The only stage on today's calendar at the Willamette Stage Race was the crit. And the women's event was shortened from 60 minutes to 45. So what to do with the whole day before the 4:00 start time? Go for a training ride, of course.
The first 20 miles were absolutely perfect for spinning the legs out from yesterday's road race: flat with a pretty stiff tailwind. I struggled to stay in the small chain ring to make sure I was really spinning, especially with two guys in front of me who eventually shifted up onto their big rings. We went up and over Gap Road into Brownsville. The plan was to continue east and then south on Marcola Road and then back along the McKenzie River into Springfield, but from Brownsville you could see that the clouds were below the hilltops (and just above the snowline!) out Marcola way, so I turned back and retraced my steps and let the boys venture into the storm. Not the best decision. Once I got back over the "pass" on Gap Road, it was rain and headwind all the way back to town. The kind of headwind you get out in the flat, wide open Willamette Valley. It takes a long time to go 20 miles when you're only going 12 mph. My argument against going out Marcola Road was that I didn't want to get drenched again after yesterday, but I got pretty drenched out there on my own, trying not to tax my legs too much (who was I kidding?!). Turns out the boys had a nice sheltered ride on Marcola Ride, through the hills, and then a tailwind all the way along the river. Sigh. 55 miles, 3.5 hours. Another round of wet clothes strewn around the hotel room.
I did stop once in the middle of that 12 mph stretch. Funny that rain and wind don't show up at all in pictures. It was fun to watch the lambs today. The littlest ones were too skittish to stand still for a photo.
Stage 3B wasn't nearly so interesting, at least not from my perspective. From the start line of the crit, you went up a slight uphill drag for about 200-250 meters, did a 180 around a planter in the middle of the street, back down toward the finish but then took a right turn, up a short hill, left, down a short hill, left, one flat block, left, another flat block, and you were at the start/finish. The uphill/downhill/flat section was pretty bumpy pavement. Oh, and it rained most of the time. Give me a TT--any TT--any day instead of this.
The best part of the day--the sweetest part, at least--was our visit to the Sweet Life patisserie. It's really a good thing I don't live in Eugene, or I'd be there way too often. Raspberry Rhapsody was the indulgence of choice tonight--chocolate cake with chocolate filling and raspberry reduction and chocolate icing on top. Oh my! I don't think 55 miles was enough to, ahem, outweigh that decadence. :)
Tomorrow's stage starts at the King Estate Winery, out Siuslaw River Road, over Wolf Creek, and back along Territorial. The cat 1-2 men have to do two laps, but the rest of us are done in 42 miles. The cold wet weather is supposed to continue. Stay tuned.