Thursday, May 04, 2006

Julie's First Report- Madera

by Julie

I have raced twice as a Bella but have kept a low profile. This was my first opportunity to get to know the girls and I must say, I was very impressed. Everyone was so encouraging and helpful. I felt very "included" and it was a fantastic experience.

On to the race: I drove down with Kim Heiser who is a wealth of knowledge. I listened and watched very carefully for every trick, skill, training plan, routine, or nugget of information I could ascertain. I hit the jackpot!

I have only done three Crits in my short cycling life but this one will go down in my memory. It was a large combined group of 39 women. I stayed with the group, kept my eyes open for an opportunity and took it on the last turn for the finish line. I turned on the inside and sprinted for the finish. It worked and I got 2nd place. After my heart attack was over I got myself together for the next round.

The TT course was a loop with a nasty head wind on the second turn. I left my HR monitor at home (what else is new) so I had to wing it. I took it easy for the first 5 minutes then picked it up. I felt steady but that head wind was a motivation buster. I used my "firmly mounted" time trial bars and did not come out of the position once. That was a goal for me.

The Road Race for Cat 4 started at 11:40. By that time, I wanted to be sipping Margi's with my feet up but, there was a three way tie for first place going into the RR. Two Bellas and a CVC gal.

Heidi and I talked about a plan but she had to pee within the first 15 minutes. She stopped (and humored the guy on the motor cycle so much he passed by two or three times) and those lead girls took the opportunity to hammer it on the rough stuff. That was tough.

After the breakaway it was down to just Soni and me. We held strong to the finish but I was fading fast. It is amazing how 20 feet can be the difference between 2nd and 7th. This was the first time I was ever with the lead group at the finish line. I learned a lot. I ended up 3rd in the GC.

The experience of being part of the team and camaraderie among everyone was the best part of the weekend. It was such a positive experience. Thank you all for providing me such a wonderful opportunity.


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