Racing Into Shape

As you know I don’t have a training plan this year. I’ve raced enough to know what I should be doing, but life gets in the way and I’ve had to be very flexible with my workouts lately. Take Monday for example…it was 75 and sunny. I should have gone on a nice recovery ride, but pulling a 50-lb kid trailer is not the definition of recovery in my book. So we walked to the park. And Tuesday- I should have done 2×20’s but working out after E gets home is a pain with dinner and AKA’s bedtime. So I went to an early morning spin class. Not the best substitute, but getting in an early workout and having free childcare is pretty nice. Every week is a total hodge-podge and I don’t think my workouts help CX at all. So basically I’m just racing into shape. I haven’t been on my bike since last Sunday and wondered if that would affect today’s race. Only one way to find out…

So daylight savings time sucks with a young child. We were up early enough that I contemplated a 9:30 nap. But alas, E and AKA were staying home, which meant I had to pin my own number today. I am the world’s worst self-pinner so I left early to accommodate for some pre-race drama. Before you pick on me, you should know that the CCC tried out crappy “eco-friendly” numbers this year- they rip easily and don’t work well with skinsuits. Bring back the Tyvek! So I drove out to St. Charles, a small town 30 minutes northwest of us and savored the opportunity to blast whatever music I wanted (it’s the small things, right?).

As soon as I got out of the car I was blasted with wind and 45-degree temps.  I don’t own any snug-fitting base layers (yet) so it was just me and my 3/4 sleeve skinsuit for the race. I piled on as many jackets as I could and set out for my preview lap. Within 2 minutes I was broiling and stuck looking like a deep sea diver for the next 15 minutes. I guess it wasn’t as cold as I thought. The course was bumpy, had a lot of uphill water bars, some crazy windy straightaways and a few short sections through the “Enchanted Forest”. We had some fast out-of-towners show up so I started in the second row. The first lap went OK but I bobbled the first set of water bars along with many other folks. Not pretty. I basically muscled my way through this race- the technical features were nice but the wind was strong and I felt slow on the bumpy grass sections. I had no idea what place I was in and just did what I could to keep people from passing me. Two ladies went by and then one of them went down hard right in front of me. Yikes.  Then I passed someone who probably flatted her front wheel while nailing a water bar.  And then I glance back (which I rarely do) and see a gal who usually beats me by like five places.  Like, still behind me after four laps.  Unfortunately she caught me on the last lap and took off. Darn!

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I finished in 8th. I finally cracked the top ten! And I placed higher than a few other gals who regularly kick my butt. And I held off another for four laps. It’s been a while since I raced a full season and I finally realized that I wasn’t “leaving it all on the course”. Two weeks ago I had a mechanical…and busted my keester to get back in the race. Last week I was out of the saddle a lot trying to make gains. Today I just rode as fast as possible without making mistakes.  Keep that in mind for your next race- it works!

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