Two more days of cycling are officially in the books. Yesterday and today my teammate BL and I went up to the land of cheese to compete in the Giro de Cielo. It was originally designated a women's event in its inception but has grown to include a CAT3 and CAT4/5 race. Me being the road racing NOOB, I entered the CAT4/5 as this weekend would be what's needed to officially get my 10 mass starts and FINALLY get to the CAT4 status. The weekend consisted of a 4.5 mile hill climb up Sunrise Mountain and then later that afternoon was a 15 mile 22 lap crit.
The TT was my event. I knew that my road racing skills aren't the best since I sprint like an elephant stuck in the mud. So I wanted to do the most damage I could then and hopefully get some nice points for the General Classification competition. I went off at 8:35:30 and I went out HARD. It was good but I was feeling kinda bleh. Not really snappy like I was hoping. Each time the road pitched up I tried to keep the pedals spinning quickly and tried to reach that man just in front of me. My 30 sec man I caught probably half way up the climb. He was good on the flatter sections, but as it pitched up, he fell back and I passed him with a nice burst and set out to catch my 1:00 man. I didn't see him for a bit but as it pitched up again he came into view and he was falling back. The problem was that I was running out of road to get him. So as I made the final steeper ascent to the top of the mountain I was reeling him in hard but the line came up. I was probably 10 seconds off of my 1:00 man at the top. I was satisfied with how I did but definitely felt I had more. It turns out I didn't do so badly. I was 3rd in the HC and pretty satisfied with that as #1 and #2 ahead were pretty far ahead 30+ seconds so that was a relief. Next up was the crit.
Later that afternoon after some food and some chill time I lined up for the crit. 60 or so of us toed the line and with a boring(non-hilly) course and a tight course as it was still open for traffic would make things interesting. Oh and throw in a nice 20 mph headwind on top of the one little hill it had. So we set off after a sweet call up :-) which I was happy to oblige since I was 3rd in the previous event. The first lap was a nice casual chat lap since it was neutral but once the whistle sounded it was on. It was hot and sketchy. I had the guy in front of me which I thought was a decent wheel, hit a cone since he was not riding with his head up and almost throw it right into my wheel. F-that racer I found a new wheel really quickly. I worked my plan and stayed at the front. I wanted to go for one of the GC bonus sprints since they were giving out GC bonus points. I knew the sprint would hurt at the end but I might be able to sneak out some more points. Nope. I put in a big effort to go with a break and get out front but we got gobbled up and spit right to the back. So now I had to work my way back to the front. With 4 to go I figured I'd try an attack and get off the front to avoid the final sprint. They all had me marked as I attacked hard but they were ready and just jumped on my wheel. CRAP! Fail #2. Ok so it was just to stay at the front and salvage what I could. Around the 2nd corner to the finish it heated up and I stayed with whatever wheel I could. I rode the gutter to get around those that faded early and finished strong but not as far up as I'd liked. 17th and out of the GC points. Maybe tomorrow would be better...
So this morning we showed up early and got all warmed up, and then cooled down as the ladies race had a crash which pushed us back. So I used the time to work on strategy. My two efforts were again #1 to go for GC points prime, and find a spot to attack for the finish since I didn't want to wait for the sprint. All was good and into the prime sprint I got out ahead with a small break but got gobbled up. DAMN! No good. So now my move was to find a spot for the final attack. I waited, and waited, and waited for the last lap. There was a team on the front controlling the pace and I was right with them leading into the final mile of the course. It consisted of two hills, a hard right hand turn, and two more hills with the finish on the top of the last hill. As we hit the first hill the team in front of me said to the pace guy to hold back and just set a tempo. To me this said attack fool! So I went - around the right I stood up and charged. As I rolled off the front I heard don't attack - let him go. WTF??? REALLY! I hit it twice as hard then. I looked back to see the pack fading. SWEET!!! I hit the 2nd hill and looked back and saw the pack 150 yds back. Sweet they were holding back. I hit the right turn - same margin. This might stick!!! Up the next hill - looking back uh oh they are getting closer. The final hill - I was ducking for cover as this massive freight train that is the peleton gobbled me up. I was 100 yards from the finish line as I was giving it all I could and this train of testosterone flew by like I was on a tricycle. I did what I could to get to the line but I was absolutely gassed trying to get to the line. I went from 2nd to 44th in a heartbeat.
I'm really happy with myself for attempting that move. The more I think about it, the happier I am with that then sitting in and settling for 20 something in the sprint. I know now what it takes to get away and stay away and it's all in the experience bank. To suffer that much and get hammered at the line just makes it that much more interesting the next time that situation arises. I think 2 things should have happened. I should have gone sooner as it would have let me roll into the first hill and get an even bigger gap. The other thing was to stay out of the wind more. I got caught on the front a few times and had to use more energy than I wanted to. Maybe if I actually did this road thing more than 4 times a year I could figure it all out :-)
Any way I finished 12th in the GC out of 50. I'll take it since my heart is really in the dirt. As much fun as these races were, I really want to throw down in the dirt next weekend. Tymor is coming up and I can't wait for this race. It should be a blast!!!