The Woodland Park race had an immense field (pics by Chad):
|The fast ladies at the starting line|
|I'm somewhere in the third or fourth row, waiting for my start|
|Not going fast enough to be blurry.|
The next weekend, I got in the car and drove down to Tacoma to race at Sprinker Rec Center. When I got out of my car to warm up, it was snowing. Brrrrrrr. The race appeared to suit me a bit better than Woodland Park- flat, fast, but quite a bit of technical twisty-turny sections right off the bat, plus some short ups and downs through a sand trap area on the back side of the course.
All the ladies were shivering as we waited for the gun to go off- it was absolutely freezing. I wore my Smartwool neck gaiter, my winter gloves, and two layers of wool under my jersey. Bang went the gun, and I jumped forward- finding, to my surprise, that I had the hole shot! I hung out in first place for the first half lap or so, weaving through the twisty turnies waiting for someone to pass me, but the narrowness made it difficult. Finally, on the straightaway a few girls caught up to me and I let them hop into the front for awhile. I hung with them for the entire lap, feeling great.
I came across the start line in fifth place, feeling great and super pumped. Heading back into the narrow section, I shifted down to anticipate a change in speed and terrain, and bam- disaster struck! I dropped my chain- well, not so much dropped as got it all caught up in my crank, a very confounding case of chain suck. I hopped off my bike, cussing, and struggled for what seemed like hours (probably only about 30- 40 seconds) to get my chain unstuck. Four girls whizzed past me, so by the time I had untangled my mess, I had dropped to 9th and I was by myself, no one to draft behind or pace with. I surged ahead trying to make up lost time, but wound up wearing myself out. Two other girls that were behind me caught me, and the three of us battled back and forth for awhile, but I was pretty shot from trying to catch people ahead of me. I crossed the finish line in 11th place, not a bad result considering the mechanical and ensuing sprint.