Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A week of racing in Winthrop

by Erika

School’s Out for Summer!!!

While my teammates were pre-riding in Park City, I was closing up my classroom as students left on the last day of school. This is a bittersweet day—but, admittedly, mostly sweet! Taking days off during the last week of school is a big no no, so I was not able to join everyone for the NORBA in Park City, but there were races the next two weekends in Winthrop, Washington. This is a beatiful town in the Methow Valley nestled in the North Cascades and the trails there are buff, fast, and super fun, so my husband and I arranged to stay the week!

The first weekend was a stage race. This was my new Kona Lisa Supreme’s maiden race, and I was soooo excited to race it! There were 22 women in the 1/2/3s and some really fast gals from the Seattle/Portland area.

The TT was a hilly 10 miles. I don’t think my bike was adjusted quite right because I could not find a comfortable and powerful position in the aero bars. I finished 9th—not that great, but I’ll take it! Time trials are so painful!

The crit was in downtown Twisp—population 1,000. Rough roads—four left hand turns—headwind on the backside. After racing in the Walla Walla crit and DNFing, I was really nervous about doing another crit. After a few laps, I made it into a break of five—Suz Weldon and Lise Grace from Wines of Washington, Leah Stralka from Byrnes Invent, Allison Beall from Ti Cycles, and me. I knew these ladies were fast and I would have to work hard to hang on. The cool part was hearing my husband’s whole team cheering for me each lap and the racer who must have been pulled from the crit yelling, "Go Vello Bella!" The two Wines of Washington ladies took turns attacking off the front while the rest of us covered their attacks. With two laps to go, Suz Weldon took off and got a gap we could not bridge. On the last lap, I was telling myself that 5th place with these ladies is pretty darn good and I would be happy with that, so I sat at the back of the line. On the backside, one our friends was standing on a corner yelling at me to get to the front before the next turn. So—without thinking—I just did it. I sprinted to the front of the line, took the inside around the turn, hammered up the hill without shifting, made the last turn, and sprinted for home. I kept expecting someone to pass me before the finish, but no one did!!!! I have never felt so proud of a second place finish. Here is the sprint:

The road race on Sunday was 71 miles, and I was so keyed up after the crit, I did not sleep too well. Leg cramps during the night didn’t help much, either. I woke up on Sunday feeling like I had been hit by a truck. The race went pretty well until my bottle got dropped in the feed zone—bummer. After that, I just held on the best I could and tried to avoid cramping on every hill. I finished 8th in the road race for a 5th place in the GC.

I woke up Monday morning with very sore legs and a knee that didn’t want to bend, so we had a couple days of easy riding to try to recover for the mountain bike race coming up on Saturday. As much as I love my new road bike, I could not wait to put it away and spend quality time with my mountain bike. Again—the riding here is phenomenal!!

We got in some great rides and rested plenty before the the Methow Cycle & Sport Mountain Challenge—an Indie Series race put on by Mark Peterson at Kona. I think there were six women in the pro/open class and it was a fast start! Kristy Berg and I went out hard and left behind the rest of the field. Kristy is a great technical rider and she got away from me in the steeper sections of the course. I came in second without any crashes or mechanicals which is always a bonus! Here is a pic of our "podium". (Awards were a little late, so the other ladies must have gone home.) The braver podium finishers stood on the picnic table. Knowing me, I would have fallen off...

Mark from Kona even gave a plug for Vanderkitten while I was up there!

Thanks for reading!

1 Comments:

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

Ah man! Sure wish you could come to BC Superweek with us!!

 

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