Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Road Race, A Time Trial, and a Crit...

Shoulders at my ears and breathing through clenched teeth. Glad I at least look happy (Carolyn Campeau Photo). 
I was a virgin all over again for all three. I wrote about the road race yesterday and despite the flat tire, when the final results were posted today, I found I did even better than I thought. Second Cat 5 female. Not bad for a virgin.
(Carolyn Campeau: photo)

The time trial went great. I was a little nervous about the ramp start. You can see it in my shoulders in the start picture. If you want to know how comfortable I am with a situation, that's always a sign, look at the proximity of my shoulders to my ears and that says a lot. Captain Rick was giving me hell about this in the store today. He's right.

And my damn locked elbows. It is no wonder I have nerve damage in my left hand and tennis elbow in my right arm. After this weekend I can now barely lift up a bag of groceries.

I went into the TT with more tired legs that I'd hoped after my unplanned solo effort the day before. It was an out and back TT and they started us in reverse order of how we finished the day before which means I was third out of the gate, with the wind behind on the way out, against on the way back. This suited me just fine. I tend to be a wimp with the wind and stronger into it. I just wanted to catch the girl in front of me. And I did, around 12 km in. My TT was raw me. No extra aero gear. It was just my legs and Kermit the bike with aerobars attached.

It was kinda short though -- 16.3km. I was just getting warmed up and it was over. I knew my legs were tired because I never did get my heart rate up to where I know I can sustain it. My legs wouldn't let me. I made myself get up and sprint over the finish line and then couldn't move my right lower leg due to a cramping soleus muscle for about 5 minutes after.

My kids were there. They hung out in the car for the 30 minutes I was on the road and two short-burst warm ups. They were patient. It helped that I told them that the long grass around the community centre where the TT started would likely have woodticks in it. I was kinda lying about that. But, yet, kinda not. They did the same in the afternoon at the crit, in the car with a Nintendo DS and colouring markers, and a cooler full of snacks. They were ever-patient.

In many ways the weekend was just as much for them as for me. 
After the TT, I skipped the prepared lunch and rushed them back to the hotel for one last swim in the pool and ate leftover pizza and a Dairy Queen Moolate instead. Race fuel at its best. Sometimes race weekends are not just about what you want to do. I had a good time with my kids this weekend. Left the computer at home. (OK, I did still have the iPhone). The kids were in the pool three times for over an hour on the weekend with no complaints about putting on cold wet bathing suits. My daughter went down the water slide about a hundred gazillion times. And my son really really wanted to go down it too. It was all over his face and he wandered up and down the slide stairs about 6 times without being able to get up the courage. After multiple offers from me to either take him down between my legs or catch him, in the last 5 minutes at the pool before we had to go check out of the hotel, he finally went down with me holding him. He had such a death grip on my arms I wondered if he would drag us both under at the bottom but we got down safe and sound and then it was: AGAIN!!

Of course.
Me and the kids in the hot tub.
And then for the rest of the afternoon, every time I asked them to do something: Put on your shoes. Pack your suitcase. Get your jackets on. It was punctuated with: And then we go on the slide? There is nothing like the post anxiety adrenaline rush that comes with realizing that the thing you feared was actually a ton of fun.

I wouldn't know anything about that. I don't model fear and anxiety about anything.

Yes the sarcasm is fully intended.
See, even in the crit warm-up I don't look relaxed (Photo by Stefan Isfeld)
So after he did the slide, there was no way I could weasel out of doing the crit, as much as I wanted to. And I really, really, really wanted to. And I was terrified the whole time, and now two days later, I've come down off that terror-high and I know I need to do one again. Not because I want to, but because I have to give'er another go.

The goal in the crit was simple: stay with the group. Which I did. Mostly. I was glad the speed was manageable for most of it because there was very little juice left in my old tired legs for the third race. I wonder how much extra energy I burned with my shoulders as tense as they were in all these crit photos. I was even tense in the warm up. I discovered it is hard to stay at the front when you don't corner so well. I felt the yoyo effect over and over and everytime I found myself in a position I liked, I fell back on every corner. One of those damn corners was about a 140 degree turn with a man hole right at the inside edge.

I'm proud to share a frame with these young gentlemen. They make me look good on this 140 degree turn. Willem Boersma and Aaron Carter and if someone could help me out with the right name for the third rider, I'd appreciate that. (Stefan Isfeld Photo)

It was all the strong boys from the junior development team, two junior girls, this old mother of two, and Bill Gendron, speed skating coach to many of these young riders and father of Canadian National cyclist Karlee Gendron who was out kicking butt in a race in Victoria for the weekend.

One of the junior girls dropped off the back from the start. She did finish the race and she still never got lapped. Strong girl, she just doesn't like group riding. She had a great TT too. She'll learn. She's young.

Teaching an old dog like me new tricks, that's another thing all together. I have fear. I know I can get hurt.  I just wanted to hang on. Stay upright. Play fair. Learn. The boys dropped me on the prime lap and then I caught up on the regroup. I got dropped again along with Bill and Hana on the two laps to go sign. Bill basically pulled Hana and me around for the last two laps. I sat in third position. To keep my position in the overall, I knew I just had to finish with Hana.

Myself and Bill Gendron and Hana Boersma (Carolyn Campeau, photo)
So I thanked Bill for his draft at the end of the race. We had a nice little getting acquainted chat on our cool down lap. The truth is, if I had been left on my own on those last two laps, I would have gave up and soft peddled  in. My legs were cooked.

It's funny. And excuse me if I switch gears here and get all philosophical, as I am known to do. Going to California and riding all those hills humbled and changed me as a rider. I don't care what position I fall in anymore. I didn't even have one twinge of anger or frustration with myself for riding through that crappy patch of road after I flatted in the road race. C'est la vie. That's racing.

What I seem to get out of it now is new places to ride and new people to ride with. I enjoyed all the people I got to know over the weekend. I met Nathan and Chris for the first time. I got to know Phil and Carolyn a whole lot better. I gained a lot of respect for Phil and Nettie and the Junk Yard Dogs Club out of Portage la Prairie for the very well organized race they put on and for their great team of volunteers. John the commissaire came up to me every time he saw me with a big smile on his face and asked how I was doing and was I having fun. Fun was just the beginning. It was a positive first race experience. I got to ride with some young, up-and-coming riders that I'm sure I will get to one day say about: I used to race with him when he was only 15 years old. 

But most of all cycling has become about beauty. Beauty like this: (Thanks to Carolyn Campeau for all the photos that follow)


atlanta said...

Love your blog and glad you like the photos! It was really nice meeting you and learning about your love of cycling! - Carolyn

Kim said...

Thanks Carolyn, and thanks to you for being the supportive wife that you are and keeping yourself occupied while the man lives out his adolescence and you capture it with a camera ;-)

Well done!

atlanta said...

Well, if he's on the bike, I know he stays out of trouble!