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Sunday, June 06, 2004

ICC Dash for Cash Race Report

ICCC Dash for Cash
June 5, 2004
Sunny, about 70ish with a slight breeze
Course was a simple 0.9 mile 4 corner crit, totally flat with two longer sides (start/finish on one) and two short sides. Fairly long sprint from corner 4

CAT 4: Shaun, Denise, Norma, Lorri, Cayce, Kim Perez, Holly
CAT 3: Lori and Susan

Other Teams: McGuire (4), Velo Bella (2), Left coast, Village Peddler (solo), Cal, and some other people, but no other teams of 2 or more

Format of race: Each lap the first person across the line got $10,
plus there were some primes for the 2nd person on some laps.

I came into this race after having a not-so-great week (physically and emotionally) and after getting popped at Memorial Day (where I expected to hang) my confidence was flagging. When I awoke, I actually considered not racing. Between my breathing issues and my now almost full-body joint pain, I’d barely been on the bike all week. But, Kim Perez’ voice rang true in my head (“just start”), so I finished loading the car and headed for beautiful Pleasanton.

As a coach, I was thrilled with our team for the day. Shaun was primed and mentally ready to win this race. We’d been preparing for this race for a while now, and the team was ready to support her. As I checked in with all the racers in the morning, everyone seemed to be feeling good and ready to work for the team. I knew if the team raced smart that Shaun would win.

As we did our warm-up, I felt good (most warm-ups I don’t feel ready) and the team energy was very exciting.

At the start, I jumped and found a good position into turn one, but I need to be more assertive to stay in good position. Pulled at the front on a couple of occasions, but also drifted back into a position I don’t like too many times. At one point, Jen Whatley (mentor from LGBRC) was near me and I said to her “I’m in exactly the position I hate” and she said “then move up.” So I did, but after riding in the back with women who have no skills I had lost my confidence in the corners.

So much of crit racing is mental for me. I’ve been nestled nicely in the pack, in the front, at the back, off the back, and my confidence is definitely affected by who else is there. And I’m a bit intimidated about being at the front because I don’t feel like my skills are as good as some racers and I don’t think it’s fair for me to be up front and screw up other racers’ lines. Whenever I’m up front or near the front, I hear one of my teammate’s voice in my head. She frequently criticizes other racers for their lack of cornering skills and I realize that she’s criticizing me as well. And, of course, the more I think about this, the worse my skills get. The mind is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

Anyways, after spending probably 2/3 of the race near the back of the pack (where you work so much harder to stick with the pack), I was feeling pretty wasted for the finish. With about 3 to go, I saw the little McGuire train moving up on the right and hollered out for all to hear. I moved up and positioned myself between their two lead riders and the other two and then slowed a bit at the corner in an attempt to break them up a bit. It worked and they moved back in the pack to regroup. With two to go, I could see almost the entire Velo Girls team at the front and the Velo Girls train moving into position. And then McGuire hopped on the back of the train and in my mind I was pissed to think they might screw us by sitting on our leadout.

The pace on the last two laps really picked up, and after turn two on the last lap, the pack was totally stringing out with the Velo Girls train still chugging along at the front opening up a bit of a gap. Yippee! My max for the day was 26.9mph and I assume it was at the point I popped off the pack – way to go girls!!!

You know a leadout is effective when the pace picks up enough to keep everyone else away. So, this was a textbook leadout – congratulations! As I rounded the final turn, it was clear that I had nothing left so I just sat up and waited for Cayce (who started that beautiful train) so we could ride across the line together.

Lessons learned:

1. The longer I sit at the back of the pack, the more intimidated I am about being at the front. Sounds kinda Yogi Bara, but what I mean is that I feel good about my skills until I sit at the back where other racers are breaking, taking crappy lines, and swerving across the road in their corners. Because I have to respond to this, when I then move to the front, I still find myself responding and losing ground in the corners.

2. I have a stupid habit of shifting into a harder gear before entering a turn. I think it’s because it feels more stable pedaling through the corner with more resistance, but this also slows me down. Need to shift into an easier gear so I can spin at a higher cadence and maintain my position through the corner.

3. As a teammate (racer) without a lot to contribute to the team at this point, I definitely feel bittersweet when the contributors on the team talk about a race being a total team effort. I can only imagine there are others on the team who feel the way I do, so this is something I (coach) need to be aware of when working with those women.

Race Stats: 0:43:34 (included about 4 minutes of cool-down) -- 15.5 miles -- 21.5mph average -- 26.9mph max -- avg hr = 188 -- max hr = 238 (Not knowing how long my max was picking up someone/thing else, I certainly don't think this average is correct either).


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