Friday, 23 June
Funny thing happened in the race today. Okay, it wasn't so funny for the cat 3 rider who crashed and broke his collarbone. He hit a turtle. Not the kind you normally find on a crit course, but a real live creature who was out for a stroll on a summer afternoon. No word on the fate of the turtle. [Late addition: Turns out the crashee was a Second Ascent rider from Seattle, and the locals are baffled as to what a turtle was doing out there because the only turtles in these parts are in pet shops in Boise.]
Nothing so interesting in the women's race. We started out slow, which was fine with me because I had a long massage this morning and was hoping to spin everything out before the racing got serious. Some woman would periodically punch it, not to attack and get away, but just (I think) to move the pace up about 14 notches. We had our pee stop after the town of North Powder (it seems like a ghost town every year when we ride through) and then a pretty hard tempo up the never-ending climb that doesn't even get mentioned in the race bible. The descent into Union was very relaxed and the ride out of town along the river was pretty mellow. For a while. About 10K before "The Climb," the tempo went up and I thought I was going to have to put it back on my big ring. But spinning was my philosophy today, and I held on to that 34 front chain ring even when the tempo went over 20 mph.
One woman jumped not far into the main part of the climb, Alison was with her for a while and then wasn't, and then the chasing group of us just got smaller and smaller until there was a Tamarack rider and me. I couldn't hold her wheel through the feed zone, which was at the very top of the hill. Over the top and down the first sweeping turns and then the stairstep rollers up and up. I could see the two riders ahead of me but clearly was not making time on them. In another couple of miles, Heather Albert came flying past me like I was standing still--and then the train of about a dozen riders hot on her wheel. Between the technical descending and the crosswind, I just could not latch on to that train. Chase chase chase. Ouch. Never got on to that group, but it pretty much exploded in the last climb to the finish and I caught some of the fallout.
Nearly everyone today who raced is suffering from heat exhaustion and/or dehydration. I had goose bumps for a while before the finish. Every recovery trick in the book is being pressed into service tonight. Tomorrow is such a different day: TT and crit. But more wind and sunshine. Hopefully no turtles, though.