Sunday, July 1, 2012

C'est la vie!

As they say: ya win some, ya lose some. This Saturday at The Empire Classic in windy Boston, NY, I was reminded of this.  The 7 mile circuit course had a short, steep wall about 3 miles in and wow - I wasn't prepared for the climb!  We did drive the course beforehand, but I didn't have to time to ride it in my warm up and just couldn't hold on.

But let's back up!  Chris and I drove to Buffalo this weekend to see his sister, some music, and do this road race.  Chris is ever hopeful for upgrade points and I just figured it'd be a fun race to do - because aren't circuit races fun?! We arrived at our hotel the night before the race and jetted up to the Erie Canal Harbor for the Grace Potter and the Nocturnals show. Now, don't be scolding me for going out on a race night. I've already scolded myself!  No, but truly we were home before 11 and in bed soon after. It could've been worse. Ehh... wait, dinner was probably not the best but we didn't have great options.  Next time we'll plan better!
Pulled pork at the show...
Anyway, race morning we only had to drive about 25 minutes to the course and we had a chance to drive the circuit before we rode it. My race was first at 9:05. It was an open women's race with only 5 women and at first glance I knew it'd be a tough ride. I suspect the women who took the top 3 were not Cat 4. The race promoter asked if we'd mind riding with the Cat 5 men and we all shrugged "yes".  Well, I sat happily on the back of the peloton for the first 3 miles and then the wall came.  Grrr - I was in the wrong gear.  Still I tried to muscle up the hill with the other women but then the grade over took me and my legs screamed and well, they crested the hill and were gone.  There was a decline after the hill and then a backstretch with a tailwind and as soon as made it to the top of the hill they were far ahead. Too far.  I was alone.  (Oh, and did I mention that the women agreed to do 35 miles (and the Cat 5 men were doing 28)?)  

And we have about 32 miles to go. SWEET.  In terms of my athletic endeavors, I think my greatest success recently is that mentally I have grown. In high school and even in college I may have crumbled in this situation. I mean, in what world is it fun to "race" for 32 mostly windy miles alone? Not many worlds.  So what I told myself from this point on is that I would TT and concentrate on getting the time and miles in.  Make the best of it, I told myself.  Grin and bear it.  Take comfort in the fact that there aren't that many people here to watch the race and they probably won't know what position I'm in because it's a circuit race.  And even if they can tell that I'm in last - who cares? I'm riding, they are not. Therefore, I am winning!
It's easy to think "I could've stayed home on the couch!", but I'm glad I didn't.
One lap finished, then two.  I see a rider ahead at the start of lap three.  I decide maybe it'll be possible to reach him and have a riding buddy.  By a stroke of luck I was able to catch him by the wall and shouted, "Hey, this would be a lot more fun if we rode together!" He turned around and happily agreed to slow for a second to allow me to jump on.  Together we took turns pulling around the course and it was indeed more fun with a partner.  So, thanks to my racing friend for the ride!  He finished at four laps and I kept on trucking for our fifth lap.  By then it didn't hurt so badly, maybe. Okay, the hill still hurt pretty badly, but at least I knew what gear to be in and how long I could stand and grind and so on. 

I finished the race and got in a bit more cool down before calling it a day.  In the end I succeeded in completing a good training ride and finishing the race.  I like to think I lost elegantly! Recently I read the quote below and was inspired.  As a good friend told me, life is about the ride, not just the finish line!  The credit belongs to the man (or woman) in the arena.

Congrats to the other women!  Congrats to Chris Jones of Team RUUD on his 6th place finish in the Cat 4 men's field. Read about his race on the RUUD website.  Congrats to Andrew Williams on gutting it out in the P123 race - 70 miles of fun! - and on his podium finish in the TT on Sunday. 

To all my other Mission in Motion ladies: maybe next year I'll stay home for the BC triathlon! Looks like you ladies had a blast. I'm psyched to read race reports and see photos! 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome job Delana! We have all had those moments where circumstances lead to time trialing solo for miles on end and you succeeded in finishing a hard race where many choose to pack it in! Thanks for the great race report!