Monday, February 22, 2010

Still Learning

Saturday night was FTC night... I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

Started off with some yummy corn & avocado salad stuffed red peppers...

Followed by some Filet sliders w/ aged cheddar, applewood bacon, & roasted potatoes

Not to be outdone of course by some chocolate lava cake with red chocolate sauce & a strawberry on top!

Now that my friends... is a great post-bad race meal... and some super yummy protein and carbs for pre-race day dinner!

Sunday I tried to sleep in... anything I could possibly due to give my muscles more time off to recover!  Alas, 7:15 and there was no more sleep time for me.  I fixed my first breakfast... drank lots of water... fixed my second breakfast... drank lots of water, glass of OJ, glass of airborne... some fruit... a snack... it's time to roll!

As I was heading out the door, coach calls: "I'm not racing today"... me: "What?!?"... There was a pretty big crash in the Men's Cat 5 34 & under race and a friend of ours went to the hospital.  Thankfully he's okay but at the time of the crash we didn't know that.  So... as my coach is training me... I'm going to help her as well and we're going to do a mini bike skills grass clinic in the not too distant future.  Finally, I headed out to the course to get ready!

My legs were tired but I really like riding on the BMW Performance Driving course. Why?
1 - Consistency - there are no hills and no pot holes.  It's a smooth consistent track and we don't have many of those!
2 - Traffic - it's a closed course, so there is no traffic.  The only thing to throw you off is the wind, the other racers, and the corners which are just slightly banked meaning you don't even have to slow down for them.
3 - View - you can see the entire course.  This makes it better as a racer to see where everyone on the course is... and for spectators to not get bored waiting for us to loop around again.
4 - Quick - because of the speeds, the time flies by.  Next thing you know the officials are ringing the bell and you've got 1 lap to go!  We averaged over 20 mph during the race..

Again, thankfully they started the Cat 4 women separate from the rest of the women.  We started to ride and I was feeling pretty good.  Stayed around 3 wheels back for most of the race... Sometimes we'd have 3-4 people up front pulling, but mostly 1-2.  People would try to sprint through turns 1 & 2 and create a breakaway... only to slow down again on the back straightaway.  Turns 3 & 4 the tempo would increase just slightly, and for some reason everyone would sprint back to the start/finish... only to go back through the same motions as before.  It's like an accordion.

As the race progressed the sprints started to pick up going into turn 1... only to be reigned back in on the straightaways.  We definitely had a couple riders who many of us tried to avoid.  There's nothing scarier than going fast around a curve with shakey handlebars next to your own.  Thankfully I found some great girls who really knew how to hold their line and tried to stick with them around the turns.

Props to Jimmy Helms for this awesome action shot! 

With maybe 2 or 3 laps to go, coming into turns 3 & 4 I saw more shakey handelbars in front of me.  There was some bumping and bouncing off of one another but thankfully nothing happened there... However, as we came up to the front straight away the girl directly in front of me started to bounce off the girl on her right... I backed off some and next thing you know she's leaning so far over that I knew she wouldn't make it upright again.  She went down along w/ the two people to her right and her wheels were now in the air directly in front of me.  Some how as they fell back to the ground it left me just enough room to slip by.  I started sprinting as I noticed one of the officials running toward the crash that I was fleeing.  This left us with 8 people in the lead group going forward.

We got back together but only for 1 more lap.  On the last lap there was a four person break and I was not in it.  But I was with 3 other girls, one of whom was a teammate.  We tried to pace line it but I couldn't make my way around to the front.  As we came around to the finish line I sprinted out ahead of them and right as I was approaching the line, another girl came up to grab 5th.

I was extremely happy with how I rode this race... and even happier that both my teammate and I escaped the crash.  As her husband mentioned, if the other girl's wheels had come down 1" to the left... we would have both gone down!

Sunday's experience was a very good one.  It emphasized the need to be completely aware of your surroundings when racing.  If I hadn't been paying attention to what was going on and especially aware of other riders tendencies who knows what the outcome would have been.  Here's to racing another day!!


  1. Great Job Nikki! Glad you had a good race on Sunday.


  2. Holy Cow!!! Be careful out there! I'll be cheering for you and your team!:-) lots of love from Boston!

  3. I think it was the FTC that nailed your recovery and set the stage for Sunday. GO NIKKI!!!

    I said it once....but this weekend was just perfect!