In 2006/07 we started connecting with http://www.bikeforums.net friends for rides. We did a few tandem rides with a couple in San Mateo, and they included coffee, wine, food, Tour de France stage watching, and an invitation to race the 2007 Esparto Time Trial.
I consulted the 50+ sub-forum for advice, and several experienced racers gave me great advice. My LBS loaned me a carbon fiber Fuji road bike and that’s all I had to compete in the Women’s Categ0ry 4 — nothing aerodynamic at all. I didn’t know how to warm up (no trainer, no experience). I just knew how to bury myself, and that’s what I did. I don’t remember my time but I know I was faster than my friend who invited me, and had many aerodynamic advantages over me.
In subsequent years she handily won that race, as well as districts, nationals, and many track championships. So when I placed 2nd to her in 2011 & 2012 I was honored.
This year the race was cancelled, due to too many competing races. In late August the promoter rescheduled it to the last Sunday in September, far past my season. Since I had progressed and become stronger on group rides, after not racing for 2 years, I decided to train and race Esparto, since I’m a historically a late-season-bloomer.
The Putah Creek Smack Down for 2015 was cancelled. No chance to practice there. Chris and I went up one Tuesday and I TT’d the 10K in 16:48, very close to my best time at Esparto.
And then I rode some group rides wherein I didn’t contest the sprint but used my TT skillz to catch up and hang on, well out the draft. I did some hill sprints (ouch) and some intervals.
My bestie Sara lent me her skin suit and it was a wonky fit; I felt as though I was in a sausage casing. I joined a team, PenVelo Racing, renewed my license since USCA gave me a deal to renew now – 12/31/16. I forgot to register for the race (damn my menopause brain).
Knowing I had to be at the start extra-early I passed on the local Oktoberfest cuisine (but not the beer; racers need carbs), enjoyed the “um-pah-pah” band and the little kids busting moves the afternoon before. I had 1 glass of wine to take the edge off my nerves after I packed my bag of race necessities and post-race wear.
Despite a good 9 hr. sleep I was reluctant to leave the bed. Chris made coffee and breakfast (steel cut oats cooked in orange juice from our oranges and raisins) and I was too nervous to finish it.
Thirty minutes’ drive to the start; I registered and pinned the number on a fellow racer (he was so lean I feared pinning his skin but it worked fine), and Chris pinned my number, set up the trainer, walked the dogs. I loved that the racers’ numbers coincided with their start times. Genius.
I usually race Women’s CAT 4. Today I opted for Master Women 35+.
The roads were bumpy and poorly maintained, my front wheel found every pothole and longitudinal crack , much to my chagrin, and my lack of riding the TT bike did me in.
I also haven’t practiced TT’ing, so that was another factor — and my head got in the way of my legs.
I finished well enough for 3rd place, T-shirt and $6! If I’d ridden CAT4 I would’ve been 1st. It’s one of my slowest times, yet I’ll take the podium and guarantee that next year will be different. I’m reservedly (because it will be painful) looking forward to the next time.