Monday, May 21, 2007

When do you know when to go?

Well, I can't answer that question, except to say that you just DO. Short story is:

Final BMW Crit was Sunday. I raced the 25-minute W4 category. 35 racers in all, 6 of them women. Three of us ended up in the lead, trading places, making the new girl pull a lot. Sugar Cycles' Amy Taylor didn't feel like pulling very hard and we played leapfrog for a while. After it seemed like more than half the race must be over, we came around the turn where her teammate outsprinted me in the final lap last time. I was behind Amy, but in front of new-girl Melissa. I knew this was my chance. I jumped inside, and gave it everything I had. I pushed like hell and tried not to look back for about 10 pedal strokes, stomping those things down as hard as I could, pulling up with my entire body. The next chance I had, I glanced behind me, and they were waaay back there! I'd done it! I'd dropped em! But they were definitely trying to catch back up, and I sure didn't want to let them. Pushing harder and harder, I thought about my track racing the night before, and the week before that, and how my insides wanted to come out but I didn't let them and just kept on pushing. I wanted to stop, let my heart rate fall back down, let my stomach stop churning, but I reminded myself that I am stronger than that! And then I dropped them for good. It was amazing. Turned out we had about 7 or 8 laps to go when I jumped, and I kept my lead until the end. Awesome. The win felt so pure and wonderful. (:

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Good Night Tonight

Tonight turned out pretty well - a good confidence-boosting night. I knew it would be a good night because I was well-rested from this week, and there was NO wind out at the track tonight, plus I got in a great warm-up because traffic wasn't too bad and I actually got there early. (:

We started out with a Masters/Women 5-lap scratch, which wasn't too eventful. We just rolled around in a paceline at a pretty good pace until the last lap, where I came in a few bike lengths behind the women. Poop. That's ok, cuz it was a great warm-up at a good speed, and got me ready for the upcoming 20-lap scratch.

We started out the first few laps about the same as the 5-lap, and then 2 guys take off and I'm all of the sudden the one pulling the rest of the group up to them. I take a hard, half-lap pull, then pull off and let the rest of them do the work. After a bit, it's just me, Shelby and Julia again. With about 8 to go, we ALMOST catch the leaders, but then they went and sprinted again, and we didn't make it. We never got lapped, and we worked our butts off, though. A good race.

Then we had the 3-lap handicap. Julia decided to leave before this race, and I'm not sure why - she didn't say. A little odd, but whatever. So it was me, Shelby, Cristin, and Michele. Cristin was at scratch (0), Shelby was at the 50, I was at the 70, and Michele was at the 200. The whistle blew, Robert gave me a nice push, and off I went. I could feel how strong my legs were as I pedaled my way onto the track. It felt awesome, and I was still standing up as I came into turn 3. I pushed as hard as I could through the start-finish line, and had a huge mental lapse where I thought that this would be my last lap. So I gave it my ALL on that lap, and as I approached the start-finish line, I saw the lap card showing a big 1, and heard the bell ringing, telling me that THIS was in fact the last lap! Oh no! I felt like I didn't have much left! But I kicked it up again, and finally caught Michele along the backstraight, just after Cristin passed us both. I figured Shelby must be right behind me, so I used every ounce of energy I had in me, and ended up crossing the line in 2nd!!! Amazing! My teammates told me that Shelby almost caught me on lap 2, but I took off and she couldn't catch up. I left her in my dust. Unbelievable. This is how I know I'm improving. Not only does my coach tell me my power levels are increasing, but compared to all the other girls, I'm doing better than I was before. It's a great feeling.

Also, at the beginning of our 20-lap scratch, we had our neutral lap, then Doc Bing said, "20-lap scratch race! Be safe!" and blew the whistle to send us off. Right then, a HUGE smile spread across my face. I couldn't help it! I just love racing, and it felt so good to be out there, feeling *almost* competetive. (: Of course, after 2 seconds of smiling, I realized I needed to start working, so I wiped the smile off and started concentrating pretty hard... : p

Now hopefully I'm off to Jamaica in the morning (or anywhere else, really...)! : D

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Three Days

That's how many days I raced this weekend. And I didn't win once (sorry to ruin the ending, but I figured if you're waiting for me to tell you I won with a flourish, I'd let you down right away).

BUT I had an awesome time, my legs are goo, and I learned a boatload (as always).

Friday night was racing at the velodrome. Three races as usual, and I'm happy with my performance, I can feel I'm getting better, all that good stuff. The highlight of the night was the 24-lap points race where 2 of my male teammates (Women race with the Masters) lapped the field, and I worked with them for a little bit...until I couldn't keep up anymore and dropped back to the pack. But it felt good to bridge up to them from the pack! It was a nice rush, and it was one of those times when you realize the strength you actually have.

Which brings me to Saturday night - more track racing. It was threatening to rain the entire night, and some brief, light sprinkles even came down, but no real rain. I came in last in all three races. But there was one instant, in our 18 lap points race, where I took off on my own from our little group of 4 women (the only ones racing), and I pushed so hard that I don't know where it all came from. I felt like I was pulling the strength from somewhere deep inside of me and working harder than I've ever worked before. I could feel every single muscle in my legs and arms and back contracting perfectly and intensely. It was amazing... I just need to learn to dig like that all the time now... I did realize that racing with the Women 1/2's as a new 3 really tests your abilities to their limit, and I'm pretty pleased that I just kept up with them every time someone made a go for it -- I was right behind. Soon I'll be right there with them, and even making some of the jumps myself - I'm determined!

Today I woke up, stepped outside, and it was hot, VERY humid, and also VERY windy! My legs were jelly last night, and were slightly better this morning - I finally got to sleep in. (: In any case, I was only slightly wanting to race, and once I got there, registered for the W4 25-minute crit, instead of the Women Open 40-minute. We race with the Juniors and Cat 5's, and apparently more than half of the ten or so of us racing were first-timers. Off we went, and of course I lost the wheels I had around the first few turns, and the headwind along the middle half of the course was brutal. There's always a wind on this course, but I think today's was the worst we've had. There were only 2 other W4's on the course, and I caught up to the one who was only a few bike lengths ahead of me pretty quickly. We played with each other a bit, and I kept trying to figure out how I could lose her or wear her out. I made her pull for quite a few laps in a row, hoping that would help me out. Then she ended up making me pull, but I kind of just rode along not trying too hard, but still trying to figure out what to do. I kept trying to pull off, but she just stayed behind me. The lap cards went up for 5 to go, and we just kept at it. At 2 laps to go, I decided to pull to the side and just kick it into high gear to try to shake her, but it didn't work. On the last lap, I tried to get our to the outside on the last 2 turns, but she edged inside on the second-to-last turn, and the last turn was too wide for me to get around her fast enough, and she outsprinted me to the finish. Dangit!! I got some socks, a Clif Shot, and some hair gel as a consolation prize, though...

So, this weekend was a learning weekend. I didn't win, but I feel strong, and I know where I need to work. I got tons of tips from lots of different people at the track both nights. And I have a prospective woman teammate now! An exhausting weekend, but productive. And I can feel it getting better all the time! (:

Friday, May 04, 2007

BMW Crit #4

Not much to say about this except coach looked at my power file and I've apparently improved since the beginning of the season already. It didn't feel like it, since despite me getting a good, quick start, I was promptly dropped around the first few turns, and then lapped countless times by Joyce and Laura M. The last 10 minutes felt like forever, and the 40-minute race was just plain rough. It probably didn't help that I went wakeboarding a few hours prior, and had never been wakeboarding before then, leading to me being extremely sore afterwards. But it certainly was an ego boost to find out that both Evan and Max couldn't even get out of the water, whereas I ended up actually wakeboarding behind the boat.

My real reason for posting is to add this sweet photo to my blog. I think it's pretty cool, and shows me working my a$$ off in the crit. : p Hope y'all like it, too.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Yesterday I sat in a restaurant working on my presentation for class, and staring out the window (more of the staring, less of the working). It was the second time in about as many months that I'd looked at the sunset and thought about Colorado.

Ah, Colorado.

This weekend should be interesting. Three races back to back to back -- Friday Night Racing at Alkek, then Texas Cup racing at Alkek on Saturday night, and finally the BMW crit on Sunday. Exhausting! Let's hope I have something worth writing about on Monday. : p