Sunday, 1 April
My Tour of Willamette training camp ended with two days of racing (ouch!).
Saturday was the Icebreaker Criterium. Nobody else from Seattle turned up in Eugene for a big, flat, wide-cornered, early-season, windy, technology park crit. But I was in town anyway, the promoter is a tandem partner, and it's one crit course (probably the only one) where, on a good day, I stand a chance of not getting dropped. The weather was dicey, with showers all around. I waited to register until 6 laps to go in the race before mine; it was still dry so I had no excuse. I paid my money, crossed the street, and it started to rain. Really. Fortunately, then it stopped. When our pathetically small field lined up on the course, I lobbied to cut the race from 30 laps to 25, but everyone else wanted the workout (there was nowhere to hide on the headwind half of the course). Having ridden 250 miles in the previous 3 days, my legs weren't too good for quick accelerations, but I had enough power to repeatedly catch back on. I'm sure it was a hysterical race to watch, and the huge crowd (detect sarcasm) probably had a pool on how many times I would yo-yo off the back. There were two showers during our race so we were completely soaked and dirty, but because of the wind, the road was nearly dry again when we finished. And I finished with the "pack" and I was not DFL. I didn't win any sprints :) but I took some pulls (they usually left me up there for a lap or two when I made it to the front) and led it out to the last corner on the last lap. It was a pretty funny race--I was happy to finish and sure know what (all) I need to work on.
Sunday's course in Woodland at the Piece of Cake Road Race was sort of like a bigger version of Saturday's crit. The course is dead flat, with more than a few corners, and the only excitement is riding on top of the dike along the Columbia River. I started with the cat 3 men, and one guy told me that 3 riders in their race last year actually crashed down the dike into the river. I was lulled into an "I can do this" complacency in the first 10 miles. I managed to hang on when the pack decided to reel in a few breaks. Then things got nasty for a couple of miles and I finally got popped. I knew if I could just get back on, they'd settle down and I'd be fine. But those 250 miles in 3 days were still in my legs and there was no quick surge to be found. I rode another lap by myself, thankful that the sun had come out and the wind had not yet materialized.
Riding with the cat 3s was not my first choice, but: the women 1/2/3 raced at 1:45, which meant I would've gotten home at about 9 p.m.; I heard that last year the women pacelined for the entire race (zzzzz); there was also a masters women category, but they raced with the cat 4 women, which would've meant riding at the front all afternoon. And the cat 3 men gave me 3/4 of a lap of a pretty high-speed workout, which I needed--I just wish I could've gotten another lap out of them, but no complaints. And I missed the heinous crash in the race on the last lap.
So it was a good training camp. Beautiful roads, long climbs, and mostly sunshine. Four hats made and a baby blanket started. Essential shopping done. Not enough reading, not enough fantastic food, no wine tasting. Just not enough time, I guess. This week is one more CycleU TT, then I will have to take my ego to PR where it will get viciously deflated.
There's less weekend racing for me in April than in March, so maybe it's a good month to "retool." With all my new crit skills, watch for me at Boat Street (April Fool!).