Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Sand at Silver Lake CX
I lined up with a better warm up then I've had at MFG- I gotta say, I really prefer the 10:15 start time to the 9:30 start MFG requires of us ladies. Tony found me right before my race and tipped me off about riding way to the right (thanks Tony!). I didn't get a call up, but I situated myself in the 2nd row right behind series leader Andi Z from Group Health, a strong gal with a super fast start.
We took off, sprinted, and surfed across the sand. Andi took off like a freakin' rocket (that is me way in the background chasing her). I followed her and wound up with the line just to the left of the lifeguard chair. It was okay until just a little ways past the chair, when it got super thick. A Mafia Racing girl sailed past me way on the right, down on the shore, and it occurred to me that that is what Tony had been talking about when he said to ride way to the right. Oops. Next lap. I somehow managed to stay on my bike and plow through the thick sand past the lifeguard chair, but my legs were telling me to back the eff off as we approached the first run up in the trees. I made it over the barrier in about 4th or 5th place, allowing myself to recover through all the single track in the trees, where the leaders seemed to be doing the same.
We came down back onto the beach going pretty fast, and I watched Erin D from TGR right in front of me get stuck in the sand and hop off. I tucked in tight way to the right, up against the tape on the firmer sand. This turned out to be a risk that didn't pay off- seconds later I was on the ground, tape wrapped up in my wheel, saddle and handlebars. A couple of girls zipped by me, but I was able to get back up and going pretty quickly, settling in to 8th or so. I found myself in a 3 way battle with two other tough ladies. We stayed clustered together up the kickers then back down through the tight corners. I would sneak around them at a corner, then one or both of them would come roaring back along the flats. I led us through the start of the 2nd lap and headed way right, finally following Tony's advice. This worked great- although it took me about the same amount of time as the girls that ran the beach, I was rested from pedaling light through the sand and they were really winded. I capitalized on this and attacked just beyond the barrier, dropping both ladies and taking off. I stayed on my bike through most of the sand heading back across the beach, but had to hop off for the last little bit and run. My two rivals caught back up with me and we battled it out again up the kickers, through the drum tight corners, and back around onto the beach. The third lap played out with the same battle, me using the same tactics and having some success wearing my two nemeses down, opening up a bigger gap after the run up. I started to feel really confident, riding on my own for the first point in the race, then bam! Over the barrier, I dropped my freakin' chain again. Set my bike down too hard. I hopped off my bike and bent over to fix the chain, and of course the other two ladies came right by me as I fidgeted with my hokey gear.
By the time I got back on my bike they had about a 10-15 second gap on me. I rode my ass off for the fourth lap, but my legs were pretty cooked and I couldn't quite catch them. About halfway through the lap I realized that there was no one behind me, so I turned it down a notch and coasted in. I wound up 10th for the day, which I was psyched about.
Looking at the splits, there are some crazy fast women racing Cat 4's- the top two would also have been very near the top of the cat 3 women. Hopefully they upgrade soon (*cough* Sandbaggers *cough cough*) ;-). Also, our race went for 45 minutes, 50% longer than usual. I could really feel that last 15 minutes, boy hawdy! Hurts sooo good.
All in all a fantastic day of racing. I love that course, sand and all.