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Sarah Tisdale's blog
Sure, the Cross Crusade has the glamour and the "scene" - photographers out the wazoo, krazy kross kowbells, and even mini-movies each week! Still, the smaller Saturday races have a lot going for them.
At Heiser Farms, the organizer set up equal prize purses for the MenA and WomenA, which meant prize money ten deep! Jan and I figured (rightly) fewer than 10 WomenA racers would show - guaranteed prize money (or so we thought)! So, we carpooled down together.
In addition to prize money, I have two words: Pumpkin Cannon (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oD_dwQkB5Bs)
The course was slightly different this year. We parked in a different location and had a "lead in" section before reaching and repeating the "usual" main circuit.
Naturally, before the WomenA race, we did the Master's race. I got the "hole shot", but that didn't really matter because then we hit "the mud". This was not Barlow Mud. This was not Rainier Mud. If this mud was an alien life force, it would be close-encounter-of-the-seventh-or-eighth-kind-mud, because it was probing every corner of our bikes and bodies. Witness this mud in some photos. The course was so muddy that we only managed *three* laps in 45 minutes. Two endos and countless wipeouts later, I finished the MasterA race victorious! GPS Log of the MasterA race.
Sadly, Jan was unlucky at the start. Two minutes into the race a small pebble lodged in her derailleur and promptly tore it off. Game over. Phooey!
No time for celebration - I drank a bottle of water+malto+nuun (are you listening Jen?), then rode back to the start for the WomenA race! We were like muddy clowns sliding around. One would get up, fall back down, another would get up and fall back down, and so on. It was so much "racing" as "repeatedly falling in the right direction".
Then the rain stopped and the mud thickened. What started as slimy was now chunky. I have raced in a lot of mud and until that day, I have *never* had to stop and clear mud out of my bike. The mud kept caking on thicker and thicker and the wheels simply stopped turning! The bike weighed easily double its normal weight. It was so heavy I had to shoulder it just to get over the barriers. I stopped riding sections - not because I couldn't ride them - but because I didn't want the mud to collect on the bike. On the final lap, I caught and passed a rider and finished second! GPS Log of the WomenA race.
We hot-footed it to "Scott's Cycles" in Salem to get Jan's bike fixed. They stayed late and got her repaired and set up to race on Sunday. Then we hit the "Willamette Burger Company" in Salem at 14th and Broadway for excellent burgers and beers. Yum! Recommended! (Thanks to Tessa for the restaurant tip!)
The Franz Bakery Criterium was a brand new race this year. Put on by Franz Bakery and Veloce Bicycles, this exciting race is unlike any other on the calendar.
This race was a mix of a criterium and a track "points race". It rewarded prime sprinting (prizes) and finish sprinting (30points for 1st, 25points for 2nd, ... down to 1pt for 15th). But the unique part was that, like a track race, it also awarded 2points (and $1) for 1st place on each lap. This meant that consistent/early effort could rack up points and cash.
Course: The course is hands-down one of the best and most fun crit courses in Portland! This is no boring 4-corner criterium. With a "figure-eight" layout, it has sweeping fast descending corners, some technical pavement sections, some punchy hills. An excellent "all-rounder" course.
The Field: Jan and I represented Sorella Forte. At the start line, we sized up the other racers. Ironclad was numerically (and alphabetically) advantaged - Anna, Anona, and Brianna. Amy Campbell (RCB) has been a very strong crit racer this year and had a teammate, Bridgette. We didn't know the wild-card Vanderkitten racer, Starla, but Vaderkitten racers are usually pretty strong! Erin Playman came out to play as well. All told, we had a field of ~15.
Strategy: With strong competition from Anna, Brianna, Amy, and Brigitte, we figured if we tried an early breakaway it would be unlikely to succeed. Instead we decided to let the stronger riders duke it out for a bit and go for points once they started tiring.
The Race: Right from the start, Ironclad took control. Anna and Brianna were taking turns attacking. Anona did a good job blocking and confounding the chase. After chasing Anna/Brianna down a few times, Anna got away and no one chased her. A few of us put in some effort to chase her, but after a while Anna had racked up enough points that she had 1st place locked up. At that point, it became like a standard criterium and the rest of us raced for 2nd place.
Prime: They announced a field prime. I knew from watching the men's races that if you were first around the last corner, you would usually win the sprint. I drilled it up the hill, was first around the corner and held everyone off for the prime! Wahoo!
Final Sprint: The rest of the race was fairly uneventful - a few people tried getting away, but everything was chased down. On the final lap, I was in decent, but not great position. I timed my sprint very well and passed several who had gone to early on the final climb up to the finish. I took 4th in the field sprint (5th overall). Full results.
I forgot my computer, so no fancy data-bits for this race. I won some sunglasses for the prime, and we all took home free bread from the bakery (Yum - I didn't know Franz made multi-grain bread)! Kudos to Ironclad for a well-executed race! This race is on my must-race list for next year!
Photo courtesy Jim Long
Jen, Kim, Anne, and I raced the OBRA Championship Team Time Trial in Tangent today. It's the state championship because there's only one TTT all year! I was nominated to write the report, so I'll try to make it entertaining.
Anne, Kim, and I are old, but Jen is still a young'un. This meant we couldn't register as Masters and instead had to register for the "Open Women" category. We would be racing against the best teams from Veloforma and TAI. Both teams have *excellent* time trialists. Yikes!
Team Time Trial is one of the most dangerous events in racing. [ominous music] First problem, your friends. Four teammates racing at their physical limits, drafting as close as possible, on bikes that don't handle very well, in positions that make it hard to see. Oh, and just for fun, your hands aren't anywhere near your brakes! Second problem, your enemies - teams pass each other, and things get really interesting.
Have you ever wondered how far you could ride your bike in 12 hours? How about 24 hours? It turns out there is a race to help you answer these *important* questions.
The Lewis & Clark Ultra course consists of one 140mi "day loop". They advertise it as having "over 5700' of climbing". This is not technically a lie since the 10250' climbing my GPS recorded is "over< 5700". Along the day loop are time-stations where you check in and re-supply. In the morning, you give them drop-bags that they take to the time-stations. Pretty neat. After you finish the "day loop", you do repeated laps around the 9.6mi "night loop". The night loop has about 435' climbing, much of which is on two leg-bustingly short-but-steep climbs - cruel after so many miles in the saddle.