All night I repeated a mantra to myself - and envisioned myself staying with the pack on the circuit course. It was hard to get dinner down - my endorphins and adrenaline were buzzing all night.
After scouting the next day's course, Chris and I headed to the hospital to check on HB teammates Jake and Michael. They were involved in a horrendous crash in the 4/5 field, seeing 20 guys go down, hospitalizing 8 riders and rumor has it breaking 3 to 4 collar bones. Miraculously no one was seriously injured - despite crashing on the 38 mph descent after the hill, which is actually pretty impressive. Thinking about rolling around on the chip seal dressed in spandex and the nasty road rash is not my idea of a good time. Fast healing thoughts go out to all of those involved.
That night we drove Maggie down to the Memloose State Park, 11 miles West of the Dalles and were lullaby-ed to sleep by the constant drone of the freeway and occasional train rumbling the van awake in the middle of the night. Not to mention Makiah was moaning and whining all night - to be let out and then to start whining again later that night. I remember waking up to hear her ralphing and thought maybe I had caught it in time... only to find out later that morning she had yakked all over Chris's sleeping bag and everything else on the floor. And she had some how rolled in it. Sweet. Dog puke. And rain. And wind. Mother nature had decided to show back up and punish us for having such nice weather on Friday.
The winds continued blowing a gale all day - but thankfully the rain decided to hold off from the start point of the course (appropriately named Dry Hollow). Chris set off to race with the Masters 40+, which contained multiple world and national champions. Had he known how competitive of a field he was going to be in (he's had 5 races under his belt) - there is no way he would have signed up. Instead he dutifully made his way to the back and then rolled all of the courses - but finished every single stage. His misadventures include: being crop dusted on stage one; being physically shoved off a wheel from a guy who had flatted in stage one and shoving him back (Kierin practice!); being chased by rabid dogs on stage two; having to stop to take a tumble weed out of his cranks; missing his TT start time by a minute 30 seconds.... All in all a very eventful yet uneventful in terms of bodily harm outing. Oh, and did I mention the dog puke sleeping bag? Yet throughout it all he still kept a smile on his face and good humor.
This is the second year for the Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic - and classic it is. Instead of including the mother load 7 mile hill, Chad decided to mix it up a bit and throw in a circuit race. The guys had a big loop containing an unpaved section that they had to do 2-3 times (depending on the category) and then finished on the short loop (3-4 times). Us ladies were given only the short loop option that we had to complete 8 times. EIGHT TIMES!!! Not a big deal except each loop contained roughly 900 feet of elevation gain - giving us about 7,200 feet of climbing. Luckily I hadn't figured out those calculations until after the race was over... otherwise I'm sure my off the back time would have been much, much worse.
First time up the hill - Tricia punches it. I get on her wheel. I find my heart rate through the roof and by the time we hit the second hill, I'm seeing the red zone and know I'm in trouble. Unfortunately the descent is windy and technical especially with side winds and deep dish wheels. By the time we reach the second loop, I pop like an over sized pimple and watch helplessly as the lead group gallops away. Thankfully Christine and I were near one another and do the remaining laps together. She paces me on the uphill, I pace her on the downhill. We roll in 16 minutes down. Ouch. The thing that kept me going? Time suffering now is money in the bank. Money in the bank come October....
That night I felt destroyed. D.E.S.T.R.O.Y.E.D. Thankfully the coach called me back before bed and we talked strategy for the time trial and crit - both of which I was ready to sand bag so I could just call it a day. But no - she wants me to attack them as if I was in the lead and put in the solid training work. I get my mojo back and fall into a deep slumber, seeing myself TT onto the podium.....
Stage Three to be continued.