Monday, February 18, 2008

Kimberly's Valley Of The Sun Race Report

Kimberly, congratulations on finishing all your races and having the Chicken Ranch go for it attitude. Rest up, the season is early.

Hi Everyone!

Well I survived the valley of the sun weekend :-). I am sure people
will report on all sorts of fun (and fun-ny) stuff that went on...but
since they haven't yet, I'll start things off with a report of my race.
I don't have any photos for the team blog, but considering how many
times I saw the camera out this weekend, I'm sure there are MANY that
will surface.

I don't have any stellar results to report....other than that I had a
blast, and did manage to finish the thing, and not DFL either! Here is
my brief report.

Day 1: Lots of riding in the car...hours and hours of it! Much of this
time was watching the weather on my iphone and watching the chance of
rain go up and up. I thought we were going to Valley of the SUN!????

Day 2: TT. Woke up early. My start time was not until 1:54! However,
Brett's was early, so we were off bright and early. We raided the
hotel's free breakfast on our way out. They caught on to us by day 2
and put out less of the "portable food." The rain started
mid-morning...and depending on when your start time was, it was either
cold, windy, rainy, all, or none (I had wind and a teeny bit of rain
during my 38 minutes of pain)! The people in the morning claimed that
the way out was harder, and there would be a tailwind on the way
back....but alas when I reached the turnaround it was not to be, and I
found myself facing a headwind the entire way back. Oh well. I
actually felt pretty good, and rode a good TT (for me), although
afterwards I found myself in 15th place. Oh well...this is early season
for me, and there were some FAST women here! The most stressful part
of it was 5 minutes before my start time when I discovered my rear brake
was sticking really badly. Everyone was trying to fix it, and it turned
out to not be fixable in 2 minutes or off I went, with the
words of wisdom from the guys "don't use the rear don't need
your brakes in a TT anyway"... Thankfully even in my delirious state, I
remembered not to touch it, and so I don't think it cost me
anything.... I won't spoil the other results...

Day 3: RR. I was worried about the road race. Coming off the flu, and
this being really early-season for me, I knew my climbing was not going
to be where it needed to be. And alas, it wasn't! It was a 58 mile
race, with what turned out to be about 3000 feet of climb. (at least
thats what my computer said afterwards) They combined fields with the
women's P/1/2 so we had a field size of ~75! It was by far the largest
and fastest field I have raced in. The road was narrow, and the CL rule
was in effect, so it was really hard to move around. I was fine on lap
1, and on the first half of lap 2, but since it was a QOM lap, the pact
was blistering, and I got gapped. My flat riding skills and descending,
however, are not so bad, so I started chasing on the backside
immediately. I quickly caught up to a woman from the P1/2 race who had
flatted, and we chased the pack back down. She was very strong, and we
shared the work. I sat in the pack and recovered until the hill came
around again. Alas, I got gapped on this hill, too. This time, there
were 3 of us reasonably strong who started a chase. However, one of the
girls was not quite strong enough, and she let a little gap form. The
other girl was REALLY strong, and she kept saying we were going to have
to pick it up to catch on. I was willing, but I got caught when the
other girl started to drop off and I was behind her. I tried in vain to
catch the other girl, but I didn't quite make it. I let the other girl
catch on, and we started hammering. Soon we caught 2 other girls who
were OTB as well. The 4 of us kept pushing, but never quite made it.
The peoloton was hovering like a mirage...close enough to make me want
to give it everything, but too far. There were 2 girls fading
fast....complaining about bonking, so 2 of us did most of the chasing.
However, we didn't ever quite make it, and finished off the back.
Bummer. When I looked at my data, I saw that I worked harder in the
last 16 miles of the RR, than I did in the 14 mile TT the day before!
Oh well. I was pretty disappointed, but at the same time, I was happy
with my perseverance, and I can't really kid myself about being ready
for climbing races, even the smaller hills...I guess I've gotta get out
there and do my climbing intervals...
I think I was in 20th place after the RR...

Day 4: Crit. The crit was an 8 corner number...kind of a figure 8
shape. I usually love crits, but I have only done one other 1-2-3 crit,
and that only had 12 I must say that a crit with over 75
people did really intimidate me! I was feeling severely outclassed from
getting dropped in the RR, and so I just didn't have my usual fire. By
the time it started, I had seen a few crashes in other fields, and was
kind of letting it all get the better of me. Then in lap 2, someone
bounced right into me, and although I was able to easily save it, it
freaked me out and I hovered in the back for awhile. A long while.
About 1/3 of the way in, I realized I was plenty strong, and my legs
were feeling good. I didn't have any problems following the surges and
I can corner fine, so that was ok. I was just a little scared of the
pack size, and some of the sketchy riders. It was a really fun course,
though, and I think if i had to do it again, I'd have a lot more fun
with it. I had bad positioning coming into the final lap, and so
although I passed a bunch of people, I still managed only to get 14th in
the 3s. Oh well. I feel good about the race, though, and about my
power on the flats. It will all come together eventually! It is really
easy to get ahead of myself, and expect too much, but the bottom line is
that I have only ever raced a handful of crits, and experience seems to
count for a lot!

My final result was 18th I believe...not that it matters much!

I have to say that the whole experience was a lot of fun, and I'm
already looking forward to the next one! I cannot express how great it
was to have so much team support and comaraderie. Having the trailer to
sleep/eat/hang out in during the day was invaluable, and everyone was so
helpful and supportive. It was really great. I think everyone had a
good time. And all the joking around even made the drive seem less
long and unbearable :-). Thanks to Craig and Matt for doing all the

I'm sure the jokes will get around in time...or maybe they won't!
You'll have to just go on one of these team trips to see for
yourselves! I highly recommend it.

Kimberly (recovering today).

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