Friday night at the velodrome we had a chariot race (wohoo!), an 18-lap points race (eh...), and an unknown distance (ugh), in that order. Kim, a woman from my "intro to the track" class, showed up for some races, so I at least had someone to compete against in the W4 category. The only other female was Shelby (a Junior and also W2 or 3 on Southern Elite, she's always there). So the chariot race was the 3 of us. In a chariot race, the riders line up in a standing start for the 500m race (about a lap and a half). The whistle blew, and we all took off. Shelby followed me about halfway around, then I pulled off and grabbed her wheel for about 3/4 of a lap. I pulled out and started sprinting down the homestraight, but she beat me across the line by about half a wheel. Kim apparently wasn't clipped in at the start. ): Live and learn, I guess.
The points race wasn't too bad, and I ended up lapping both other women, and even hung in with the Junior Boys for quite a while. As we came around for the first round of points (6 laps into the race), I was in 4th position, but one of the boys came around me about 1/4 lap from the line, and I couldn't react in time. So I made my goal for the unknown distance race to stay with the pack. I was having a good time reacting and staying with them, but eventually the really fast kids took off. I worked for a while with the boy who lapped me in the points race, but he eventually picked up the pace when I pulled off, and I didn't catch him. It ended up being about 16 laps or so, and I was pushing pretty hard the entire time. Leigh and Jaime were again very encouraging, saying I looked good. I felt pretty good too. I think I'm getting better at keeping up with the Juniors, and I'm learning how to react faster. I also made sure I didn't get a bike (rental) with too small a gear, and Leigh switched out a stem for me so my reach wasn't crazy. And I made my $20 back again! (:
But one of the coolest parts of the night, by far, was being "recruited" by the SpinCycle team! Apparently Kim (who's on the team) was chatting with Doc (the team coach), and he told her that I needed some recruiting. (: So she came over and gave me the lowdown. It was pretty awesome, especially considering one of the best Women racers at the track (a Pro?) is on SpinCycle. I told her I'd talk to Doc after the racing, but was so exhausted at the end of the night that I forgot! The only downside to joining the team would be that it's all the way on the other side of town (over an hour drive in good traffic). I've got invites from 2 other (closer) teams, too, so I'll just have to think about this for a bit. But this is the first team that's proactively asked me to join them, without my mentioning I'm looking for a team. Doc's a big proponent of women's racing, so I'm sure that's why he's interested. Something to chew on...
Then Saturday morning I decided to kick myself out of bed early and take my new Madone 5.2 for a ride with the Bike Barn group. One guy recognized me, and I got myself up front into the faster group of riders. I can't say how fast we were going, because I have yet to mount a computer on the new bike, but we were definitely cruising. The fast group stayed together until about Alvin, and then the REALLY fast guys took off. I was still in a substantial pack of riders, and kept getting double-takes from all these guys. I think it's because I was the only female in the group. I got the feeling they didn't think I should be there, but that could just be me being paranoid. I kept up their pace for a good hour, at least (again, not sure, since I didn't have my computer to glance down at), but finally dropped off the back, couldn't sprint back on, and got picked up by some other guys who'd done the same thing. Since I was in the middle of nowhere, and had no idea how to get home, they offered to let me stick with them (thank goodness). We caught up with the group at the Wee Mart (a planned stop), but let them leave. While we were there, another group pulled in, with a few women in it, and we all chatted about my spiffy new bike for a minute. (I made sure to mention my gripe about the stupid triple!) Then my little group took off again. There were 3 of us rotating through, with me taking noticeably shorter pulls, and we finally stopped at a Chevron on FM517 and 646. I had reached my prescribed 3-hour mark, so I called Mike to come pick me up, and told the guys I was with that I was out.
I'd call that a success - my first time out with that group, and I stuck with them for a fair amount of time. I liked taking the big boys by surprise. I liked playing in the pack. And I liked knowing that I can go pretty fast! I'm sore today, but it was worth it, and tomorrow's a rest day anyways. I'll have to try that again... (: One of these days I'll be able to stick with them the whole time. And 53 miles in 3 hours, including stops, isn't bad for me!
Maybe next time I write in here I'll have made a decision about a team... And hopefully my PowerTap will have arrived! This is gonna be a big week - 2 nights of racing, and 10 hours of riding - a max for me so far doing CTS!