So, I’ve procrastinated writing this entry for about a week and a half. My race at John Bryan was my worst so far in the season and kind of a mess from beginning to tenth place finish.
- It was cold out. During warm up, I couldn’t feel my toes and my fingers were freezing in my Pearl Izumi “cool weather” gloves.
- The start was a mess. I had second call up, so I strategically positioned myself. Another girl came and wedged herself between me and the other girl in the grid, which while I was a little miffed at, wasn’t a big deal. Then, a girl with a second row call-up quietly eased herself into the first row, making nine people wedged elbow-to-elbow in an eight person row.
- This meant that my abysmal reaction time was even more of a hindrance, because the extra close quarters made maneuvering and avoiding everyone else’s wheels even more difficult.
- So, I’m a few people back. No big! I’ve come back from worse.
- A few minutes later, on the first small, steep descent, the girl immediately in front of me crashed.
- Because I was so close to her and because my brakes were once again only-kind-of working, I had to make an emergency dismount or plow right into her.
- However, this was on a part of the course that was a few tight, up-and-down “S” curves. So not only did I have to dismount, but I had to wait for people to pass me (since I couldn’t just interject myself into a row of moving cyclists), run up the small incline, and remount.
- So, I quickly remounted and started down the next small hill. Because I had done an “emergency dismount”, however, my pedals were not in my usual remounting position and I couldn’t find them with my feet in time to maneuver around the hairpin turn. A spectator heard me literally yell “Where are my pedals?!” as I coasted down the hill and was forced to completely stop, run up the next incline, and remount (this time, thankfully, I was able to find my stupid pedals).
- Of course, at this point, I’m almost in the back of the pack. I was able to fly by a decent number of people but the course was full of turns and technical features which made it nearly impossible to pass anyone on large portions of it. At least for me. I’m sure experienced riders had no problem.
- So, I sit on someone’s wheel until the next straightaway. By this point, I’m sure the leaders are way far gone, but maybe I can at least pull close.
- Whoops – caught behind someone else for another quarter of a lap!
- I finally had a straightaway to myself at the beginning of the second lap. I put my head down and made a charge for it… and my chain promptly dropped. Cursing to myself, I dismounted and tried to quickly put it back on the chain ring where it belonged but of course, it kept getting tangled and stuck in the derailleur/other chain ring/etc. So it took me a solid 45 seconds to get it back on, which is kind of a big deal. Of course, all those people I had worked so hard to pass flew right by me, some even hollering to ask if I was okay.
- Once I got the chain ring back on, the rest of the race was pretty much just being stuck behind people, passing them, and then getting stuck behind someone else.
I ended coming in 10th of 21 in my wave, and 5th of 9 in my category.
Below is some technical jargon no one else will really care about but that I feel like recording for posterity’s sake:
I record my heart rate data on Training Peaks and it gives you a number called “TSS Score”. I forget what it means, but it’s basically a score of your exertion during an activity. 100 TSS is basically as hard as you can go for an hour (meaning you can’t go faster but you can still make the hour at that level of effort).
My previous two races had TSS scores of 59.7 (for a 30 minute effort, average HR of 180, max 190) and 61.1 (for a 36 minute effort, average HR 177, max 192). This race was about 30 minutes and I ended with a TSS score of 44.4 and an average heart rate of 173, max 182.