I hooked up with my teammate Emily and her gang and the weekend fun began. We rode the course on Friday. It was damn hot! Dry, dusty and hot. And we moved slow. At least it was announced the we were only doing one long lap and one short, instead of 2 long and one short. Whew!
Race 1: Short Track
You would think that at 10:45 a.m. it would not be too hot. WRONG! I think it was 100 degrees. At any rate, it was wicked hot. Emily and I warmed up in the shade of the Cannondale canopy, but sweat was dripping even before we lined up. Our main goal was going to be "to not get pulled". I wanted to finish my first stx race and I knew with the longer lap, it shouldn't be a problem. I had an o.k. start position and an awesome start. I got right up in the lead group and then dropped back to the 'chase' group, and then dropped back to the third pod and then my final drop was on Emily's wheel, hanging on for dear life until the end, when I sprinted to the finish for a 17th place. After the race, Ray met us with cold towels and I was practically gagging from the dust. A quick cool down and then back to the 'high quality inn" as we had dubbed our overpriced accommodations, for an afternoon of MTV hell. Yes, I watched more TV than I have in the last year in 3 days at the hotel. I was going a bit crazy.
Race 2: Cross Country
Yes, it was cooler by at least 10 degrees, but that did not make it cool. It was HOT. I tried to focus on how much cooler it was and how nice that brisk wind would be, but with a 2:45 p.m. start, there was no way it was going to cool down during the race. My call ups are getting better and I lined myself up where I was for short track, pretty much 3rd row behind Katerina Nash and others. I figured it would be a fast line. I couldn't have been more wrong. Immediately after the start, which I had been in good position for, down went 3-4 girls directly in front of me. Who knows what happened. I got off my bike and walked over those still down and then tried (key word: tried) to jump on Katerina's wheel to work the way through the dust and the tail end of the pack. It was extremely difficult and I took risks, going off to the side to pass slower people on the climb and before the 's' turns. It sucked. And needless to say, I was on no ones wheel but my own. It was dusty, dry and hot and I was working way too hard to get back where I started. But the pace was amped and I fought to go faster. I was gaining time on some of the climbs and finally finding my pace. The highlight of the race was coming up on Marla Streb and being behind her on a descent. Granted, she gapped me pretty quickly, but on the next hill, I went by and kept motoring. The second lap the heat caught up with me. I started to suffer. I was drinking all of my liquids and hoping for no melt down. After the feed zone on the second lap, we had our short cut for the half lap. Little did I know how short that lap was going to be and although I had 5 girls in my sights, I didn't have the momentum to catch them, nor the time. I was suffering and I suffered myself right into a 24th place finish. I think our new strategy will have to be to keep the heat at home at 90 to acclimate. HMMMMMM? Sounds lovely... Oh well, Fontana should be cooler. I sure hope so.
Post race thoughts: I really don't like the heat. I know I don't do well in the heat, but then I think, who does? Why do I suffer more in the heat? Is it all in my head. I really wanted my body to go faster. I need to learn to transcend this barrier, because I don't think this will be the last hot race. Post race, I left and drove back down the coast to Claremont where I am staying with my dear friends Gina and Hal until Fontana. Well, Santa Ynez was done and I hoped for a cooling trend by the weekend. I would even take some rain. I must be crazy...