This is my last week of classes. Friday starts my first week of finals, and it consists of an eight a.m. two-hour genetics exam, an hour break, followed by a two-hour chemistry exam. My only other exam is the following Wednesday. Also, Friday is Skyler's tenth birthday so I have a party to prepare for on Saturday. Thankfully, she's chosen to have her party at the Skate-Inn (yet again) which means I don't have to clean the house for guests, I don't have to clean up after them when it's all over, and I don't have to provide entertainment. It's a busy freakin' week! I'll be concluding the weekend with EFTA's Battle at Burlingame MTB race.
The Root 66 Series' Fat Tire Classic was two weekends ago, and I'd preregistered. However, as the weekend approached, I kept getting this nagging feeling that racing would be a bad idea (I really had a lot of schoolwork to do), but oddly enough, Skyler really wanted to go and do the first-timer's race. This would have been an ideal race for her, but that would have meant leaving at some ungodly hour and being there all day because my race would have been in the afternoon. There's no way I would have gotten anything done all weekend. So, at 6am on Sunday morning, I made the executive decision that Skyler and I would spend the day local. She easily convinced me to take her to breakfast, and I told her that when we got home, I would work on my paper while she did whatever she felt like until lunch time. Wouldn't you know, I got oodles of work done. After a light lunch, we loaded up the bikes and went for a ride at Goodwin. Skyler is getting more comfortable and more enthusiastic about riding every time we go, and we had great time. When we got home, we did some baking, and while I definitely missed the whole racing thing, I undoubtedly made the best decision that I could have.
I've been messing around on the singlespeed for a few weeks now, and if I'd raced the Fat Tire Classic, that's what I would have used. The reason for being so single-minded (yeah, cheesy pun) was prep for singlespeed-a-palooza which happened yesterday (April 28). I'd heard awesome things about this race from others who'd done it, and I felt a little guilty because I made the registration cut-off the first day while a lot of die-hards didn't get in in time. I'm not entirely new to the singlespeed; I have a 26" rigid Redline that I've played around on in the past, but since I've been riding the 29ers lately, I have been neglecting the smaller wheeled bikes. I got a rigid 29er SS instead so I'd have something more similar to my Specialized Fate. The SS rig is a Soma Juice frame with Stan's Crest wheels and other bits and pieces. I LOVE the frame. It's light and responsive. After some adjustments with bar size and stem, I've almost got it exactly how I want it. As a side note, if anyone wants to buy that Redline, let me know. I'm short, so it's actually an ideal bike for a tween-aged kid.
Dark Horse Cycles, the shop that puts this event on, allowed camping in their yard, so we all slept there - some of us in tents and some just in sleeping bags under the stars (silly boys). We ate our breakfast in the shop's parking lot before pedaling about a half mile over to the race venue at Stewart Forest (Montgomery, NY), and got our timing chips strapped on with enough time to pedal around and get the low-down about the race. Shortly after that, we were at the starting line and rearing to go.
|podium car - fast girls travel in packs|
During most of the race, I was riding with one guy who seemed to be pretty well matched to my pace (after a good chunk of the race, we finally introduced ourselves), and it wasn't until I started popping on a couple of climbs towards the middle-end that I really encouraged him to just go on past me. I still managed to keep him in sight the rest of the way and somehow got my mojo back after only a few tough little climbs. Having no idea where I stood the entire race, it was tough to know what I should be doing or where I should be putting out effort. I never bothered to throw a GPS on the bike, and I've never ridden there before. Also, I don't wear a heart-rate monitor, so my only measure of capacity was the way my legs felt on hard efforts and the time it took for me to recover after one of those efforts. Aside from the fact that I just kept telling myself to go harder, I had no way of knowing where I stood except that I was keeping a good enough pace for people to tell me, "I think you're the first woman rider." Every time I heard that, I was like, "Cool, but where are they!?" It's tough not knowing! Fortunately, I did a good job of whispering sweet nothings into my own ears during the race; that's the benefit of being your own coach - you can bring your coach with you during your race, and they won't leave your side (and if they do, there are ways to push the demons out and bring the coach back). I told myself that I had it in my legs to go hard, and when I felt like my legs were done, I told myself to eat a GU and GO HARDER! It worked. In the last section of downhill, one of the open men (who had gotten held up with a flat tire at some point in the race) came up behind me and told me that we were almost done. I think he said something like, "this is the last section... let it roll and have fun." And so I did! I rolled through the timing tent in just under two hours which is probably the fastest I've ever finished a 20+ mile race.
|First ever podium beer buzz|
As it turns out, I was the first woman, and Melissa finished less than two minutes behind me as the second woman. We were stoked to be on the podium together, and Dark Horse Cycles hooked us up with some hefty prizes - cash, limited edition budweisers, and really unique trophies. A lot of our buddies did well too. Alby King finished in eighth (men's open), Donnie D in 15th (men's sport NJ and first race in a long time), and Jesse finished the race after having 3 flats, a bottle-cage debacle, and two beers to take the edge off. Our friend Oliver finished first in his category (sport men NJ).
|Same gear ratio as my winner of a bike - 32X18|