Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Linchpin

This weekend there's a 40K Team Time Trial here on Oahu. I joined a new cycling team this year called Pacific Velo. It's a team made up mostly of a bunch of local triathletes and somehow I got suckered in. I'm not planning on doing a lot of outright bike racing this year, but I'll do a few here and there. First one for me is this weekend so its time to dig out my race wheels!

We put together a strong women's team for the TTT. I've ridden a bunch with two of the gals but have yet to meet the fourth one. I'm looking forward to hammering it out with these ladies... I remember doing this TTT two years ago and I swear it was the hardest hour I'd ever spent on a bike. Somehow you really end up pushing yourself a ton harder when you're doing it for teammates rather than just for yourself.

So I'm already nervous about the Hour of Pain when I get an email yesterday from one of the Pac-Velo team leaders who was trying to put together and additional 'Mixed Team' consisting of 3 men and a woman... So I read:

You are the linchpin to the forming team and wanted to see if you're interested. We think that we can win. The plan would be to protect you all the way since you will need to be at least the third person to finish.

What? Race twice? Although in fairness all I have to do is sit on during the second 40K. The guys will pull me to the finish. I instinctively reply right away to the email with a short, "I'm game."

Then I start really thinking about what I just agreed to. So, um, I'm going to kill myself for an hour racing with the women, then turn around and try to hang on for dear life to the wheels of 3 very fast men? That would be hard enough if I was fresh. I look at the list of guys who will be my teammates. One I've ridden with a bunch. I think I've mentioned him before when describing one of our Saturday rides... comparing drafting off of him to relentless motorpacing... The other two I've heard of but either have not met or have not ridden with. But they're on Pac Velo's 'A' Team because they are very very very fast.

I had a hard time sleeping last night thinking about this scenario. Holy cats. That is going to be so hard. Because the thing is, since I don't really know these guys I'm riding with, I'm going to be much more intimidated... If I knew the guys better I'd feel more comfortable yelling at them to slow down when they start inevitably pushing me far beyond my red zone...

They can't drop me, because as the lone female on the team, I'm the linchpin, but they can only pull as fast as I'm able to draft... How much am I going to slow them down? My only hope is that they are also wiped out from their first race so maybe won't go quite as fast the second time around? Good luck with that.

As if my nerves this morning still weren't high enough, I get copied in on this email from the teammate I know, Mr. Relentless Motorpace:

My concern is that I don't get punched out the back. They need to keep
Michelle, I'm expendable.


Um, Mr. Motorpace is concerned about getting spit off the back??? Yeah. Um, if he's the weakest link of the guys and worried about getting dropped, I'm screwed.

The next email in the chain said something about somebody bringing a sharp stick to poke at me if I can't keep up. Nice, guys. Nice.

So, to sum up, I've got the hardest weekend ever coming up. Not one, but TWO 40K TT's on the bike. Add in riding to and from the race start (10 miles each way) and I'm looking at 70+ miles on Sunday, 50 of which will be faster than race pace...

If this is my last post ever, it's because my heart exploded out of my chest trying to hang on to the wheel of guys who I have no business riding with. Wish me luck. Cause Mama's gonna need it this weekend.

14 comments:

N.D. said...

awww. you will do great! how exciting! Don't doubt yourself! They wanted you! Obviously they already know what you can do! GOOD LUCK!

Angela and David Kidd said...

This sounds AWESOME (and scary)! Stuff like this makes you so strong.

Molly said...

Holy cow! I can understand the intimidation, but I bet you will nail it! Good luck!!!

cat. said...

no worries, remember ... you're still baby hormone doping (and you could do it on the natch too).

enjoy!!

Pamela said...

Ok, you are officially mad!
Good luck - I am sure you will be just fine. Enjoy...

H said...

Go girl!!! What an amazing weekend, it sounds like a great challenge and I'll bet your female pride won't let you down when you hit it for the second time :) Godd luck and enjoy. x

Rebecca DeWire said...

This sounds both super exciting and super scary. I think it is awesome that you are taking on something out of your comfort zone. Can't wait to hear all about it.

Lizzie said...

That's crazy!! But also amazing!! Good luck (though pretty sure you won't need it!).

Clare said...

can't wait for the race report!! i'm sure you will amaze yourself and your teammates. a little self-doubt is a good thing though...keeps you human!

Anonymous said...

May the force be with you!

Angela said...

Good luck, but I know you'll make them wonder why you shouldn't race with them more often!

Something about being one of the only girls among guys that makes you perform far better than you ever thought you could. I'll be thinking about you and can't wait to hear about it.

X-Country2 said...

You're going to do great! They wouldn't have asked you if they didn't think you could do it. :o)

The Chapples said...

Wishing you all kinds of luck!

Stacey said...

Oooh, that's crazy. Good luck and have fun, you will do great!

Have you done the Kona Marathon? It is an out and back course...is it pretty? Have a great weekend.