Monday, February 22, 2010

Learning Experiences

Wow... what a weekend... Race... FTC... Race... Sleep!

I'll just skip over the first race and move directly to race two... Okay, so maybe not, but I'd like to!!  Mornings are not my thing... So when a race, ride, or anything physical requires me to get going early in the morning... I'm not always at my best..

Growing up playing team sports that typically occur in the afternoon set me up for this approach to athletics.  Especially concerning Basketball where the majority of our games were in the evening.  I can go out there for hour upon hour of hard exercise and not back down.  But cycling... ooooh cycling... it requires me to wake up at un-godly hours to compete.

Saturday morning my race stated at 9:06... Up around 6 am, fueled my body and aade it to the race site before 8.  Was ready to ride a practice lap by 8:15... however a teammate needed to cut the lap short so I went back to the start/finish with her.  Changed my rear skewer, jumped on the trainer and tried to warm my legs up.  Off the trainer, changed skewer back, and headed to the starting line with a banana in hand.  Downed it, tossed my extra bottle to the hubby and was ready to go.  Felt pretty good... was tired but thought I could hang.

**Thanks to the Greenville Spring Training Series organizers and Team Metro donating some $$, the Cat 4 Women will race in their own races throughout the GSTS and have their own prize pool for the overall series.  For the most part, all the guys race in their own specific categories or age groups.  However the Women are all thrown together.  So on Saturday we had some Cat-1 women there (ie: really strong and fast) down to Cat-4 (new to racing & even new to riding in some cases).  When the race starts and you're trying to keep up with the women in the pack... you don't know who the other women are and can easily blow yourself up trying to hang with someone in a higher category.  So this separation makes a HUGE difference.

On that note, we were all pretty excited and ready to go.  Many of my teammates were there and we started off strong.  There was some new blood as evidenced by the shakey handlebars and lines of some.  We kept yelling, "hold your line" but you can't make up for someone's lack of experience in a tight pack / race situation.  After all, I had only raced in 4 events leading up to Saturday.

About 1/2 way into the first of 3 laps, I started feeling sluggish... I kept looking down thinking I had a flat or a leak... but everything was fine... and the pack started to drift away from me.  Over the course of the next hour... many positive and negative thoughts ran through my head.  "What is wrong with me?"... "Everyone will laugh at me?"... "Why am I so slow?"... If you recall I did some practice runs on this course averaging over 18 mph not 2 days before... and now I was happy to get up to 15 mph.  Finished my first lap and couldn't look at any of my friends at the start/finish line.  I just had to keep going.  Through each lap I thought I heard a noise and each time I looked down my rear tire was full. I hit some major lows during that ride but just told myself... I have to finish.  After all, when coach asked what my goals were for Saturday's race... the answer was... FINISH.  Last year I was really sick and couldn't finish, so this year, that was my goal.

Despite some squirrelly riding by a couple a girls (including some elbowing and inappropriate comments) there were no mishaps and everyone finished the race.  My teammates all did a great job and finished either in the first or second pack.  I was super proud for each of the girls that came out and raced.  Even more proud of them for kickin' it hard and delivering Heather to a 4th place finish.

One of my teammates who was not racing jumped on her bike and went out to find me and help pull me to the finish line.  What an angel!!  She found me with about 2 miles to go and helped me mentally and physically to the finish.  I pulled up to the line at the end of my 3rd lap dead last.  I was frustrated, angry, embarrassed, and completely exhausted.  The pack ended up averaging over 18 for the race and my average? 14.5.  Everyone was very supportive and my teammates thought I had a mechanical (bike speak for a flat, or other problem w/ the bike).  Coach made sure I got some protein in me along with a recovery drink, and the hubby grabbed my stuff and immediately put everything away.  I hung out some with my teammates then headed home.

As I carried my bike into the house, the rear wheel wasn't moving... I reached down to spin it and due to some kind of resistance it didn't move much.  Looking down I could see one of the brake pads was against the rim.  No matter how much I tried to adjust the brake, I couldn't release the pad.  Finally I reached down... unlocked the skewer... shook the wheel and it went right into place.  The brake pad was no longer touching and the wheel spun freely.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry... It's like I was driving with my emergency brake partially engaged! Could this have been what held me back?

I talked to my coach later in the day and we talked about how tired my legs were during the race.  Not once did I red line my heart rate... didn't have any lactic acid build up in my muscles... I just couldn't go.  We talked about nutrition before, during, and after, as well as during the week... (I forgot to mention the whole brake pad incident).  I'm not recovering from the workouts quick enough so we agreed - more protein in my diet and more meals throughout the day!  Many lessons learned on this day - #1 Never give up, #2 Nutrition Nutrition Nutrition, #3 Pre-race bike inspection!!!

More to come about the FTC and Race #2 later.  But here's a sneak peak:


  1. Ok, so last year, I was dead last and swore I would not race again in the Spring Series - or until Cat.4's are separated. I easily hang with the B's at Donaldson on Tuesdays but racing with Cat.1 women is a different world. Be proud! You did fine and now have even more races under your belt.

  2. I think you did great. Sometimes the legs are just dead. Sunday proved that you are getting stronger and smarter!

    What a busy, fitness packed weekend.

    FTC made it perfect. Thanks for having us!