Mudslinger may have been the kick off, but then it has been game on! 3 races in 4 days. Almost a little mini stage race. But it has also been fun. Seeing everyone that I have not seen in a long while and getting my ass kicked by the boys. It's been a big welcome back party to bike racing. And now I need a massage. Good thing I have a day off.
THURSDAY, April 5 was the inaugural Rose Garden Circuit Race. It hurt. A lot. But I managed to pull off a win in the wet pavement, riding very cautiously around corners and just suffering up the long hill. It was nice to have Hilary push me, b/c I could have very easily gone backwards on that one.
SATURDAY, April 7 was Piece of Cake. I won this race last year and really like the circuit with the 3+ miles of gravel in it. It is windy as heck out there, but this year, the women were only racing 35 miles. It was a pretty hard decision to make, b/c 35 sounded much easier than 52, but I needed to do the 52, so I raced with the Master's men. Against Tim and his team. And they made it hard. In fact, off the gun, they attacked in to the gravel, which I knew they were going to do, but my legs just could not go. I got popped. Settled in with a group of guys, pulling more than my fair share, b/c I wanted back in with the lead group (always competitive no matter what). At one point, Karsten Hagen, who had flatted, came into our group. Rotated a bit to rest up and then all of a sudden, it was just he and I. I grabbed that wheel and did not leg go. It was motor pacing at it's best, but without the exhaust (& great calves to focus on.)
I was gassed, but we made it back to the lead group and I was stoked for the rest. Until the gravel came again. And then I saw Tim on the side of the road. I hesitated, then knew it was the right thing to do. I pulled over to give him my wheel. After a less than perfect wheel change (read: total debacle) we were off, he dropped me and I was solo. But smiling. There was a small group behind me and I saw them making their way forward. I was relieved to have company and again, we worked hard, I pushed the pace and was still motivated. To at least catch Tim who was dangling a minute or so ahead of us alone in the wind. He caught a small group and then our group caught his group towards the end of the third lap. It was game on. I was going to try to beat Tim. Of course, it didn't happen. But I sprinted for my 16th place. And I got a great workout!
SUNDAY, April 8 I was forced to do a TT. It was the only way I was going to practice, so off to PIR we went for a closed circuit lap formation TT. I was the first person off, unfortunately. But after one lonely lap, I was in traffic. I got chased down by Jessica Cutler, but not passed. WHEW! Success. Got 3rd, which for my first time on that bike this year, it felt pretty o.k. As good as a TT bike can feel. And then I got to take a ride with Lindsay afterwards, which just about fried my legs. After getting home, we went out for Easter burgers. They were great. And well deserved.