Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Riding in a pack is brutal. Broken thumb. 15 miles into the 74 mile race a girl ate serious pavement in front of me leaving me with one line.....the one right over her AND her bike. At least I wasn't the poor gal that was air flighted out with a broken pelvis. I saw her lying there in misery and could hear the moaning. Not fun to see. Lots of carnage today. Almost 3.5 hours later I finished 23rd outta about 70 starters.
If I don't look happy.
It's probably cuz I am not.
Guess I am starting a new chapter of my race career.
Ok, I promised on lots more later so here it goes..........
Got up nice and early on race day, got in the car headed for the start line. Oops, forgot every last water bottle of mine so we had to turn around and get them all. Did you really think I was going to be that awake at the crack of dawn? Yeah right. Got to the venue and everything kind of seemed chaotic. Had to:
Go bathroom super bad but the line for the 3 port-a-jons was LONG for the 500+ racers; this was problem.
Swap bottles and figure out who is doing what as far as what team mates were picking up the feeds.
Go to the bathroom again.
Figure out what feeds our feeders were going to.
Get tires pumped and ready; chain lubed.
Go to the bathroom.
Get extra wheels to the wheel car.
Figure out who could take all our clothing at the line because the feeders had to leave before the race start.
Go to the bathroom
Warm up for a hand full of minutes- yeah....that didn't happen.
The race began and so did the up to 15 miles an hour wind. We stayed as a group mostly and I fought continuously to be in the front because if someone goes, that is a nice place to be to follow. We went at a solid pace for a while once we hit the first climbs just out of town. At some point a potty break was even discussed as a group and agreed upon. That would make for an interesting picture with 70 women in the middle of no where doing their thing on the side of the road. Hmmm?
It always amazes me how much the pack "swirls" within itself and if you aren't up for the fight you find yourself sitting at the back unexpectedly and suddenly asking yourself how that just happened. So I constantly was near the front because it is generally a pretty safe place to be to keep yourself upright. Not the case today unfortunately. Girls kept going over the white line on the right into the gutter which was ok when the transition from the road to the gutter was gradual but at times it would radically change creating a mini 3 inch high wall that you would have to get up and over to get back in the pack. And a girl in front of me didn't see or notice or whatever that 3 inch wall that appeared from no where and I found myself watching her swerve one way, then the other, back the other way before her front tire turned 90 degrees and launched her onto the pavement RIGHT in front of me. I had time enough to look ahead, see that this was about to happen, look right (boxed in-oh no!), look left (boxed in there too!) and then ride right over her leg and bike. I just remember looking at that tan leg and thinking "I am sorry!!!!"
I don't remember what happen next except that I did land in the road facing backwards on my right side and when I opened my eyes all I saw were tires and more girls headed for ME now!!! I slightly remember curling up and then only recall myself actually running over to my bike that was about 10 feet away in a ditch facing forward on its side. I didn't think twice about grabbing it and remounting it like I was in a cyclocross race. Looking back on it I should have done a quick check of the skewers, saddle, drive train and all because if any of that was broken I could have gone down again on my OWN accord. But everything was functioning normally and perfectly if you can believe it. And I did do a visual skewer check almost immediately after being prompted by my teammate Jenn who was asking how I was and how the bike was. She helped me get back up to the pack to get back in the race. Thank god for teamies!
The pain from my thumb was almost immediate but I couldn't see through my glove nor did I have time to check it. It was just go go go!!! Get back in it! My right elbow, and side were hurting pretty bad too but I couldn't see what was going on there either because it was all covered. Those mysteries would have to remain until after the race when I got to (what I like to call) "open my presents" by revealing what nasty thing lie underneath my clothing. It makes it very exciting (kidding) as you never know what you are going to get (bruise, scratch, hemotoma, deep wound). Lovely times I tell you.
The other lovely time was when I went to grab my water bottles that had been (apparently!!) launched into outer space in the crash. Thank god for team mates yet again because we swapped water bottles left and right slurping off of each others. If someone had extra to give, they'd send it my way across the line of women racing. Crazy. Welcome to road racing! In a mtb race if your bottle launches you are so hosed but that wasn't the case today!
Throughout the next 60 miles my thumb got worse (more and more painful) and on the descents and cattle guards I thought I was going to scream bloody murder. Excruciating pain. Excruciating!! But then we would settle back into a rhythm on the hills and people would attack and I would forget any pain that was happening which is probably what got me through.
More girls went down for whatever reason here and there throughout the rest of the race and on one of the steep 19% climbs some gal actually fell over to the side. Like.....tipped! Weird. It was steep in places for sure on that last 7 miles. Hearing "oh no, wait, ahhhhh!!!!" then crack and the sound of metal wrapping itself around more metal is a nasty nasty sound and it just repeated itself over and over again it seemed like as more girls would fall victim to the pavement.
I am happy I hung in there to finish the race and would do it just the same again vs. DNFing. It wasn't that bad really. Once at the top, I got some Tylenol and headed back down to where all the team cars were (about 20 minutes down hill by bike) so we could pack up and drive 74 miles back to Silver City (stage 1 is a point to point vs an out and back or loop). Here we are at the team car area.
Jenn, Nina and Sonya
Ice Ice baby!!
Shannon and feeder numero three (Chris!!)
Nina and those dang ham sandwiches!
And once back to the race start line after sitting in the car for what seemed like hours poor Jen discovered missing keys to her rig.
She could have fit in the window for sure. You see the size of that climber?
Just where you want to be following a race.
After getting released from the hospital hours and hours and hours later, Nina and Sonya made us dinner at their host housing.....thank god....that apple wasn't doing the trick after riding 4.5 hours today.
Who got burned worse? Nice.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
We got to our host housing in Hurley, NM pretty late last night. Hurley is about 11 miles away from Silver City, NM where the race "officially" takes place. Hurley is a super TINY town but there are two things there I guess.......jack and s*&%. I should have known this when the directions to get to the house were to first turn left at the flashing yellow signal and then make another left after we crossed the railroad tracks. Oh my. My town of Heber City is a metropolis compared.
Looking left just outside Hurley.
Looking right just outside Hurley.
The street we were staying on with the nicest lady ever!
Chris keeping me company on my ride:
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
We hung in the heat with my Aunt and Uncle for under 18 hours and enjoyed every bit of the green grass, seething sun, and wonderful home cooking. My Aunt and Uncle are cleaning out their fridge and cupboards of all the food so our timing couldn't have been more timely for us all!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Yes, to Palm Desert again. For some reason I feel like I have done this route before......and all too recently as well. Oh ya, that cuz I did. Just over 2 weeks ago in fact when I went from the Fontana NMBS race to the Fountain Hills, AZ race. Hmmmm. For some strange reason my travels seem to be taking me in flipping circles, literally around the the country on the same freeways, to the same houses (I have seen my Aunt and Uncle 3 different times just this month and am seeing my buddy again in Fountain Hills too) . All good things but good gravy!
Well actually this reason is strange. I am headed to the Tour of the Gila RR this weekend. Say what? A road race for the mtb chickie? That's right! I thought it would be a good 19% hill climb adventure in the middle of hanging in Santa Barbara, CA for a month. Why not? If you can, you might as well so I am gonna drive to New Mexico for some good ole arse whooping on the road. You think I would actually stay in ONE place for a month. I would nev-ah!I cannot wait to see what is up my ally for the next week at the Gila. It is going to be an eye opener for sure. I like learning and that is a good thing, because I will be learning while in the line of fire for 5 days during the race. Thank heavens we have a team of 6 mtb gals, some of whom have done this race before too. Our team name is "Sobe Bella" because it is a mix of the SoBe Cannondale MTB Team and the Velo Bella squad: Jennifer Wilson, Shannon Gibson, Nina Baum, Sonya Looney, Jose Nelson and myself.
But first I bring to you the commute update of the day....
A fire on I-10 slowed us down a bit (note the black grass):
The wind mills of Palm Springs looking like soldiers.
Heading back to Fountain Hills tomorrow. 95 degrees and steaming!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I am excited to announce that I have a new feature on MTBracenews.com called Kathy Sherwin Knows. The feature started running earlier this month and runs every Wednesday with my answer to your question of my choice about cycling.
Please click here to learn more about the feature and/or to ask me about whatever is on your mind about our awesome two wheeled sport!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Even though it's great here with all the riders I have been seeing out and about, sometimes I think I am better off training alone in Heber City, UT. That way I can just do what I need to do without getting the urge to pass or put more pressure on the peddles when I shouldn't be. It is definitely a test here in CA!!
I kept telling myself today "build not bore" (a hole) ...... as I would get passed and passed and passed again and again. It was hard!!!
First this guy sat on my wheel before he decided I was too dang slow anyone.
Then this gal passed me on some kind of cruiser bike, pedal mashing on flat pedals in her tennis shoes with her helmet on sideways. Good on her. I hope I gave her an ego boost and she will keep getting out there to ride cuz she clearly had an engine.
Afterwards, Tamera of the Santa Barbara crew came over to say howdy doody and have some dinner with us. But really I think that she came over just to be put on my blog. :)
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Still whomped but I am getting out a bit to spin the legs here and there which is good. Saw at least 50 riders in about an hours time which I thought was impressive compared to seeing around 10 riders in 3 hours in Heber City.
Kind of non eventful day except our big trip to TJ's and Costco. That is all the excitement I could handle in one day after a big weekend of racing I think. Other than that it is just sleepy time all the time.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
SoBe-Cannondale works together and takes a 2-3-4 in the Cross Country!
I woke up this morning before my alarm clock feeling awesome (yes, some of us need an alarm clock to wake up at 9am I admit). I felt totally awake immediately and was extremely hungry right off the bat which I LOVE especially when you have a 3 hour race coming up. I popped 4 bagels no problemo. Big ones too. That was impressive I thought. I even forgot to have my coffee this morning - that is how awake and alert I was already. Wow. That is a great sign of things to come on a Cross Country race day.
3800 vertical feet of climbing worthy of about 3 hours in the saddle awaited on this lovely sunny morning and I got to the SoBe/Cannondale tent nice and early. I got on my trainer and started my warm up and things were going great until one of the straps from the tent got wrapped around my hub and pulled me, the bike and the trainer all backward, up into the air like a bucking horse. I had no idea what the heck had just happened as my legs stopped for a moment to look down and see the disaster around my rear hub. Everything turned out just fine luckily and was just a bump in the long road ahead of me today.
The race got started at 12:30pm on the Laguna Seca Raceway. As the Pro Women made their way along the smooth pavement waiting to dive onto the dirt first, all you could hear was the wherrrr sound of knobby tires on pavement - it sounded like a big bee coming your way.
On the first downhill Kelli Emmett and I were off the front but the chase group caught back on quickly at the bottom not ready to surrender to anything quite yet. As some of the group came together, Kelli E. (in first place still) started slowly but surely going a speck faster than I was which eventually created a big enough gap that she was able to hold. About 30 minutes in the chase group consisting of myself, teammates Jenna and Emily and Lea Davison (Trek) decided to work together over the course of the next 38 mile race to try and catch Kelli with the power of 4. But apparently we needed the power of 25 because we were able to close the gap a little but clearly "that Emmett" had some sweet leggies today and was holding her own just fine in the howling wind. Nice work Emmett!!
On the second of two laps I let er rip on the downhill and was followed closely by Jenna Zander (my teammate!). We had established a good size gap pretty quickly and to take advantage Jenna and I upped the pace and suffered like pigs to bring it in 2nd (Jenna) and 3rd (my best finish yet at a big race!) across the finish line.
Emily Van Meter (SoBe-Cannondale) was being followed closely by Lea still on the second lap and decided to put the hammer down to open it up and not drag Lea up to Jenna and myself. Emily rocked 4th with that move leaving Lea Davison (the winner of the Super D and Short Track this weekend) to come in 5th. Lea had quite the weekend and we all had fun working with her trying to catch Kelli. I can't tell you how cool it is to be out here hammering with your buddies and teammates going for Top 5. It was down right FUN!
It was nice to be feeling the love today like no other. It was total opposite of yesterday (thank heavens!) and things just seemed easy. It was a good hurt and not a please kill me hurt. There were no problems or cares in the world today as I made circles at Laguna Seca for 3 hours trying to catch that Emmett. Things were so aligned today that even my GU Energy Gel packets came out of my back pocket in the order I would have wanted them to. Now THAT is a good day.
Read more interview-ee after race stuff here and here.
See race start pics here and here.
Our other teammate Theresa Richardson had a great race too along with dropping her cell phone in the port - o - jon earlier this weekend. That has got to hurt! She is the second racer I know to have done that.
5000 calories burned = you can eat whatever you darn well please for once.
Chris was put to work by several teams today in the feed zone. What a guy to come all the way out to the Sea Otter Classic to work for me and not watch a whole heck of a lot of racing (feed zones are never really spectator friendly).
After grubbing it was hot tub thirty at our host housing and a really early night. I was zonked.