Woohoo! I’ve been a bit off the charts… but we are in the midst of crit (and road race… but most importantly crit) season!
In case you are not familiar, a “crit” is a criterium – a closed-course race where you pretty much ride around in a circle for a set amount of time. It sounds boring, but actually I would argue that it is the most exciting type of race for spectators because you get to see the dynamics of the race at least every mile, whereas a road race you may only see the middle and end. How do you win? Well, the first person to cross the finish line (and completing the most laps) wins the overall, but there are “primes” – prizes for winning an individual lap – throughout the crit as well. This spices up the race, and sometimes the primes are better than the overall prizes! It’s fast, it’s fun, and it’s all about strategy.
Here’s a race recap for 2015 Road Season thus far:
Pace Bend Road Race (2/22)
First race of the year, and I had no idea how it would go. Road races with any sort of elevation are not my strong suit. The week before the race, my teammate James let me borrow his wheels and cassette. This was my first time in my life to change something on my bike for a race… haha, I’m serious. For the last couple years I have been using an 11-21… And it wasn’t until I was at the Bicycle Tour of Colorado last June that anyone pointed out that I was using literally the hardest 10-speed gear ratio available. To climb up mountains. Real mountains. The kind you have no more gears left, with a cadence of 45 and going 4mph… those kind of mountains. Yeah.. anyway, my genius of a boyfriend pushed me to actually be proactive in obtaining a DIFFERENT cassette for road racing… no wonder I have always referred the big-ring-only races (ahem..CRITS)!
Anyway, so I get this new wheelset with a 12-26 cassette (shoutout again to James for hooking me up) and try it out for two rides before the race weekend, and couldn’t really tell any difference since I LIVE IN HOUSTON and there are no hills to practice on. Haha. Anyway, so the first day was Walburg road race and I went to cheer on my teammates and boyfriend/other friends, but I didn’t race because I offered to drive at 3:30 am and instead just race Pace Bend on Sunday. Come Sunday, we wake up to very cold and drizzly weather… great! Haha, luckily we have had a pretty rainy year, so I’ve been training in all sorts of weather. Practicing in any condition really helps you to HTFU on race day!
Before I started warming up, I took my bike to the mechanic to get my shifting adjusted… it still needed some tweaks from when I originally changed out the cassette. They made a few small changes and I had about 5 minutes to “warm up”… AKA I rode my bike about half a mile to the start and just lined up with the other Cat 4 women.
The race was pretty tame. I think the first hill there were some attacks, but the loop was short (I think around 6 miles) and I paid close attention to the efforts at different points in the loop because, as I assumed, it became pretty well mirrored the rest of the race. The best part of the whole thing? Those hills felt EASY! That cassette pretty much changed my life… I could spin and actually felt like I was recovering at times when some others were gasping for air! Although I could hardly see because I was wearing sunglasses (instead of clear lenses) and dirty water was pretty much constantly being spewed in my face, I was feeling confident and optimistic. Ha
About 3 miles from the finish, at the very bottom of a hill, I shifted up – and my chain and heart dropped. I tried to shift back down and slowly pedal it out, but to no avail. As the pack started to pass me up the hill, I pulled off, jumped off, threw my chain back on, and jumped back with just enough time to beat the follow car. After time-trialing my way off the back of the pack for the remainder of the race, I finished just behind the rest of the pack for 24th out of ~40 starters. Not the best, but I definitely never gave up, which is a win in my book because that is often my biggest problem!
La Primavera at Lago Vista Road Race – Day 1 and 2 (3/7 and 3/8)
Lago Vista is known as one of the best races in Texas. We race two days on the same course, except opposite directions. The first day is a lot of long climbs with some dangerous descents on the back-end. The second day you have to climb those sharp descents you flew down the day before, which almost broke me! I was really happy with my results on this race – I finished 8th the first day and 5th the second day!
**one month gone in Europe with no bike…**
Bear Creek Crit Series Week #3 (first week I was in town)
My first race back after my Euro trip was the 2nd week of the Bear Creek Crit series Women’s Open race. It was a 50 minute crit and I finished 3rd place! (Winning $5…. woohoo! haha)
Coldspring Road Race (5/2)
The race weekend of Coldspring and Houston Grand Crit I was extremely sick… in fact, the following Monday I went to the doctor where I was given antibiotics for a chest infection… no wonder I couldn’t breathe without coughing! Anyway, Coldspring RR was a Women’s 3/4 race and my only goal was to stay with the pack… and that’s pretty much what I did. I felt good the entire race, and my only struggle was (of course) the big climb at the finish line. I ended up in 14th place.
Houston Grand Criterium – my personal favorite event of the year. It is the biggest and best race we have IN Houston…. it is literally in the loop and next to downtown. Perhaps my best result to date… I ended up 5th place in this very fast and aggressive race. :) And my mom came to watch me! That was the 2nd time she had ever seen me race.
Bear Creek Crit week #4 (week #3 was cancelled due to rain), and I got another 3rd place finish!
Double Lake Bigger Ring Challenge
I know this is a road results post, but just a mention from “back in time” …. before the road season started, I just HAD to race on my new 27.5″ mountain bike…. I did the 1 Lap race at the Bigger Ring Challenge and got 3rd place in my category!! And so did my boyfriend (who is NOT a mountain biker). :) Yay bikes!
So I know I got a lot less detailed on these last race results.. I am coming off of another race weekend and I have more to post but I need to just get this one finished with! Haha I really hope I can start to post these more timely so that I can keep them more detailed and relevant…. :)