Sunday, 9 March
Do you know anything about planetary alignment? Did you know that Venus and Mars were on a collision course yesterday, going circles around Mason Lake, WA? This, apparently, is what you get when you combine masters' and women's races around here. If the frustration levels hadn't been so alarmingly high on both planets, it would've been entertaining. It just showed that different people have different ideas of what makes bike racing; I think in this case it was decades of experience vs. only years of experience, not Mars vs. Venus.
To escape the course that always engenders (sorry, bad pun) bickering, I headed south to race today. There's also a 3-week series in Oregon going on, doing laps around another lake about an hour west of Portland. The cat 1-2 women there get to race with the....cat 3 women. And they're not scored separately, so they can/have to race together. It was good. The only flat road on the entire course is about 300 meters across the top of a dam. It was interesting to contrast the savvy and smarts of women in the two pelotons. Teamwork goes to WA; pure smarts and savvy go to OR (although no team had more than 2 riders in the OR race). Funniest comment in the race: "you're the one who rides 400 miles a week, right?" (I really will have to be careful what I say here.) And it was great to race with Alice again! On the last lap, going down The (Down)Hill on the course, she sat up, both hands off the bars, and pulled out her water bottle. And hers was still the steadiest wheel in the pack.
Then, to start training for stage races, my local tandem partner and I followed our individual road races in the morning with a tandem road race in the afternoon. On lap 1, the group was pretty slow on the climbs, and the guy with the controls on our bike was choosing huge gears, and I thought my legs would never get to the end of the race. But they loosened up. The next-to-the-last time up The (Up)Hill on the course, there were just two bikes, and we started worrying that the race was going to come down to a sprint (it's a downhill finish, so it would've been a scream). But the tactician on the bike (stokers don't do anything except pedal and whine) worked over the other pair, and we'd dropped them about 3 miles later. We TTed to the finish solo.
It was nice to finish all three races this weekend, and to finish them with a win!