Sunday, June 7, 2009

What a Feeling!

It has been a productive two days, and I am feeling particularly proud of myself.

I was nervous about the crit on Saturday, but pretty excited too. I didn't expect great things, but a pack finish would have been nice. I was thinking that dad would be there, but he had to work. I also was sort of expecting an old friend (who got me into bikes in freshman year of college) to show up, but he wasn't there either. Even mom, who was supposed to drive me, didn't show up until late. At least I had Don and Jay to talk to and the other guys on the team to cheer. It was a great day for the race- not too sunny and pretty warm. I met a woman on the HP Hermes team, Beth, and we bonded- we have plans to do some swimming soon, so I'm psyched!

We had a 40 minute race around a .7 mile course with what is commonly refered to as a "death turn." Yikes.

The race started, and it turns out my new bike happens to love corners as much as I hate them. I would find myself leaning over speeding through corners that a month ago would have required some serious braking. Part of it was the bike, the other part was just me deciding to go for it.

It was easily my best race to date. I started out slow, almost got bumped into when a girl hit the dirt on a corner and was making her way back onto the road. A lot of girls were not exactly keeping great lines, even on the flat straightaway. Yeesh. Still, after a few laps, my legs woke up and wanted to play. I jumped to the front of the pack for a lap, actually raced for the prime (didn't get it, but got in the lead because of it), and thanks to Don and some other teammates yelling on the corner, I managed to have a competent and fun race.

Then, all of a sudden, bell lap! I went around the first corner in the top 7-8 in the pack, and heard Don yell something along the lines of "go now!" We hit the next corner and set up in two lines for the slight hill. I decided to jump then, so I rode up the side and hit the front. I was actually out in front as we hit the turn and stayed there. I've never been in the front in a bike race ever... It was weird, even though I was dying, I still remember thinking "holy crap, I could actually win this thing!"

I didn't, obviously- I jumped too early and lost too much steam about 100 yards from the finish, ending in 9th. Honestly, I was psyched with just a top 10 finish in a crit, considering until now, they've been the races that I do the worst in. So I was really happy about that. Plus, I'm finally learning how muhc energy I can expend- I finished that race with nothing left, and I felt like throwing up by the end from that final push. So hurray!

I'm feeling incredibly proud about it, and I'm realizing that the best thing for me during a race is to just decide to go for it and not let myself get nervous.

Later, Dad and I went for a run/walk (he may do a 5k with me in 2 weeks!) and Robbie came over with an early birthday present (Justice League season 2!).

Then, today I decided to spend the morning biking to Spruce Run (5 miles from my house) and then riding the Spruce Run course (~14 miles including 1.5 of them on a mountain, and a lot of rolling hills along the way), then ride back home and go for a run.

My time on the course in September? 53 minutes. My time today riding at a comfortably hard pace, as opposed to a race pace? 45 minutes. I'm thinking this is going to be a good year.

Then, went for a run while dad biked next to me through Hoffman Park. I figure it's good practice for Bear Mountain next weekend, since the run there is "jeep trails," and Hoffman has a lot of varying terrains so I'm more prepared for anything. It wasn't a crazy run, but the last 1/4 mile I sprinted home, going at a sub 7 minute pace.

Then, ice bath in the driveway. Fantastic.

Open water swimming tonight- yikes!

Final Words:
To the guys who passed me coming in the other direction today while I was riding who saw me and said "hey, a chick!", I gotta ask: what were you thinking?
I'm not sure if it was meant as a compliment (as in: hey, we rarely see women ride, so it's great that you are!"), a come-on (as in: hey, a woman in a sports bra riding. Awesome.), or an offensive remark (as in: like women can really ride bikes.)
Either way, I found it vaguely insulting and sort of uncomfortable. While "chick" isn't as bad as some other words, it's vaguely patronizing and sort of rude. If you met me on the street, I doubt you'd call me a "chick."

One last note to said gentlemen:
If I had turned around when you said that, I would have caught you, then sprinted past you and left you questioning your worth as men. So there.

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