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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080

    Surf City Cyclocross #1 -- Soquel HS

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    Today was a bittersweet day. I love the Surf City races because they're put on by Velo Bella so they're always fun. They're also typically the hardest courses in the area, with super-technical sections and lots of climbing or run-ups.

    I was feeling a bit off the past few days -- kinda like I had a cold without the sniffles. I slept about 12 hours last night and still woke up tired. So, when Erin showed up at my house to go to the race, I suggested we get a coffee (and I don't drink coffee). We then picked up Dani and headed to Soquel.

    We arrived in plenty of time to check out the course (and the cute boys) and relax a bit before the race. I had planned to race Bs (what the heck) but changed my mind to race Cs. At the reg table, I felt so guilty that I signed up for Bs afterall.

    Velo Bella always has a fun "theme" race and this one was tiki cross, where you rode under the barricades (ala limbo). We decided to enter that (the prizes were pie and beer) and use it as our pre-ride. Well, we missed the start by just about a minute and were riding hard to make-up ground the whole time.

    The course was fairly flat, with a few technical sections. Start on a gravel uphill with a sharp right switchback onto sandy dirt followed by a sandy descent, and off-camber uphill section, switchbacks, double barricades, flat to a run-up, immediately followed with a sandy downhill switchback around a tree with a run-up, more flat, another short run-up, a flat power section followed by a super-steep sandy descent (that scared me), more flat, a longer run-up, a fast descent to the pavement, a couple more short steep ups and then a super-fast rough descent and do it all again! How the heck do I remember all that!

    Back to our preride....

    So, it's me, Yvonne, Kim, and Erin (Dani and Sarah are MIA) and we get to the super-steep sandy descent and I'm leading the group. I stop and just look at it. I know I should be able to ride it, but it scared me. A lot. Yvonne (who's scared of descending since a couple of bad crashes and almost always walks steep downhills) rode it. Well, shoot! If Yvonne can ride it, I can ride it. Still too scared. Kim, also not a great descender rides it. And then Erin. I stand at the top looking at it and tell them to go ahead. I finally shoulder my bike and run down it. Dangnabbit!

    Lap two -- same thing -- I run down the descent. Racers I know who are also on the course are trying to convince me I can do it, but I'm scared. Lap three, again, frozen at the top. Finally, on my fourth lap I see my friend Elizabeth standing at the top. We chat and I tell her that I'm nervous with her watching, so she turns around and I nail it (thanks Elizabeth). I want to do it again, so I do a fifth lap (still in my pre-ride mind you). After five laps, and about 50 minutes, I decide I need water and GU and head back to the tent (with only 15 minutes before our race).

    I'm not feeling great. I didn't ride hard, but I did run the run-ups during warm-up and my HR was through the roof. I'm a little worried about the race, but figure I'll just ride it if I don't feel well.

    We get to the start, line up, and they send the As off 30 seconds before the Bs and 35+ women. I get a great start and I'm 3rd wheel up the hill. I lose a couple places heading into the off-camber section, but thought I'd make it back. Racers who I know are stronger than me are behind me. What the heck? And I'm still with the leaders.

    Well, about 3/4s of the way through the 1st lap, that all ends. I can't breathe. I'm having an asthma attack like nobody's business. I can't get any air in and I start slowing down and women start passing me. Shoot! I recover a bit and think I'll go hard again and it's worse this time. I look at my bike computer and it's only 22 minutes into the race -- only halfway through. I think about DNFing. And I think about stopping to lay down on the side of the trail. I keep rolling, but everytime I run I think I'm going to throw up or die. I don't know how I'll ever finish. Of course, I eventually do and I'm kinda bummed, but it's just another race, right?

    Funny thing is that my time wasn't actually too bad. I felt super-strong and I was riding really well technically. I was able to pass women on the technical sections but didn't have the lungs to run or keep my power up on the flats. Women who've always been faster than me were behind me for a good portion of the race. My lungs are still foggy six hours later.....

    Not sure why I had an asthma attack. It may be the little cold I've been feeling this week. Or the coffee? Or the fact that I took one of my thyroid meds this morning that I don't usually take on race day. Or that I didn't get my hard efforts in during my warm-up because I was so intent on nailing the course. I guess I won't ever know. But, I'm pretty confident that my legs are coming around and I'll be able to hang with the Bs this year.

    I'll let Erin tell you about her race......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    114
    First, how DO you remember the course like that???

    Second, good for you on the scary downhill! Don't you love that feeling of conquest?!

    Finally, I feel your pain - or at least your shortness of breath. Over the past two years, my asthma has kicked it up a notch, and I never know if it will be a good day or bad day. So major kudos to your finishing and then to your doing decently!

    Riding through fear, asthma, a cold....you inspire me!
    The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew--and live through it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    102
    I got a little worried as I was about 3/4 of the way through your post. whew.. I'm glad that in the end you knew what your body could do and you were okay!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    After five pre-ride laps and I can't remember how many in the race (6?), I remember every little bit of sand. I try to memorize the course so I can make my decisions about it and be committed to my choices. Sometimes I forget something and then I get sloppy.

    I haven't had an asthma attack in a race since I finally went to a pulmonologist to get treated for it and my allergies (Feb 06). And I've never had one this bad. In retrospect, I don't know how I kept going. I'm still wheezy today.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822

    Congrats!

    Good for you for finally conquering your fear of "the hill". That's a tough thing to do, especially in a race situation. Sounds like you had a blast, and that's what counts!

    I'm still wheezing today, too, two days later... This asthma stuff stinks!

    SheFly

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    51

    My race report

    Lorri already told you guys all about the course in amazing detail, so I'll just give my ride report. I placed myself at the front of the C's, determined to get a good start. I was nervous, pre race jitters at the line, but they usually go away pretty quickly once the race begins. After bonking in my last race, I was fueled and ready to go. The course was really technical and there were a few switchbacks I had issues with in the pre ride but I always seem to improve when the race begins. So the official blows the whistle and all 18 C women are off. The first section was all gravel with a small track cleaned off just big enough for one bike. We are all fighting for the line. At the first switch back there are lots of girls right on top of each other and I go down and realize that my hand has somehow become caught in between the rider next to me's fork and tire. Pretty scary stuff but I was able to pull it out with no damage. I hop back on my bike and continue trying to make up for the positions I had lost. By the 2nd lap I'm feeling better and really beginning to get in to the course. I start passing riders ahead of me one by one and feel like I'm making my way back to the leaders. On the last quarter or so of the course I came around a 90 degree turn at a fence a little to close and caught my right shifter on the pole. As you can imagine my bike stopped and I kept going on pavement/gravel, not good. So I jumped up and got out of the way of other racers to inspect my bike. It looked like my right shifter was just bent in so I took what little strength I had left in my shoulder I just fell on and bent it back into place, mounted my bike and took off to continue racing. Then I noticed my bike veering to the right. When I looked down I realized my handlebars had also been tweaked about 45 degrees to the left. There was no way I could ride the course with my bike like that and I didnít have the strength to straighten it out. So I walked off the course and to the parking lot where I commiserated with another rider who crashed and had a mechanical failure. After that I went back to the start to cheer on the rest of my teammates on their last lap. Some random guy sees me standing there, bloody and dirty holding my bike and asks why I'm not out racing. I explained my bike issue to him thinking I may get a little sympathy. No doing, he wanted me back out on the course. He took my bike and muscled it back into shape, picked it up over the fence and told me to get back out there and finish my race. So I did. I got one more strong lap in, felt good and sprinted the finish. I came in last but I didn't DNF and that makes me very proud. After the race I found my cyclocross-saviour and gave him a hearty thanks right before I made my way to the EMT tent to have my wounds scrubbed. OUCH!

    All and all and good race.

    Erin
    Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiement. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up, again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson-

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    114
    That's great, Erin! Good job and thank goodness for good samaritans! Getting your hand caught sounds a bit freaky, but it was great you didn't have to DNF-
    The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew--and live through it.

 

 

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