Monday, July 17, 2006

Cougar Crit Prom Women/Men Race Report

by Lula

Yes, you did read it right.
It was a combined field: PRO 1/2 MEN & PRO 1/2/3 WOMEN; isn't it lovely?!


My Placing: 6th

First of all, when I showed up at the Infineon Raceway I saw right away the "Kona-Schwalbe" tent and I knew where my first stop would be.

After a "little" chat with Jed and the guys I went to registration and there I learned that there were only 6 women registered: 4 Proman, 1 Webcor and me :) And I said: Grrrrrreat! Meaning, no surprise here as even Casey once said: I "choose the races that do not have enough racers to count for upgrading points". Oh well...

Anyways, at my car getting ready Yana (Proman) told me that they delayed our race about 1/2hr and no point warming up now. Then, she came once again and said that and we would start right after the Pro 1/2 Men field - so I stopped warming up AGAIN. Later, she came again, with more bad news, saying that we would start with the Pro Men field @ 4:15PM. I laughed...

I decided to rear that myself and at registration I did also learned that our field had grown from 6 to 12, including Kendra Wenzel and Brenda Lyons (Victory). Yeahhhh!!! I was happy because the reason I chose this race was because I wanted to have a hard/fast pace race and last year lots of great racers appeared. And this year I got more, I would race with the Pro 1/2 Men. God has really been leasing my prayers.

At that point, I was almost feeling like recruiting more riders around to make up the 20 racers needed for upgrading points - Hey, you! Do you have a road bike? Let's ride! But wait a minute, since we raced with the guys we did have more than 20 racers, right?!

Anyhow, at the race, the pace started easy for a couple seconds and was a battle to save your life! Fast, fast, fast. There were about 25-30 of us, including the guys. The race had no primes and only 2 real turns: it starts with a small right/left on a descend, a short straight line, a U turn to the right (just like Fremont Crit), and big straight line with a HUGE cross wind pushing everyone into the wall, and 1 big right turn back to the start/finish line. A fast and very technical track.

The guys went up front and pushed the pace and we all followed. Attacks and counter attacks later, and I got dropped; just like Jed said it would happen; I wished I had warmed up..... Well, that was my warm up. I waited for another rider and, Yana again. We worked together to bridge back and the official told us there were more people dropped behind us, including some guys, and we could have a neutral lap and wait for them and the peloton. We kept a steady pace and this time, when the peloton came I knew I had to stay on. There was one group of 2 guys off the front and right after a second/chase group of 8 racers with 5 gals in it, the same group I was dropped before, and this time I knew that the 6th place had to be mine.

For the last 45' I worked hard moving back and forth in the peloton but found myself quite often at the back. The guys would pull hard and since they couldn't drop us they would get frustrated. hahaha. Well, our group broke again and this time I was still on and a couple laps later, before the last lap, we lapped the other riders and one of the lapped riders from Proman helped Shelly by pulling her and us into the last long right turn and slowed down in front of some of us opening a small gap in front of a couple of us and I ended up with 2 guys 3 other women. At the last turn, and 200 meters to the finish line, I jumped and sprinted to 6th place.

At the end, I was happy when some of the guys came to me and congratulated me for my performance; weird; but it looks like the announcer kept saying that "Velo-Bella Luciana Vecchi a Cat 3 is looking good and strong in this insanely fast peloton".

I still think the "look good" part is because I'm a Bella!

And, a HUGE thanks for the Jed and the guys at "Kona-Schwalbe" tent who feed me and fixed my bike. You're all awesome!!!!!


At 4:55 PM, Blogger X Bunny said...

that's just crazy!


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