Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Good Start

I'm really glad I decided to race today. Even though the day started out disorganized, frustrating and disturbing, I forgot about my crappy morning as soon as I got out on the course. It started with quite a big hill. I situated myself at the back of the beginner pack and concentrated on methodically working my way up the hill. Despite my upsetting morning and how tired I was last night, I felt pretty strong. I did feel a bit underdressed and my fingers were freezing.

It was a gorgeous day, even though it was only about 30 degrees. The wind was chilly, but the sun was shining. I rode the first couple miles with a big grin on my face. Unlike during most of my other races, I could still see a bunch of people in front of me. They didn't seem to be pulling too far away.
The first section was gravel roads. After that, we turned onto some "two track." (These really aren't unnecessary, this barely qualified as two track.)This section was in horrible shape, with large, deep, sandy sections mucking up our progress. Along with everyone else around me, I attempted to ride each section, but ended up walking out of it.

Remarkably, though, I wasn't walking any of the hills. I was just plugging away at them, quite slowly. At some point, I realized I was actually passing people. Weird.

When we got back out onto the gravel roads, I increased my speed. Many people were walking the hills and I just slowly and steadily powered past them. I kept passing people. As I got near the beginning of the pack I was in (the beginner leaders were too far off to see), I passed a couple riders on hills and got passed back by them. I was going down the hills at pretty good clip, though, even those that seemed sketchy. I realized pretty early in the race that I was going to need all the momentum I could get to finish, so I had just better go down the hills as fast as I could stand to.

I blew by the aid station. I still felt pretty good. Finally, I passed the couple of riders in the second wave again. I did not want them to catch me, so I increased my speed and hoped that the race would be over before they caught me again. I began to widen the gap. When I hit the last couple of miles, which happened to be a paved stretch, I started really hauling ass (for me). I was really getting tired. My feet were hurting. But I just didn't want to quit and I didn't want to get passed, so I kept riding as hard as I could.

When I finally hit the finish line I felt a vast amount of relief. I also had a realization. So maybe I'm not an expert rider. I'm not even a sport rider. But I do have a killer instinct. For the first time in a race I actually dug as deep as I felt I could. I stopped thinking about just being able to finish and started looking for results.

I was really pleased with my performance. I ended up getting first in Beg. Women 35+ (as you can see). There were only two women in my class, but that didn't really bother me. I actually ended up beating all the beginner women (I think 5 total) and 18 beginner men. So that's what it feels like to actually race.

I know this post sounds really bad and that I sound like I'm bragging, but I'm just so excited to race and not totally suck, I don't know how else to express it.


Bradly said...

Congratulations! Great job on getting the first win for On2Wheels.

Ali B. said...

Yay!!! Nice to have a solid performance right at the start of the season! Way to go! I think my fingers would have been cold no matter what... always seems to take me 20ish minutes to work that out. ugh.

Anne said...

Super! Congrats to you on a focused race. Way to do it.

Laurie said...

Great job, Andrea! That's fantastic!

Jake said...

Congratulations! After that all the rest of the races should seem easy. You just put in more mileage and climbing than on any of the CPS races for the year.

Oh and I hope you found Chris :)

Monica said...

What an awesome result & a great story, Andrea ! I'm glad all your dedication over the winter has paid off with an early season win....and on a very tough course, too. I bet there are many more wins to come :)

jillcobb said...

Congratulations Andrea! ;) Hope Chris got a victory shot!

inasnit said...

You totally deserve to brag. That is fantastic!

CJA said...

Brag On! With the work you have put in and the drive to not give in you deserve to tell the World how you did. Besides you may even motivate someone else to follow your lead. Congratulations!

Danielle said...

Brag away! I just saw the results. You should be really proud. That's a GREAT way to start the season!!!

Are you doing Yankee? I might be going down there again within the next week or so. Let me know if you are interested in meeting up and doing a lap. I know all of the secret lines now :-)