it’s been two days since i’ve been back from racing the three day stage race otherwise known as the tour of the red river gorge. i’ve been trying to gather my thoughts from the entire weekend and put them into some sort of cohesive report. i did this race last year and it was the race that sealed the deal on my love of bike racing. i vaguely recall kicking back in the airstream on the way home from last years’ race and texting my friend and running coach that i was pretty sure it was going to be a long time before i ever ran another marathon or even thought about boston.
i went back to race the gorge this year. the stages were a bit different – the prologue was shorter and the course way cooler, and they did away with the ridiculous crit. so it was a 6.6 mile prologue on friday, followed by 52 miles on saturday (a “kinder gentler” route) and then a shit harder, hillier 52 miles on sunday.
i was crazy nervous at the prologue. it was only my second time trial ever. the first one was at the same race last year. i hate that ramp start, and the feeling all crooked on my bike and having to hold my feet level when i really want my right leg locked and in the semi- upright position. anyway. its’ nice when you know the guy holding you and your bike up. at the top of that ramp at the top of a hill. cause i could just say i’m super nervous, and you’re holding me crooked. and he could say, suzanne, you’re fine, you’re not crooked, i’ll get you out of here straight. and then the other guy you know is counting down and says 5,4,3,2,1. and you go. and for a nano-second you think about how nice it is to know so many nice people. and then you just forget about all the nice people you know and haul ass and pedal.
i was the last girl to go. the last girl of the entire night. my start time was 7:18. it had been 90+ degrees that day, but by 7:18, i swear there was a whisper of a cool breeze. and i even got to race my flashy fast flashpoints for the first time ever since i won them a year ago. i had to wrestle them off my husbands’ bike, but i got them.
my thirty second girl (the girl who left the start house 30 seconds before me for those of you who have no idea what i’m talking about) was a national champion. i’m all for optimism, but there was no chance in hell i was gonna catch her. but i kept pedaling super hard. just in case.
it was hurting. a lot. i was nervous that maybe i had blown my wad too soon. so i dialed it back just a smidge. and then i saw my minute girl. that’s the girl who left the start house a full minute before me. (i’m here to help) and after the turn around point, i started to reel her in. i was close, and almost had her. but the finish line arch came up before i could get her.
and it was all good. i don’t know jack about time trials, but i know its’ good to start to catch folks in front. it was super fun and after dinner out with a bunch of nice people i know, i was ready for the next day.
so, like the race that was in stages – the bloggy race reports will be in stages as well. stage two is a doozy.