Sunday, September 6, 2009

3rd

Good news! I didn't crash. :)

112 miles racing my bike around the island this morning. We'll call it a success! My question yesterday was "How long can I hang with the fastest gals on the island? Turns out, 110 miles. Those last 2 miles I rode by myself. Lol. Read on for the full report.

We started out at 5:45 this morning. It wasn't even light out. The first 30 miles are the scariest miles you'll ever ride- neutral behind a pace car going 20-22 mph and 200 cyclists are all trying to be right up at the front though clearly there is NOT room for everyone up there. It's really really nervous as everyone is so full of anxious energy. They keep it neutral during this time because it's all through town and on highways with tons of lights and traffic, etc. After about 30 miles we start a climb up Kunia road and the horn blows signaling the official start of the race and everyone sprints for their life. Crazy.

I don't have a very fast uphill sprint so unfortunately I watched 3 women ride away from me right away. GRRR. I was red-lining already and there was just nothing I could do but keep up my own effort. Good news for me was that my "own effort" resulted in a pace that saw those other women coming back to me and by 1/2 way up the longish hill (maybe 6-7 miles?) we were all back in the same pack. This hill is the key component to the race because if you don't make it to the top with the group you should be riding with, you won't see them again for the rest of the day. So I wanted to be with those girls at all costs, and I put in the effort to make sure that happened.

I crested the hill with the second pack of riders (the strongest men were in a lead pack that was apparently only about 2 minutes ahead of us). In my pack were the top 4 women and about 20+ men. We flew down the hill but that part was pretty scary because it had just rained so the road was all wet. The scary part didn't end at the bottom either because the rain started back up. Riding on wet roads and pelting rain in a big pack of anxious riders when you can't see results in people crashing. I saw 2 wrecks in my pack but safely navigated around each one. Phew!

My legs felt good today and while riding up there along the north shore I actually felt like there was a remote possibility that I could win the day. That would have been really cool. I knew it would be a race of attrition and it was going to be a matter of just conserving as much energy as I could for the hills at the end. I was actually bored at times for the 2 hours of flat windy riding as my job was pretty much to just sit on and watch the other women. I did pull through to the front a few times, more out of boredom and frustration at what felt like a slow pace. This is a road we train on just about every weekend and we always go quite a bit faster than what we did today.

Anyway, finally at about 85 miles, the hills started. Time to see who actually has legs vs who was faking it on the flats. Turns out, Esther and Jenny and I had legs. Roberta fell off over one of the steeper climbs. With about 15-20 miles to go I was pretty happy to realize that we had the top 3 women sorted out, and I was one of them! We still had maybe 5-6 men with us at this point too so it was a good little group. Esther had two male teammates and Jenny and I (both Pac Velo) had one teammate, so it sort of became a fun little tactical game there toward the end.

Esther has been really strong all year and today was no different. The final climb comes at 110 miles. I really really really wanted to hang with the group and duke it out in a sprint finish, but my legs were d.o.n.e. AHHHHH!?!? Didn't they know the finish was just 2 miles away? Didn't matter. I completely popped off the back on that final climb. It was frustrating because my heart rate wasn't even high- but my legs wouldn't function which is a problem during a bike race. Lol. Jenny and Esther rode away and I just hoped my teammate Jenny would win, though I wouldn't be there to witness it.

In the end, Esther got her win and it was very well deserved as apparently (I heard afterward) she took off for the sprint with about a mile to go and flew to the finish solo. It was all very friendly and in good sportsmanship as we chatted about how we were trying to beat each other after the race was over. :)

Here we are just after the finish.



I was also pretty happy about being able to cover 112 miles in 5:24. Granted, I was drafting, but I swear, only a few parts of it felt hard/fast. Much of it felt slow and easy to me. I think that's a good sign for things to come. Like, um, a long race on The Big Island in about 5 weeks. ;)

17 comments:

Sara said...

Congrats Michelle! We were looking for you but you were too fast :) We went to the N. Shore for a beach day and saw Scott and Moana on the side of the road cheering everyone on...so cute!!! I was worried about you guys with rain..it looked crazy. We saw a semi-truck come within inches of taking out Amy Bennett's group!! So scary!!! Glad you kept both wheels on thxe pavement! Sounds like a fun day :)

H said...

Great riding Michelle, you are gonna fly in Kona :) Tom & I are so excited about watching it, we're planning to stay up all night on the t'internet! Stay strong.

fancy nancy said...

Great job! You should be ready for Kona!!!

Clare said...

i was wondering how fast you guys would go...20.7 seems awfully fast to me! nice report!

Regina said...

Great race report and great race for you! I'm with Clare, 20.7 avg speed, is seems mighty speedy to me too.

Congrats!

Newt said...

Wow, congratulations! What a fantastic day!

Angela said...

Congratulations Michelle. sounds like it was a great day for you! You sound like you'll be in top shape for Kona, can't wait to hear about that too.

Beth said...

Congrats Michelle! What a long race!! 112 in Kona - no problem. ;)

GoBigGreen said...

YEA! Drafting is fun if you are on the right bike where your hands are near the brakes:) Good job...and you may have been better off staying out of the craziness of the sprint finish. Sucks to go down when people do dumb stuff.

Kate Parker said...

Awesome ride...and congrats on your podium place!!

X-Country2 said...

Congrats! (And way to make "I just rode 112 miles" look GOOD!)

IronMatron said...

YOU ARE SO FAST. Congrats!!! You're going to have a GREAT race in Kona!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats, your a speed demon.

Alicia Parr said...

Nice!

Charisa said...

Awesome -you're ready!!! Congrats on 3rd!

Heather said...

Amazing, just amazing! Congrats!

Ange said...

Wow!!! ON a few things. First...I read back a few notes and saw the scare you had with your daughter. Oh my goodness......so so scary. Phew is right.
Great job on this race!!! Amazing. You are going to be so strong on 10/10!!!