Monday, June 25, 2007

Elkhorn days 2 and 3

Monday, 25 June

Saturday is the double-stage day at Elkhorn. You expect your legs to be tired on the second day of a stage race, but this time mine weren't. Every other part of me was tortured and exhausted, though, from the epicness of Friday. Walking from the car to the coffee shop for breakfast tired me out. I just wanted to lie in bed.

We had forgotten to pack the trainer into the car, so my warm-up for the TT was some hat-making followed by a brief spin on a borrowed trainer. Once I was racing, it took at least 2 kilometers to convince my body that it really could go hard. My time was 5 seconds slower than 2006, which didn't seem too bad, but I figured with the stronger field this year that it might be good enough for 10th instead of the 5th place I got last year. Hours later, I found out I was 6th on the stage. Well, at least there was some respectability there, since I was certain to do nothing but lose more time in the remaining stages. I guess everyone else was still exhausted from Friday's little jaunt.

The crit involved a prerace exchange of visits to the OBRA rule book and staying in long enough that I got so many laps down that the officials couldn't do the math any more and finally pulled me to make their lives easier. The only interesting thing about the crit was that they had so much stuff to give away that there was a prime nearly every lap. After Ms. U23 Australian national champion (who should've won a prize for choppiest pedal stroke in the peloton) went solo off the front, the race staff were kind enough to offer some of the prizes to the pack.

Sunday is the epic Dooley Mountain road race, 102 miles of desolate Oregon wilderness (okay, there are farms from about mile 80 to 95, but not much sign of humanity anywhere else) finishing at the top of an 8-mile climb up Dooley Mountain. One year it snowed on this stage; other years the final climb has been like racing in an oven. There is now an unofficial water station at the sign marking the first hairpin on the climb so that if you're really desperate, you can stop and help yourself to a bottle.

The weather Sunday was PERFECT for racing. I started with arm warmers and gloves and was fine. The temperature never got above 75. There were some windy sections, but nothing like Friday. There are three big climbs on this stage (several miles each) plus some little "short" bumps (maybe a mile each). There are two amazingly long descents that even I have fun on, especially this year when I never had to chase back on down the descents. We had a rotating pace line going for the first part of the race that was a thing to behold: smooth, no gaps, no surges. And this with 35 women. We also luxuriated in a total of 3 pee stops on this stage. The last one was a bit mis-timed, and the masters break passed just as we stopped. I rode up the last climb with a woman from OSU, and it was nice to have company.

Bike racing is funny. I had a bad day on Friday, I lost time in the crit (which most people manage not to do), and I lost more time on the final climb on Sunday. My TT was reasonably OK, but not so good that I made up for any of those other losses. In the end, I came out 10th in GC and also 3rd in the FIAC stage race national championships. Other riders had worser days than me, I guess. And Friday's weather took its toll on different people in different ways.

Congrats to Allison for her win in our race. But special congrats to the old guy who counterattacked out of the neutral start in the masters race, stayed away in a break all day, and won solo at the top of Dooley! All the results will eventually be posted here. Special thanks to OBRA's Rob Anderson for his pictures and his endless patience in directing (cars and men on bikes) traffic around our peloton yesterday.


Argentius said...

A) Nice work!
A.2) super impressive watching OAD dust the whole field, but I'll tell him that...

1) What is the FIAC championship, exactly? Is it one o' those things like the state champs, where they rank only people who count? Um, so who counts?

2) The whole women's field really stops, entirely, for nature breaks? ... then again, I suppose the logistics of that might be complicated. Um, nevermind.

STOKED I AM said...

A) Thanks!
1) OBRA's relation to FIAC is like WSBA's relation to USAC. About 5 states are not part of USAC; they allied to make FIAC. Instead of holding separate "national" championships, FIAC uses existing races as its championship events. Card-carrying members of FIAC organizations were eligible to win the FIAC stage race national championships at Elkhorn. All OBRA members were eligible. For more info, read your Elkhorn race bible.
2) Yes, we stop, get off our bikes, lay the bikes down out of the traffic lane on the road, go about our business, and politely regroup. One woman also peed twice on the bike yesterday, and another once--not something I ever care to try (I hear your shoes are never the same). The race leader and her team have to give the nod to these stops. One year there were about 20 cars behind our peloton, and I'm sure it was quite a spectacle. A woman from the UofO said they were told they couldn't do this in a collegiate race because the men's race was about to pass and the official could foresee a zillion crashes as the eyes of 20-year-old men would not stay on the wheels in front of them in that situation.

Ted said...

Great job this weekend Martha! I tried to get a finishing pic of Mick but his lead car was about 10 feet in front of him so it did not work out. It was cool to see though.

Last year at "the horn" the Men's 1/2 field actually stopped for a pee break. How crazy is that? This year us 3s did not have a pee break (usually there is one).

The first year I promoted a collegiate race here in Pullman the women's field did have a pee break. The Men's fields already went by but the two corner marshalls though it was hysterical!

STOKED I AM said...

Check out all of Rob's photos from the race here:
He was the women's official, so they are mostly of the women's TT and crit, but some other good shots too, including podiums.

Old as dirt said...

Thanks Arg and Ted, yes I had to dive right just past the finish line, then the wheel car was pulling out of the parking lot, so I had to swing left 5 feet later?
Had to have my wits about me.
That was a once a year feeling on Sunday, as Lance says, I felt like I had no chain on my bike, looks like my avg HR was 125 including the ride down the mountain after the race, though.