|Flowers and cash. I guess it was worth it.|
It's taken me a couple days to reflect and think about how to write a post about this past weekend. Or if I should at all, but for those that actually READ this blog faithfully, I felt an obligation. As you all know, I started out as a dirt racer. I still consider myself a dirt racer, but also find myself doing more and more of that other stuff, you know, road racing. (Shhhh. Don't tell anyone.) It is essential because one, there are not enough mountain bike races and second, sometimes they do actually help. Especially stage races & I can't afford the dirt ones. And I really do like racing my bike. It is fun. Well, Saturday was not fun. And to compound the un-fun about it, I was only doing it because the Gorge Fat Tire Festival was cancelled.
Kings Valley road race is a 3 lap, 56 mile road race on rolling terrain in a potentially super windy area. I had done it a few years ago and gotten whooped by Jade Wilcoxson in the sprint. I think I got 3rd. I remember that being a good solid race. And Kendra was making me do it. I had a choice. Race with the women or get dropped by the men. Masters was not an option at this one. I really do like racing with the women. I do not think I am above them or faster than them and I like to support the growth in women's racing. I only raced with the masters at Piece of Cake, b/c of the length of the race. 35 miles with the women was too short. Thus, I was excited about Kings Valley. As excited as I could be. It would be my first road race of the season with the women. (aside from Rose Garden circuit). Although still very early season for me, I was starting to get some fitness back.
It was a beautiful day. The 1/2/3's race together and there were 30 of us. Not bad. And there were at least 3 teams with 4 or more gals. One team had 6 (20% of peloton). Another 5. I thought we were in for a tough day, which equates to good racing and a lot of fun. I could not have been more wrong. I walked away from that race disappointed. I know we can do better Oregon Ladies!!! That was not a race! Being 'out of shape', I still sat on the front too much, made some attacks, got away once for about 8-10 minutes in the head wind. But NOBODY DID ANYTHING!!! I go into races knowing I am somewhat 'marked', but I am not the only one now. There are a lot of strong women out there! I realize road racing is not about working hard, redlining for the entire race. I know it is about conserving and being smart. It's not a TT, etc, etc, etc. But come on! At least race! DO SOMETHING!!! The entire group let 2 people just roll off the front. No reaction. Nothing. I figured it wasn't my responsibility. I did push the pace as much as I could, trying to get my heart rate up, but I couldn't sit on the front the entire time. And I didn't. In fact, the 3rd lap I was so angry, so discouraged, I just sat in. Decided, well, I can play this game too. I know my sprint needs work, so figured if it came to that, I wasn't going to win, but I wasn't there to win. I was going to try, but heck, if I got beat, fine. At least I wanted to get a good solid race under my belt before Walla Walla. I know others have more invested in 'winning', and road racing is their focus, but I was just plain bored. I have to say, although it was not a sweet victory, I am glad I won. I was alone. No team. I don't have a sprint yet. I almost got taken out in the sprint. And in spite of all that, I won. If road racing is a team sport, we have a lot of work to do in our local peloton. I think these races can be GREAT learning opportunities for new teams, new racers and making the sport more dynamic and competitive. If we are working at making each other faster, smarter, etc., we are not doing it well. Let's learn from this, move on and for goodness sakes, ladies, let's RACE!!! It's not supposed to be easy. It should hurt. It should make you walk away from it with satisfaction. You can go ride endurance pace on your own. I guess what I came away with after that race is that the masters boys are going to be seeing a bit more of me this year.
|Unbeknowst to me, a BEER prime for first lap winner. I gave away 23/24 bottles.|
OK, enough ranting about Saturday. Once I started, I couldn't stop. Tim and I went straight to the cabin post race. It was a long drive, but we had mountain biking on our mind. And it was so worth it. A nice relaxing night at the cabin and then we met up with Chad Sperry to check out the network of trails in the Dalles where the cancelled races were going to be. We rode for almost 3 hours. We couldn't stop. Dirt loving is addictive. Lap after lap. Smiles on the downhill. It took all the anger away from the prior day. (until I brought it up again. Sorry). The fun never ends when riding singletrack. Looking forward to more of that soon.