feels like you've been riding for a half an hour. That's how today's ride was for me.

Six people started the group ride in Orem at 6 a.m. It was a bit chilly and the roads were still just a little wet from the downpouring of rain we had last night.

We rode out to the base of the Traverse Ridge climb where the group split up. Two of the riders had to get back for another ride at 9 a.m., so they went up the climb on the south side.

The rest of us continued around the Point of the Mountain past Cabella's and into Draper. We stayed on Highland Road until turning up to ride past the Draper Temple. That is quite a climb! BDE told me it was it was going to hurt, and if he thinks it hurts, I knew it was going to be steep. Little did I know (glad I had BDE along to show me), the road past the temple takes you back to Traverse Ridge Road. I would have taken the group back down Highland and started at the base of the climb to Traverse. But taking the temple road put us nearly halfway up the Traverse climb. Cool.

Here is the group at the top of Traverse:

The descent off the south side of Traverse was the most fun I've had in a long time. It was also the first time I've not been the last one to the bottom. Yay! Alicia (a girl I met at the UVU crit last week, and who I had raced with at Bear Lake) told me that I was a fast descender. Nobody's ever told me that before. I've definitely lost my fear of descending! It felt really fast, so I was surprised to find that it was only two-tenths of a mile per hour faster than my top speed at the crit race on Saturday. We were flying at that crit.

Once we got back to Lindon we decided to do one more climb. We came up 2000 North in Orem. I told one of the guys (the one on the thirty-pound bike) that it was all downhill from the top. He retorted, "That's what you told me an hour ago!" Heehee! He really did do a great job keeping up with us the whole ride on his heavy bike. He's going to be a threat once he gets a lightweight bike.

I rode back to the starting point with the last couple of riders and felt like I could keep on riding. Three and a half hours was not enough for me. But I had a lunch date to get to, so I had to go home and get ready.

It has been a great Memorial Day!

55 miles in 3:28 with 2850 feet of climbing.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sugar House Crit

The Sugar House Crit is by far my favorite race. I was super excited for this race today.

Twenty-one Cat 4 and masters women lined up for a 30 minute race.

I led out the start of the race.

Sugar House Park is so beautiful.

Our group stayed together for most of the race. I felt really, really good. Better than I've ever felt at this race. The hills didn't feel like hills and at some points I wondered why we were taking it so easy.

With three laps to go I noticed that we had dropped about half the field, and it finally felt like we had started racing. I later found out that our group had been doing lap times faster or comparable to some of the men's fields. And I thought we were riding nice. I'm still wondering what I did to feel so great today.

With two laps to go two ladies went off the front and nobody bothered to chase. I was sitting too far in the back to do it, and I didn't want to burn myself out trying. I was still sitting near the back, maybe even on the back of the lead group when we came around to the finish. I should have moved up sooner. We sprinted for the finish and I managed to pass a couple of girls. My teammate Shanna and I came across the line together, with me just an inch behind her. Good job outsprinting me, Shanna!

I had a lot of fun! My only regret is that I didn't hear the man in the brown plaid shirt yelling at me to move up. If he ever comes out to watch me race again I will listen. Oh, and a big thanks to the UVU guys for coming out and cheering me on!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Baptism by Fire

Last night was the third weekly UVU crit series race. I was the official. The only official. For a brand new official, it was a bit nerve wracking.

Especially as the evening progressed.

The kids race was first. Biggest group of kids to show up yet: six of them. This race was cake to score since the field got strung out from the start line. Plus, the kids were just there to have fun with little worries about winning or losing. They were all really cute with their enthusiasm.

I stole the following picture of me officiating the kid's race from one of the kids' dad's blog.

Next up were the A/B flite racers. This field was smaller than usual this week. Only 11 racers. One dropped out early, deciding to race with the later C/D flite instead. Scoring ten, much faster, racers was a little more challenging, but not bad. They raced for 50 minutes. I heard several of the guys commenting on how different the race was this week without Sleevie there putting on the hurt. Only one guy came and asked me if I got him finishing where he thought he finished. My results were right on.

After the A/B racers were finished, the organizer came over and told me that the field size for the C/D flite was around 30 racers. What?!? I tried to keep myself calm as I imagined how I was going to pull off scoring that many racers all by myself. I considered splitting the field into two groups: a C flite and a separate D flite, but decided it would be better to keep them all together.

As the C/D flite lined up, I jokingly told them that it would be great if they could all organize themselves early on and stay in the same order for the whole race without any lapping going on. They didn't take me seriously. I also told them that on a race course this short they really didn't need their saddle bags, so about six or eight guys tossed their bags off to the side. I later found two forgotton saddle bags left on the grass. (So if you're reading this and you're missing your bag and need it before next week, contact Mason at 801-891-5275.) I counted 27 riders at the start line.

I was really hoping that the field would get strung out, but they managed to stay pretty bunched up for the most part with a lead group, some chasers, the main pack and a few who were dropped off the back. There was no way I could get every number written down every lap as they flew past me. These guys were holding the same lap times (around 1:15) as the guys in the A/B flite! Lucky for me, they were all good boys on the last lap, and they lined up nicely so I could write every number down. I only had a couple of results issues to deal with after this race: one rider disappeared so I only had 26 finishing (it would help a lot if riders would tell the officials they are leaving), and I had scored a couple of guys higher than they actually finished because I didn't see them get lapped. Luckily, this group hung around waiting for their results and were able to help me straighten it out, and I feel pretty good about the way the race was scored.

After the races were over I had a hard time calming down. It was pretty exciting to have the weight of keeping track of so many racers all by myself. I wish there was a way I could practice scoring without it being an actual race. I guess the best thing is just to keep showing up at the races to scorekeep when even when the job is not all on my head. My next officiating job is tomorrow after I race the Sugar House Crit. I'll stick around and officiate the afternoon races. Luckily, I'll have lots of other officials around at Sugar House. I'm determined to be one of the best officials, but it's going to take a lot of practice.

Officiating bike races is a lot of fun! Maybe not as fun as racing them, but still a thrill. I think I'll jump back into racer mode for next week's UVU crit.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This Kinda Made My Day

Yesterday I was walking past the local junior high when I heard a group of kids having the following conversation:

"Hey that's (so & so's) girlfriend."

"No, it isn't. She's, like, 30." I glaced over. Could they possibly be talking about me?

"That's (mumble, mumble's) mom."

"There is NO WAY that is someone's mom!"

And they continued to argue, loudly, about whether I was old (30) or young (someone's junior high girlfriend) as I walked out of hearing range.

Either way, if 30 is "old" I'll still take it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Alpine Loop

I have missed riding the Alpine Loop! I don't think I even did it at all last year. Bummer. It's a good ride.

I was feeling surprisingly good on this ride. I had just gone to the chiropractor, and was expecting to feel like crap while I rode. But I did great! I was riding with three guys and beat them all to Sundance. I was so far ahead that I was able to stop, get out my camera, turn it on and take some pictures of them coming up the climb.

After Sundance, I played a little game with one of the guys: he would pull way out ahead of me, I would chase and catch him, pass him and wait. Pretty soon he would pass me back up and pull way ahead again. We played this game several times before my lower back started to cramp and I backed off.

The gate above Aspen Grove was closed to vehicle traffic. It was great to be able to ride through all the switchbacks without having to worry about a car coming around on the other side. Too bad they're planning on opening the road to traffic this weekend.

(I threw the above picture in to remind me that I need to work on my tan.)

At the summit we decided that we were short on time, so we turned around and rode back down the Sundance side of the loop. I rode the brakes a little bit coming down since there were some trees in the road which had fallen during the last windstorm. Otherwise, the descent was fast and fabulous!

It was an awesome ride. Who can beat perfect weather, beautiful scenery, and feeling great? I even saw Sleevie climbing to the summit when I was on my way back down.

Tomorrows plans: teach a Spinning class, get a massage, and officiate the UVU crit.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where, Oh Where, Have My Strong Legs Gone

I realize that some of you are looking for a Bear Lake race report. Here it is in a nutshell: I didn't have the legs. It doesn't surprise me. I am still bruised from my wreck last month, and my legs have been incredibly tight ever since. Tight to the point of pain in the knees. I guess I'm in worse shape than I thought, and it was proved to me on Saturday. I felt great cardio-wise, but the legs just wouldn't work.

Now, I waffle between thinking that I should take it easy and let my body recover better, and thinking that I really need to get serious, get on my bike more, and train harder. What to do, what to do?

Hey, I think I know what I'll do! I think I'll go back to school and get my bachelor's degree. Yeah, that should fix everything. I just need to keep adding more stuff to my plate if I'm going to be truly happy....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Heads Up

Online registration for the Bear Lake Classic road race closes TODAY!!! (Not on Thursday, like most races.) Don't wait - unless you like paying the extra $10 and standing in line for day-of registration.
That's all for now....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Comedy of Errors

Instead of racing the State Champion Crit race yesterday, Dawn and I decided to go for a bike ride.

Pretty much everything went wrong.

  • When I got my bike off the rack, it had a rear flat tire. Too much glass on the crit course on Thursday evening I guess. I opted to change the wheel instead of using my last tube. This meant I had to change my brake pads too. No big deal. It was quicker than changing the tube anyway.
  • When I went to put the new wheel on, it got lodged in the chain somehow. I had to beat on it to get it to come loose, only to discover that I had knocked the chain off too. The chain hadn't come off in a nice way, and it took a lot of effort and frustration to get the stupid thing back on again. I was beginning to think maybe I should call the ride off.
  • Since the ride was starting 20 miles from my house, I loaded Rio into the trunk of my car and drove to the freeway. I was 10 minutes from my house when I realized I had forgotten to bring my bike shoes. Since I was already running late I didn't go back for them.
  • As I was unloading my bike from the trunk I dropped my Garmin on the pavement. It still works, but I can no longer see the screen.
  • Even though I had written out a ride route cue sheet, we still got lost. At some point we found the Jordon River Parkway trail, so we decided to follow it...right to a major construction project. We navigated around, and managed to find our way to our destination of Saratoga Springs.

  • After the ride I managed to curb my car's wheels. I hate that.
  • I also redamaged my right shoulder. It's never really had a chance to heal from my wreck and now it's angry again.
  • To make matters worse, I cracked a newly decorated birthday cake right down the middle of the cake.
I guess things could have been worse, but it sure seemed like everything was conspiring against me yesterday.

Friday, May 8, 2009

UVU Crit Racing

Nobody's ever said I'm not a total goofball when it comes to racing...especially crits. But when a crit series is brought to my end of the valley, darn right, I'm going to go support it!

I showed up to the race early so that I could watch the kids race. So cute! One especially cute little guy was out there on his tiny BMX bike giving it his all with his little legs a-flying. He had just learned to ride his bike a week earlier and had been excited to race it.

After the kids race, I had planned on warming up while the A/B flite raced. But as I was standing there a couple of things changed my mind. First, it was unclear whether there would be a C/D flite race later because it looked like there wasn't very many people there to race. Second, the only other girl who showed up, Christy from Intermountain Financial, encouraged me to come race the A/B flite with her. So I lined up with everyone else, not thinking about how long this race was going to last, or how fast it was going to get going.

The first lap was neutral, and it was fun to hang with the big boys, but as soon as we came to the start/finish line for the second lap I could hear them ramping up, WHOOSH, and they all took off. I was dropped in no time.

I rode around and around the course, alternating trying to find someone to catch and waiting to get lapped so I could TRY to catch back on with a group. But they were way too fast for me and I couldn't ever grab a wheel. Best Draft Ever (BDE) had come out and raced too, and his wheel was the wheel I tried to catch the hardest. After about 20 minutes of frustration (and getting lapped by BDE TWICE already), I was done. I pulled off the course and watched Holly, the ref, scorekeep. I figured that scorekeeping practice was a way better use of my time since I will be the ref at this race in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure where BDE ended up finishing, but when I first pulled out of the race, he was sitting in 4th place. Pretty impressive for a Cat 4. Christy was awe-inspiring to watch too. She looked strong and was able to catch and hold the wheels of the fast guys.

By the time the A/B flite was done, more people had showed up to race. So I lined up again and raced with the C/D flite. I fared much better in this group. I didn't even lose, even though I was the only female racer! The best part was that I was able to work with the group this time, and I even put in some good efforts to pass some of the guys. I'm not too sure some of them were thrilled with it.

I've found that one of my favorite pastimes is to walk up to someone I recognize from the blogging world and say "Hi, (insert name here)!" Then I like to stand back and watch the look on his or her face while they try to figure out where they know me from. It's quite entertaining. Such is the case with this guy last night:

I asked for a picture so that I could remember the night I got my butt kicked by Sleevie.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lest You Forget...

The UVU Crit series starts TONIGHT!!! Come support racing in the UC. After all, Survivor is hardly worth watching anymore....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Roadie Goes Off Road

I got today all backwards. I went for a massage in the morning and then went mountain biking in the afternoon. If I had only known how hard mountain biking was! What a workout!

Yep. It was my first ever mountain bike ride today. A group of nine met for a lunchtime ride, and I was the only one who had never done this before. So, of course we went on the most terrifying, technical trail we could find: The Race Course.

Actually, the gravel road up to the trail was fine. Nice wide road with some slippy slidey gravel to make things more entertaining. I was laughing and having a great time.

Then we got to the singletrack. At first I was okay with it because it reminded me of 'cross racing.

Maybe my head was just getting rattled from so much bumping around, but things were getting scarier. There were some steep downhill sections were I got off and walked. There were some uphill sections that I was sure I could have ridden had I had clipless pedals on my bike. I got off and walked. And there were steep sections where I wasn't the only one who got off and walked. It got to the point where the group would clap and cheer for me if I was riding the bike. Quite frankly, I was ready to chuck the stupid heavy bike and just jog along the trail. It probably would have been faster.

The scariest part for me came after we stopped climbing and turned around to come back. We had reached a dirt road that was way up high on the mountain overlooking the valley below. It was confirmed to me that if we kept following the road it would take me to the water tanks, and I would be just about home. Plus, following the road would have been the easy way down. But no matter how much I tried, nobody would go down the road with me. So I followed them back onto the singletrack.

It was then that I realized that they had taken me to the part of the trail that only ten minutes earlier I had pointed to and said, "Boy, I'm glad were not riding THAT trail!" THAT trail was on the edge of a cliff. If you fell off THAT trail, you would fall 200 feet straight down and then roll another 500 feet to the bottom. After my left pedal kept clipping the rocks and throwing me toward the cliff, I got off and walked. I wasn't laughing nor having such a good time anymore. The rest of the way down wasn't too bad, but I was sure relieved when we got back to the gravel road at the bottom.

I dunno...I still think I'd take the threat of cars to cliffs any day, but I have found a new respect for mountain bikers.

I need another massage.

Monday, May 4, 2009


So the UCA has put up the "results" from last weekend's race. Soooo not the same results that I looked at when I checked them at the race.

Not only did I get bumped down, but they have eliminated people from my field that I beat.

I was feeling really good about the way I performed in that race. Why should the way the results were uploaded make me feel any worse about the way I raced? I dunno. But it does. I've got to keep telling myself that points don't matter...points don't matter...points don't matter...

Deep breath...okay...feeling better again.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Antelope Island Road Race

When I started racing back in 2006, the race on Antelope Island was my very first road race. Back then, it was called the Buffalo Stampede. Being my first race, it automatically became my favorite. And, it is still my favorite race, even after yesterday's race. This year the name was different (now the Antelope Island Classic), the course was different, and the weather...well, every time I've raced this event the weather has been different.

In 2006 it was sunny and pleasant. I sucked and I lost. But I was hooked.

In 2007 it was gale force winds, blowing sand around like a sandblaster. It caused my asthma to kick in, and it was the only race I've ever DNF'd (did not finish).

In 2008 the race was canceled due to permitting problems.

So I was super stoked to see the Antelope Island race return to the calendar for 2009.

Course Description
The island consists of only a few roads that I am aware of: the 4-mile loop that goes around the visitor's center on the north end of the island, a road heading south to a restaurant that serves buffalo burgers, and the road to the ranch.

In the past the race has been held solely on the loop around the visitor's center. You did how ever many loops it took to get your specified race mileage. The Cat 4 women would do 8 loops to get 32 miles of racing.

This year the course started at the entrance to the causeway and crossed the causeway. At the end of the causeway, it turned right to loop counterclockwise around the island. The number of loops determined the total miles. Our group was told to do one lap. After the lap around the loop, we turned right onto Ranch Road and continued to the end where there was a u-turn. Then we came back on Ranch Road to the top of the final hill where the race finished.

My teammate, Dawn, and I had left our houses before sunrise in order to get to the race on time. We carpooled to the race in the driving rain. Our race started at 8 am. We got to the entrance of the causeway just after 7 am and were surprise to see that the parking lot was full and we had to park quite a way down the road. We got out of the warm, dry car, put on our raincoats and ducked under an umbrella to go pick up our race numbers. Once we had our numbers, we headed back to the car to unrack the bikes and go get warmed up for the race.

By the time we had our bikes ready, we were already quite soaked. We hopped on our bikes and took off down the causeway for a warm up. Most people spent their warm up time in their cars with the heater going. We didn't ride too far for fear of missing our start time. It wasn't long before we were swimming in our clothes. Dawn told me that it felt just like SCUBA diving: you have all your gear on, but you still get sopping wet. I had worn my "waterproof" shoe covers, but even before we were done warming up I could feel the water sloshing around in my shoes. The faster I spun, the more I could feel it in there whirring around. It was kinda a cool feeling...not something you get to experience every day.

The race
We got back and realized that everyone was lined up. To save time (and because it wasn't a very big group anyway), the organizers had put the juniors and the masters women in our group. We pulled up to the start line and heard the instructions from the official. Then she blew the whistle and said something like, "Stay neutral until the..." That's all I heard. I think that's all anyone heard because the race stayed at super slow speed for at least a half a mile down the road. It was like nobody was in the mood to race. Then one of the little junior boys pulled to the front, and I decided I had had enough. I went around and drove the pace up to a reasonable race speed. I liked it better up front anyway...not so much road water flying off the wheel in front of me and into my face. I had my sunglasses on and, while they helped keep water out of my eyes, they were pretty useless for me to see anything. They were off by the time we started up the first climb going into the 4-mile loop.

The pace of the race stayed pretty mild until we got halfway around the loop to a mild climb before the descent to the turn to Ranch Road. Then one of the girls attacked and two of us chased. I couldn't stay with the two race leaders and was sitting in third place for a while before three other ladies caught me. I tried to get them to work with me to form a chase group, but each of them wanted to solo to close the gap, and no one would work together. Two of them finally managed to bridge the gap and the other one slowly pulled away from me. We stayed this way for most of the rest of the race: four leaders up front with one (or was it two? My memory is about as foggy as my sunglasses were) chasing them, then me and whoever was behind me.

After turning onto Ranch Road, I was pleasantly surprised to see the finish line. I knew that all I had left was to make it to the turn around spot and come back. Little did I realize how far out the turn around was. (Note to promoter: a map of the course with mile marker cues would have been mighty helpful for us to know what to expect.) It seemed like forever before I finally made it to the turnaround. I wasn't racing with a bike computer, but I've been told it was 10-12 miles out to the turnaround. The winds had really picked up and were driving the pouring rain hard into my right side. Up the road I could see the wheel car following the race leaders, and I kept thinking that at any time I would see them turn around and head back. At least I knew what to expect - a long road back - on the return to the finish.

I slowed way too much on the turn around (I need to work on U-turns), and started my way back. I could see Melanie coming up the climb to the turnaround like a beast. She was out of saddle and working it. I knew if I didn't keep my pace up, I would get caught by her. I've raced enough with her to know that she is strong enough to catch the pack if she gets dropped. So far, I was impressed with myself that I was still ahead of her. But I couldn't let myself think for a minute that I had her beat. I needed to keep focusing on what I needed to do to stay ahead.

Focus. Once I turned around, I kinda forgot that I was racing. It was taking a lot of self talk to get myself to focus on racing. I thought about how cold I was getting. After I turned around and started heading north again the winds were hitting me on my left side. I felt even colder because my left side had been protected from the wind up to this point. I thought about what I would write in my blog: "Stop blogging and race!". I thought about how well nourished the dark brown worms I kept running over looked. I started trying to dodge the worms. "Stop looking at the worms and race!" Then I noticed that one of the race leaders was on the side of the road with a flat. Where had the wheel car gone? Why hadn't it stopped for her? "Stop worrying about HER and race!" Soon, I was caught by Melanie and another girl in a light turquoise jacket. The girl who flatted pulled up along side of us and asked if anyone had a hand pump. Then she dropped us all. She continued to pull over, use her CO2 cartridge, and drop us. (I think she ended up taking 2nd place regardless of the!) I focused on holding a wheel and grumbled about having to have road water sprayed in my face again. The three of us worked together for a while before the turquoise girl attacked. I tried to stay with her, but she had lit the afterburners, and I couldn't keep up. She slowed on the last big climb to the finish, and I was motivated to try to catch her. I managed to pick up the pace and I was gaining on her. If the race had been just a little longer, I think I could have beat her. Melanie came in right behind me.

After I crossed the finish line, I kept riding. It was 9-10 miles back to my car. As I headed back, I was surprised to see Dawn just coming onto Ranch Road. She smiled and waved. In my mind I was thinking about how far she still had to go. Little did I know at the time, but she had "decided" that 32 miles wasn't studly enough for a race, and did three extra laps on the 4-mile loop. She ended up with 54 miles of racing.

With the race over, I backed off on my effort, and on the way back to my car I started shivering and my muscles were tensed up from the cold. I wasn't putting in enough effort anymore to keep myself warm. The winds were even worse by then, adding to the misery. I didn't think I would ever make it to my car. I could see the end of the causeway, but it seemed like I was on a treadmill, and I wasn't going anywhere. By the time I got to my car I was so shaky that I could hardly get my key in the lock. I got in the car and looked in the mirror to see an unfamiliar face with blue lips. I hurried as fast as I could to change into dry clothes and warm up with the car heater blasting. My legs were still cold three hours later as I was driving home.

The Results
My race had been over for an hour and a half before the results were finally posted. Melanie had gotten tired of waiting and had left. She had asked me to make sure that her results looked good. So when I saw that they had given her a DNS (did not start) I questioned it. Dirk from SBO had posted the results, so I asked about the DNS. He got right in my face, told me to shut up and said that if I can't register my chip properly it was my own fault. I told him that I was asking for someone else, and told him that I had witnessed her racing and finishing. Once again right in my face, he told me that I wasn't allowed to protest for someone else, and that if I wanted to know more about the rules I should talk to an official. I reminded him that I was an official. Then he skulked off. I wish I would have added that: 1) I wasn't protesting, I was asking a question. 2) People are allowed to ask questions, and as humans deserve to be treated with respect. 3) As an official I was giving him information about what I had seen happen during the race. 4) If he can't get chip registration right, that's his problem, not mine. Apparently he's too busy and important to spend time making corrections for any of us "insignificant" racers who pay his living.

I got home and hauled in all my wet clothes. I'm guessing that the bag weighed 30 to 40 pounds! That doesn't include my shoes. Yep, I hauled around at least 30 extra pounds of weight during the race.

Another interesting fact I noted was that I didn't take one drink from my water bottle the entire race. I didn't need it. I was breathing water and licking it off my lips as it constantly ran into my mouth.

I'm happy with the way the race turned out for me. I'm still trying to figure out what made this race a "good" race. It certainly wasn't the weather. It may be that I felt strong and capable and was able to hold onto the lead pack longer and finish shortly behind them. I still finished mid-pack, but I feel good about it this time.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More to Come...

I got on the computer with the intention of blogging about the Antelope Island race today, but my eyes hurt from all the rain and my body wants to go get in bed.

Short story...I'm happy & I didn't die of hypothermia.

I'll write more about it tomorrow...