No photos today for you except for the ones that Dave McElwaine took. Unfortunately that second picture in my glasses WAS all about I saw the whole race. And, yes, for some of you boys I am sure you may dig that but for me that was not what I wanted to see. Dave took another of yesterdays Short Track as well. If interested its here.
Early this morning I got a message from my awesome coach, Alison D that they had changed the laps to ONE (from two laps) for women. I wasn't excited or unhappy but thought that it would be best to move forward as if it was still two 19 miles laps that we were doing because heaven knows that it could be changed back! This ain't my first rodeo!
I couldn't understand why they had made that decision until I got the venue to start warming up. Man it was hot and expected to get even hotter. I went through THREE bottles of Hammer drink just warming up (normally I just get one in). Salinas which is a town just down the road from the Laguna Seca raceway got in to the 90's today!!! And that is what we raced in if you can believe it.
I actually felt good today again although a 15th place would be all I could muster up. I will take the (slow) consistency for now but will be expecting WAY more out of the future of this season. I was able to stay with the leaders longer than at the Fontana race and that is what matters because that means my training is going in the right direction. Wish I could say that about my family life but that is another story that I cannot control. Back to what I CAN control.....I felt like my transitions were spot on and my climbing was good too. I am not going to shirk any of this as I would normally like to do because it is important to focus on the GOOD.
I did drop my chain which was my dork mistake and got passed by a few gals. Think I reeled only one back in. Boooooo!! As for "race brain" that I have been getting in the last races, that was gone. It seems at 4 races now into the season that I have worked through that thank heavens. The other interesting mishap was me getting bounced onto the top tube of my bike after hitting a rut really wrong. I think I did about 20-30 feet of that part of the downhill sitting on my top tube. Yeah.....a bit sketch for sure. Not sure how I continued to roll on and correct it without stopping or crashing either. I guess that is where a strong mind comes into play because it would have been easy to NOT try and get out of that one.
But I did have race brain BEFORE the race today. Forgot my timing chip. First time in 8 years of racing here that I pulled that one. I didn't get my underwear in a bunch and it all got worked out since I have a fantastic hubby and team wrench, C Mag.
So I guess you could say that it was not cold today out on the course, that is for sure. And the words DNF bounced around in my head about 20 minutes into the race as the heat beamed into every pore of mine taking any energy left over AWAY. It was totally draining and took it toll on the body in a completely different way than what we as pro athletes put it through to begin with.
Everytime I looked down at my heart rate it was 180 bpm plus. That is usually my "attack" pace, not my everyday race pace. It was amazing how the heat affects your body. After inching my way along and begging my body to keep moving forward into the thick blanket of heat I finally had made it alone to the backside of the course in 15th place. It was there that I made the decision to take it down a notch which is a first in my career. I thought that was the best idea vs. beating myself into the ground trying to get 14th which of course is what I would have normally done in normal circumstance. But I thought to myself that if I am thinking this way for the first time ever then I better listen to that inner voice of mine and do right by it. Plus I didn't want to do more harm to my body than was already occurring. So I brought my heart rate down to about 175 which wasn't much slower but it WAS enough slower for a group of girls to catch up to me on the very last dirt climb before hitting pavement. All I could think of was "Son of #@$%&!!!!!" because when you been riding alone that long and you get caught at the last second, that sucks. But I put myself in that scenario by willingly slowing down. I KNEW that I could get caught by doing so....and I did.
But then it was time to suck it up and race a little instead of losing spots at the last second. So with an appropriately timed attack by me with a good singletrack descent following that, I was able to maintain my position across the finish line. I would have NEVER forgiven myself had I let go of my 15th place and in the end they made me work for it!!
After the 1.5 hour race I was so completely out of it as I stood there barely able to stand up. There were others racers laying on the ground at the finish line getting water and ice poured all over them and medics being used left and right. C Mag just stood by me for at least 5 solid minutes and doused me we water from head to toe. I have never thought a cold shower felt so good in my entire life!!
It took a good 30 minutes to really get my act together just so I could warm down. I couldn't think and was all over the place prior to that. I don't even remember my beloved timing chip being cut off my ankle? Wow. When that happen? I continued to have residual race brain until I got back to host housing in Pacific Grove about 2 hours later. I still couldn't think, couldn't really connect what I was trying to think and say along with feeling sick too.
I can still feel at this moment that my insides are not right...all from the heat. That is why I am still up. I just feel icky! So maybe my idea to slow down on the back side of the course was a smart one??? If I am not in the hospital, I guess it was.