Saturday, 22 April
Weird things happen in bike races. In WVC stage two today, I moved from the bottom of GC to 7th with one 16-mile time trial. It had some hills and a tough headwind on the return, but I only got out of the saddle once, never had to use the small chain ring, and used my 55x11 a few times. I was a long way off the winner's time but happy enough to finish 6th. Miranda got her revenge for my win at Jack Frost, beating me by 8 seconds today to take the massive $5 prize for 5th on the stage.
This was a double-stage day. Stage three was a 5.2-mile circuit with a big climb on the course profile. Our 6-lap race was shortened to 5 laps while we were on the road because the race was running behind schedule. Reports from the riders in fields that raced earlier were that the descents were a bit sketchy (which meant I would not be happy). We figured the race would get blown apart by the climb and aggressive riding on the descents. It turned out to be a pretty fun race.
At the end of the first lap, I wondered "where was the hill?" It was a big-ring drag, not really a "climb" at all, and so it didn't really have the potential to split up our race (not that a few didn't try). There were some sharp turns in the descent/rollers section, some of them at pretty good speed. Kori went off the road on one of these, using her mountain bike skills to keep it upright in the gravel and not get tangled up in the wire fence. The wind kicked up, but most of the course was sheltered so it wasn't a factor. I stayed in the pack (well, on the back of the pack), which was better than I expected. It really showed how deceptive course profiles can be. And either the women in our race were riding conservatively or I might be getting used to these sort-of-technical races.
While we all waited for our traveling partners in the men's 1-2 race, Deb and I had a picnic dinner with some of the BC girls in our race. When Deb caught me buying a bottle of beer in the supermarket to go with my panini, I explained that I was just taking a page out of the training program of one of her teammates. She said, "don't you need a whole case?!" The Canadians were dumbfounded when I sat down with my bottle, then they admitted that they thought it was great that you can buy beer in supermarkets in America!
It was so fun to race in the warm sunshine, to have a good TT, and to be happily surprised by a fun race on a course described as a big crit.