Just finished a busy few weeks of racing (which will continue through June). I haven’t had the energy to write individual race reports so catching up on a few highlights here.
May 22 – Kitchen Road Criterium – Women’s 35+, 1st Place
This race is pretty special. My first crit win. I went into the race feeling pretty rested as I had been feeling quite tired the preceding week and took 3 days off training (had a very busy work week). I really didn’t know if my legs would have any pep in them.
It had been raining overnight but thankfully the track and paint lines were not slick for our race. We had 35+ women (5 of us) and 65+ men (3 of them) on the field at the same time. Our race was 22 laps and lasted about an hour. The field was strong. A few attacks by women and men but nothing stuck and the entire pack stayed together until the sprint finish.
I had my eyes on Masami with Velo Shop as she has been quite successful in crits and is a strong sprinter. As soon as she made her move in the last lap I went with her and rode her wheel into the final sprint where I was able to pull around and move past her just before the finish.
Talk about a rush! Coming from a time trial/triathlon background where you race at a certain percentage above or below your threshold (for me, ~215 watts) for the whole entire race, this final sprint was insane. I hit 700 watts for max power and was >500 watts for 20 seconds. There’s no way I could ever hold those numbers on a bike trainer, it was all the adrenaline of racing.
May 28 – Hammonton Sprint Tri – 3rd pl AG
This race was a reminder of “What not to do” when you race a tri.
The swim. I wore a brand new wetsuit (which is amazing, don’t get me wrong, I love the BlueSeventy Helix) without testing it at all. I was literally ripping the tags off of it in transition. It got really hot Memorial Day weekend and we had no time to acclimate. Lake temp was wetsuit legal but not really cold and the air was warm and sun out.
I didn’t get a chance to warm up in water beyond about 10 strokes before we got called back to shore. So I was overheated but not warmed up before we started. The 1/4 mile swim start was pretty chaotic and I tried to follow fast feet but ended up short of breath from going out too hard. Then I got that chest constricting feeling and heavy arms and legs and wondered if I was even going to be able to finish the swim. I haven’t been in the water much lately but 400m should not be a problem. I actually pulled over to the kayak and held on for a little bit to take a few deep breaths and calm down then get started again with a slower stroke rate. I finished the swim and was very relieved to be back on land and headed to my bike!
I fumbled a bit in transition because that swim experience threw me out of rhythm and I was still just trying to calm down.
Finally got onto the bike and took off. It was quite warm and I didn’t have any hydration on my bike. I figured “why bother” for a 12 mile bike ride. Which in most cases is probably the right answer, but warm temps with no heat acclimation is probably not ideal.
I passed a lot of people on the bike and put in a pretty solid bike split, although certainly not my best performance.
I had a smoother T2 and went out for the run. It was hot and I was feeling it. While I haven’t been doing much run training recently, I have been doing some so the run shouldn’t have felt that bad. I kept running and didn’t walk, although I logged my slowest 5K in a tri ever.
I was so relieved to round the corner and see the finish line. We were in shade for a portion of the run, but the humidity was quite pervasive. At least I had the forethought to bring a water bottle on the run with me!
I was very happy to see the results and that I had earned an AG podium spot. My bike split saved my race.
It was good to dust off the triathlon skills – and made me realized that no matter how many you have done, there is always something to be said for practicing race skills like Open Water swims, transitions, and testing all your gear before race day.
June 4 – Philly Amateur TT – 3rd Place Cat 4 Women
The Philly TT is held every year on the same weekend as the Philly Pro Bike Race. 8 mile course, out and back, on West River Drive (near the Art Museum). Flat and closed to traffic. 20 women registered for Cat 4, which is a pretty good turnout. And some solid bike racers on the entry list.
Got in a solid warmup as I car pooled with my friend Sue and we got to the race SUPER early. I was able to pre-ride the course and check out potholes and expansion joints and landmarks. I met one of our new Guy’s Racing teammates and gave her one of my jerseys from last year to get her started. Then I hopped on the trainer and did some more warmup with a few VO2 efforts to get the heart ready to pump blood!
I intended to try to push power numbers over my threshold the whole way (check, accomplished that). I also hoped to keep my head down as much as possible as opposed to sitting up with a periscope head. That’s fine for long races when comfort trumps aerodynamics, but for an 8 mile TT, just deal with it. However, I found that I get a little dizzy when I put my head down and stare at my front wheel and only lift my eyes a bit. So riding position was good but not optimal.
Unlike a crit where you pretty much know how you finished, we had to stand around to see the results posted. I was quite happy to see I took third. None of that was a given against such a strong field. This earned me some more points in the PA BAR cup (best all-around rider).
June 5 – Independence Sprint Tri – 1st place AG, 8/127 overall females
Redemption on the triathlon front this weekend…learning from my mistakes the prior weekend. I raced in my Team Wattie Ink skinsuit, no wetsuit for the swim. I was able to get a very solid warmup in the water before the race started. The swim start was a bit crazy with only one wave for the females so there was quite bit of bumping and kicking until the first buoy. But I swam smoothly without anxiety and exited the water feeling good and ready to ride.
The bike was great. I know this course well, same road as the Delaware Valley Duathlon. Rolling hills. I was able to ride hard and pass a lot of people. And no flat tires this time. I had one small snafu as I was riding back on the park roads down into transition. The marshall was sitting in his lawn chair back from the corner and I didn’t see him…I just noticed the tape they had up that continued on (but was actually pointing out directions to race parking). I realized somewhat quickly that I was going the wrong way and did a u-turn and got myself to the right place. Probably cost me 20-30 seconds. Oh well.
I had a quick transition and a reasonable run. My pace was around 8:30, which isn’t great but not bad for minimal run training and coming off a really hard bike effort. I was able to push hard and run with HR over threshold this week, as opposed to last week when my body was reacting to the heat and wouldn’t let me get my effort up high enough.
I was happy with the AG win and the overall placing. I also met some very nice people at the race and enjoyed talking with them while waiting for the awards ceremony. We received award medals in addition to our finisher medals.
A busy few weeks. I start working with my new coach this upcoming week for my cycling-focused summer. And I will be celebrating my birthday with a recovery ride tomorrow morning.