I thought last Saturday was about the best day one could hope for: sunshine, 8 hours on the bike, and I was grinning from ear to ear. Well, today was a whole lot different, including some rain and not-so-warm temps, but I'm competitive enough (although I deny it 99% of the time!) and take enough satisfaction in doing things that are a challenge for me that in the end it was a pretty rewarding day.
Today is Day Two (stages 2 and 3) of the Eugene Celebration stage race. Stage 2 was a 7-ish mile TT, mostly flat with maybe a 1/2 mile of stairstep rollers up to the turnaround. I got to preride the course twice for a warmup, mostly just spinning leftover "stuff" out of my legs from the hard effort of stage 1 (a lot of getting pushed around in the wind and hanging on for dear life in the second half of the race went the tempo went up by about 4 mph). In the TT, I didn't seem to be making much progress in catching my 30-second person, which was not so satisfying, but I was consistently riding in the 55x11, so I figured my tempo was pretty good. After the turn, I started reeling riders in, which gave me something to focus on besides watching for the mile markers. And still I was in my 11, so the wind must've been a crosswind both directions?
When I finished, my husband confessed that he had loaned his aero wheels to Becka, who doesn't own such things and was just going to TT on her regular wheels. That was OK--better to get more use out of that stuff, right?--until we come to find out that she beat me by just 18 seconds to win the stage. I was second, which made me darned happy.
I had an extra race today. The promoter threw in a tandem crit before the stage race crits started, and I raced it with him. Sal is too busy putting on the race to get to ride himself, so this was his one effort of the weekend--and he decided to make the most of it. We hung in there with the other bikes (including one with a rack and a mirror on the handlebars) for about 1.5 laps, and then Sal took off. The other bikes responded, then didn't, then couldn't catch us, and we rode the rest of the race solo off the front. Thanks to Henry and Web Cyclery for putting up the prizes for this race (we passed ours off to the next bike in the race)!
Then the serious racing started. And the rain showers. Just before a shower it would get super windy, then dump, then the sun would come out, but never long enough to quite dry things out. The women 1-2-3 crit was on mostly wet roads but it didn't rain during our 45 minutes. Even so, I was chilled after the race and it took me a long time to get warm. I got dropped a couple of times in the first 6-8 laps, but got back on. I managed to hang onto the pack until the last 200 meters, which was better than I had expected an hour before the race (rain, legs tired from tandem race, etc.).
Then we got to put the icing on the cake, so to speak. Dinner at Laughing Planet: a burrito with black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, collard greens, brown rice, and tempeh. It was divine. I mean, when you've just raced your bike, you don't really want some high-falutin' food over umpteen courses that always comes with slow service. This was tasty AND healthy AND fast. And across the street is the Sweet Life Patisserie, which I know I post about every time I'm in Eugene. There are always too many choices, and I think what I select is like rolling the dice: if the wait staff asked me 15 seconds sooner or later what I wanted, my answer would be different. Tonight I had a chocolate cheesecake tartlet with peanuts and caramel sauce on top and chocolate frosting around the edges (OAD had the strawberry cheesecake). Undoubtedly more calories than the preceding burrito! :) And a sugar buzz to keep me awake long enough for the drive to the hotel and unloading the car.
Tomorrow is the Wolf Creek stage. Just 42 miles, a bunch of climbing, including one 4-mile climb, and then lots of descending and flat time trialing to the finish, which is at the top of two more climbs at the King Estate Winery. We don't start until 2 in the afternoon, so it will be a late trip home!