Apples are what Wenatchee is best known for - but it's also the location of the WA state stage race omnium (read hilly ass kicking course). I had a good time this weekend - even though I didn't have the best results... but that's not what cycling is always about, is it?
I ended up hooking up with host housing - and stayed with a very nice family, the Clerc's. The father, Christian races in the masters category although he recently took a tumble resulting in a broken collarbone. His wife, Allison is a body builder. She's stacked! Very into fitness and nutrition - it's inspiring really. They have two boys - one was out of town, so I got to sleep in his room filled with sports trophies - actually the whole house was filled with trophies.
The morning of the TT I was super nervous. Luckily I parked next to Jill and Sjla (pronouced Shelia) - and we had a good laugh about me ALMOST taking a tumble on the rollers.
Notice me precariously perched next to my open trunk. Not such a good idea.
Jill and Sjla laughing about it - as everyone else in the parking lot was expecting it.....
But I held it together and moved next to Jill's ride for a sturdy wall.
The TT itself - well, it was ok. Actually I'm not really happy with my performance. It was a 9.14 mile rolling course - with a serious headwind on the way back. I knocked over 2 minutes off my time from last year - 24.44 - but had a hard time putting out consistant power. New bike - different fit, adequate warm up... contributors for sure. But I will say when I passed the finish line I felt like barfing. So that's a good sign that I layed it all out in the finish - but what happened in the inbetween time? We may never know. :) I got 11th - 10 seconds shy of omnium points!!!
Our crit started at 6 that night - and I felt really good. My legs had snap in them ... my warm up was perfect. It's a four corner course with really bad roads, but that adds to the danger and fun of crits. The final corner is a mad dash ... and unfortunately I got pinched in the corner. So basically my finish was from a standing start from the corner... and I beat out all but 4 women. Not bad considering over 25 started. I'm still working on the crucial positioning in the final two laps... as soon as I get that down I'll start winning some stinkin' races. It's frustrating because I know I can do better - but I keep making this stupid mistakes. I knew better than to take the inside line too.... I had been pinched there earlier. Oh well. I got 5th - and points toward the Omnium.
That night Sjla invited me to stay in her hotel room since Jill was headed out to Moses Lake for Mother's day with her family. I was happy to do it - she's great energy and always looks at the positive side of things. She said something to me about hills - she said, maybe, just maybe, I don't know how I'll do on the hills because I haven't been given the opportunity to practice them enough. Well put - that's looking at it in a positive light. And she's right - I need to work on my weaknesses.
Our RR didn't start until 1... so it was HOT. The course is basically a 13 mile hill - determining right away the climbers from the non-climbers. I was shelled within 1/2 mile of the start of the hill - and was actually DFL... but I finished the course. I guess it's the determination in me, not wanting to give up. Telling myself it's for fitness and practice to climb those monster hills. I found that whenever I would stand up I would sap more energy when I sat back down. Then it would take a few minutes for my legs to recover ... so staying consistant is key. I will work on that.
Here's a pic - courtesy of Amara - of me riding into the finish. Notice the smile? It's because I'm doing what I love and although I came in LAST - it won't always be that way. Attitude is everything and as I always say, a champion is made a day at a time.
On a side note - Lisa Dunwald came up to me after the race and was very encouraging. She won the GC competition - and is a kick ass cyclist. She said it's a process, don't get discouraged. Just keep at it... you're improving leaps and bounds and it's hard to remember that sometimes. It was extremely gracious of her to say that and I am very thankful for it.