Monday, May 30, 2011

First "Real" Race

Today was my first real race.  My previous qualifying time was a special time trial at camp.  Today I raced Pink Bike in the CA/NV State Time Trial Race.

I was very nervous. I am very grateful that my uncle (referred to as Ding), was able to go with me. He was disappointed in my lack of bike knowledge. Gonna have to work on that!  He spent all of last night working with me on what equipment I need and talked me through the race.

The time trial was 40K - double the distance I did previously.   I was nervous because I've never raced and I was racing with able bodied bikers.  At the start line, some of the other women were very encouraging.  I'm pretty sure that my lack of time trial bike, aero helmet and the like assured them that I was no competition

When we got to Palmdale, it was WINDY.  We checked the wind advisory and it was blowing at 25 mph. I warmed up.  My standing start was pretty bad.  Need to remember to work on that.  On the first leg of the race, the wind was a tailwind. Awesome! I set up my Garmin so I new exactly my splits for each kilometer. Then I turned the corner and immediately hit the crosswind.  The second corner sent me in to the headwind.  It was blowing really hard.  I had to lean in to the wind not to fall over.  In addition to the headwind, there was a slight climb on this leg of the route.  I tried to keep my speed about 15 mph, but at times that was a struggle.

The good thing about people racing with disc wheels (not me) is that you can hear them coming up from behind. I was passed a lot.  But it didn't bother me.  I knew that all of those people were racing for a different reason and with a different set of body components.  I just concentrated on my computer, making sure I was keeping my heart rate in a range that I could hold.  Other than that, I looked at the ground.  I tried to tape a picture to my bike to inspire angry riding, but that strategy doesn't work for me. I ended up ripping the picture off and looking at the quote in Italian that is written on the top tube of my bike. I have NO idea what it says, but I like to make up things that it says.  Sometimes it says, "Just keep pedaling." Other times it says, "I know you're not trying hard enough."  When I needed other encouragement, I looked on my right arm to find the scar from Peter the PICC line.  Knowing that I survived that debacle always reminds me that I can do anything.  I kept pedaling. I just did my best.

After the final turn, we had to do the first part of the course again to finish.  Again, the tailwind was there. I was able to keep my speed in the range I wanted.  I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:10:58.  That put me at 1:53/k. The standard for Talent Pool is 1:54.  It felt good to accomplish that goal.

I wasn't sure whether I was going to like cycling after racing.  But I like it even more. I was able to use Pink Bike for what she is intended to do - race fast.

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