My return roadie racing
With a pair of fast wheels ... shame about the rider :)
What a weekend! The Coleraine Cycle Tour was on this weekend and after taking a long holiday from roadie racing, I decided to give it a red-hot go in a bloody hard race :)
I was excited. The Orbea hasn't been ridden in anger yet (a planned outing to do the Great Doherty failed with a rider mechanical - gastro!). New bar tape fitted especially for the occasion. Zipps on. Woohoo! let's fly!
My carbo load (and bike check) ride was a blast - with Zipps on, even I sound fast! I wanted to keep sprinting longer than the 30secs. The excitement was building.
The morning arrived and thankfully the tent warmed with the sun after a night of drizzly rain (no mud today - today, I'm a roadie!). The Orbea and I were off on the trek to the start of the time trial - it was 11km and over some little climbs that soon slowed even my chatter to the riders around me. This race was already turning out to be a huge bike-porn-fest ... shiny, carbon and pretty coloured things everywhere! Cool!
There were a few ABOC friendlies there Roberta and Robin, Rebecca and Arnaud.
The time trial began with a huge downhill which had me and the Orbea jumping for joy as we zoomed along at what must have been about 70km/hr ... then the road turned upwards .. phew! Actually not as steep up as I had thought on the way out (when I was coming down the hill). I went my hardest - evidenced by my inability to speak afterwards and the significant stream of snot coming from my snoz. Nice. Stage 1 done. Kathy Watt won it. I was a mile back already.
Stage 2 had me wishing I had put the 27 on. (aaargh!) I was happy in the bunch until the road went upwards a bit more than was comfortable. I hadn't realised how much I relied on spinning to get up hill after hill and my legs were popping. I dropped off the back of the bunch but kept on going hard - tried to catch them and passed a few riders (mostly boys!) as the hills got small and sharp - you know, those nice ones where you can use the momentum of the down to power up the up - rolling undulations perhaps you'd call them. The last 15km was fast and great fun. I am in love with Zipps and that woosh woosh sound (do you know what I mean?). I caught two girls along the way but they didn't stay on my wheel for long, so no use waiting (it was the zipps!).
Day 2 dawned with an ominous fog, but all was well as us women riders cruised out of town and up the hill on the road to Merino. There were some nasty hills to get over even before the KOM and I was really pleased to be still with the bunch through them (still missing that 27 at the rear - most riders had their's, but I was too silly to bring mine). The scenery was lovely. The more serious riders may not have appreciated my making a comment as such when the sun came out. But I was having fun :D As we approached the KOM, I thought - hey this is alright, I'm with them and comfy ... past 500m sign .. bugger .. they're racing now .. come on! .. at about 200m to the top, the rubber band is stretching. I lost them here and tried for the next 30min to get back on .. they were so close! I picked up another girl, but she wasn't as keen as me to get there. We almost got to a bunch of three between the main bunch and us but then they got on the bunch and were stretching away too. :( A long TT home. Fun though. I saw a boat, a camel and a donkey. Oh and there was this nasty hill at about 10km to go that had two sections to it that I almost had to do the side to side thing on to flatten out the climb. I was out of the saddle with a cadence of about 40. I asked the people assembled at the top kindly shoot me. They didn't (thankfully!) and there was more lovely downhill afterwards ... Weeeeeeee!
The Crit. Yeah! It was a nasty affair from go. I was "on the rivet", as Phil would say, and counting down the laps as soon as the first was over. Phew! It was tough. No slow bits. All breaks and switches. It was cool! I was going well until the sprint lap ... shouldn't have helped chase breaks .. when all of a sudden my power went and I was struggling to hold wheels. I was doing that thing where you (well I do) fixate on a rear wheel and just hold it .. dribbling and snotting everywhere ... trying to breathe .. Kathy Watt calls me through and I have nothing. But she is a lady I am a bit scared of, and I had to go just that bit harder. Thankfully another girl came through knowing I was slowing us down (about half of the field was ahead of us and we were determined to get 'em). I was back on Kathy's wheel but doom came when someone came through and surged and I was off the back of them. Two laps to go. Another girl and I went our hardest to the last metre. Uuuurgh!
I don't know where I came yet - the results aren't on the web. But that's not the important part of it. I had a great time and learnt a few lessons and got a big hankering to get back into crits and the occasional road race.
I reckon I'll be up for Coleraine again next year .. and maybe Bright inbetween? (I'll sleep on that decision!)