This Past Weekend (7/21-7/22)

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This past week was a good and uneventful week.  I got my strength workouts in as well as some good riding.  I made sure that my legs were rested up for the race on Saturday.  

Saturday’s race was at 10:10 so I got to sleep in a bit.  I had a nice power breakfast with my strong coffee.  I left the house at the time I would normally start riding and got there an hour early.  I went to the registration desk. I had preregistered but they couldn’t find me in the book.  After some searching they found me and gave me a number, 911.  I refused the number and for good reason.  They gave me #912.  I got my bike together and we started getting ourselves together.  My girl was given the wrong type of number and had to return to the registration desk.  They offered her #911 and she also refused and took #913.  We pinned our numbers on and ate our gels to prepare.

We did a warmup lap as she described the course to me and told me a few things I would need to know.  It was windy and we only had a small section of tailwind.  She introduced me to the ladies that we would be racing with.  There were only a few of us, 7 in total.  These ladies were all very experienced.  I was nervous but I tried to remain calm, collected, and optimistic.

The men started first.  My girl wished her husband good lucked and I cheered as they pulled away.  We lined up and the photographer took pics of us.  I hung in for about a half of a lap.  I should’ve tried harder to hang in.  I could’ve stood up to try and keep up but I was in a haze, probably from nerves.  The corners were tough, they weren’t sharp turns but I wasn’t used to it.  I knew I’d been left behind but I didn’t want to embarrass myself.  My second goal kicked in which was not to get lapped.  I kept going as hard as I could sustain for 45 minutes.  I was starting to get a good flow into the turns, pedaling into them and taking them tight.  A couple laps in someone had dropped a black water bottle.  That water bottle was halfway to the tailwind after the first turn and became a landmark to me.  The photographer on the course took a few pics of me when I passed him.  Every time I passed the start/finish line I was cheered on.  All of these things made me feel very special.  They didn’t care that I was last, they cheered me on to hang in there.  The guys passed me a couple times and my friend cheered me on as he passed.  The ladies still hadn’t passed me.  Every time I heard someone coming up from behind me I was sure it was them but it never was. 

About 40 minutes into it I made the turn towards the start/finish line.  The ladies came up behind me.  I knew I’d been lapped but I sped up to catch them so I could at least ride with them for the last lap.  They were going hard but I came up behind them. The LCD screen read Finish.  Damn, it was over a few minutes early.  My girl was out of breath but I asker her if I was finished and she said yes.  I wasn’t sure if I had another lap and I would’ve done it to complete the race but it went by time, not by laps.  I asked if she won, she said she came in 2nd.  I nodded.  I wasn’t surprised at all.  I didn’t even congratulate her, I have since, but I didn’t then.  She wins, that’s what she does, she’s great at racing.  

Afterwards we were offered water and fruit.  The ladies congratulated each other.  As soon as we were alone I cried.  I was so emotional.  I completed something I was scared of, something I avoided.  I didn’t want to do it without my girl.  I look to her for guidance as she knows what she’s doing.  All my accomplishments came to mind and I was happy I did it.  I couldn’t believe I did it.  I completed my first crit race!! 

The other ladies called my girl over to take a pic and I came along with her.  We took a pic together and then they did the podium pics.  Afterwards one of the ladies demanded that we get something and they gave us random items.  I got a stash can that fits in my bottle cage and a tube, my girl got a saddle bag.  We said goodbye to the ladies after engaging in polite conversation.  They could care less that I was even there.  I later learned that I wasn’t lapped earlier because the lades were slowed down to offer the right of way to the men.  Even so I was still very happy about my accomplishment and walked on air for the rest of the day. 

On Sunday I showed up to the group ride to find that there really wasn’t a group for me so I went on the faster ride.  It was supposed to be 50 miles but I got 2 flats and we cut it short to 32.  It wasn’t the nicest day.  The roads were wet but drying.  It was overcast with periods of mist and sun.  I was just happy to get a ride in. Of course I apologized profusely for holding the ride up.

It’s so sweet that everyone is so encouraging.  Everyone is telling me that I may have come in last but at least I showed up.  My girl made it a point to tell me that her first race didn’t go as well as mine and that I chose a tough one to get started on.  What do I think? I think that they’re right and that every time I do it I’ll learn something from it and get better each time.  I won’t let my poor performance discourage me.  I will get better though training and experience.

 

 

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