Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tales from the Back of the Female Peloton-Cascade Cycling Classic Stage 1

Hey Gang,
It was a hard, hot day. 80 miles. 88 starters. Lots of strong women.
SouthBay Wheelmen ( leader, Jennifer, also very strong rider,
Kelli at her first stage race, and doing GREAT, and myself). At about 40 miles in, my
teammate Jennifer Reither got a front flat, so I waited to get her back to the
group...ouch. Back in the group, hammering toward the QOM which sits at about
mile 47 or , dropped on the QOM climb only to see them waiting as a group at the
top....WTF? They're waiting for me! Cool! Maybe NOT. A rider from the Pro men's
field had gone down up the road, and had to get airlifted out. He rode through
the center of a cattleguard, which you are NOT SUPPOSED to do, because
they are not joined in the center, they just have one 2 inch wide
crack for you to ride right into, and it was not covered...
although supposedly there was a cone there...hmmmm...

Anyway, we stopped for what felt like 4 years....but was only actually about 30
minutes. Then, there were all kind of breaks of 4 and 6 riders that they had
to re-form before they let us go. Fortunately, I was not separated by the
minute I was down from the group, nor were the women behind lucky today on that part of the race.

Then, there's the last 30 miles, much gradual downhill, lots of wind, some very
fast racing going on.....with 12 k to go, #@&%^)@*&#%^*&#% 15 or so riders go
down when a rider (who will have to go unnamed) responded to someone's sketch by
literally jumping laterally!!! So, I was riding with Jennifer, and we were
sitting pretty in the pack, and whammo....dominoes, I managed to come almost to
a stop before getting smacked from behind, knocked down, and stuck at the bottom
of a pile of three riders on top of me, including Jennifer. We get up, untangle
our bikes, get back to chasing, and I bring her up to Kelli, right as we are
going over a little roller....and I can't hang on their wheel? WHAT? I almost
cave. I could not believe it. I just keep going, and some riders whiz by me, and
I can't get their wheel either.....WHAT? Am I blowing up? I guess so?
It was frustrating. But, very, very motivating. I just couldn't believe it.

Anyway, I keep hammering. At the 10k to go mark, I look at my front brake, and
it's slammed up against the rim! OHHHHHH sugar. I open it up, and am relieved,
to keep hammering on my own. ......well, I am out of the rolling caravan,
so....yup, a STOPLIGHT, that I can't run because it's a super busy one....

I finally make it to the finishing hill, which is about 1 mile long, ..and sort
of as steep as that one coming out of Sausalito back to the's
all kinds of fun, and then, I make it to the top eventually for 77th place out
of 86 finishers. Two women were not able to finish that crashed. Anyway, a rough
day, tomorrow's course looks harder... Yay. Will let you know how it goes..

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