Tuesday, March 03, 2009

MSU Race.

This weekend was too much fun. Summary: First place on Saturday. Ass handed to me on Sunday. Read on.

Our team loaded up four cars and made the drive to Kentucky on Friday. We didn't make it to our Super 8 until after midnight, at which point we set our alarms for 6:45am and promptly went to bed.

typical hotel room of a cycling team -- bikes and parts everywhere

Bike races are divided up into different categories, starting with Cat A as the most advanced. Out of reluctance to race 32 miles in the horrid weather, or perhaps just out of nervousness, I opted to race the short 16-mile Intro category. This was a big mistake. I ended up winning the thing with little effort, and so didn't learn anything about road race tactics. I stayed with one girl the entire way, and out-sprinted her to the finish.

pre-race, when I was still dry

The course consisted of a lot of rolling hills through scenic Kentucky countryside, which would have been beautiful had I not been soaked to the bone with freezing rain. The cold seeped into my core, and it took me at least two hours afterwards before I could stop shivering.

Since my race was first, I spent the rest of the day watching the other races and supporting my teammates. Here's a (poorly-shot) video of one of our Cat A guys coming in an impressive 4th.

Back to the hotel, nap, dinner at a pizza place, hotel, massage train, bedtime.

Sunday was the crit, or criterium. These types of races are held on short courses for a specified period of time, rather than distance. Ours was less than a mile long, and snaked around a parking lot with over a dozen corners. Add some finicky bike handlers and some nervous riding to that technical course, and you're just asking for crashes. People went down left and right.

I came out tired, but thankfully unscathed. Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, I rode in the Cat B/C race this time, which had some really strong riders who dominated the race from the start. I was lapped mid-race, but I hardly noticed because the short course was soon strung out end to end with riders.

I started the crit with no expectations, so I really enjoyed myself, despite wanting to die everytime I hit the windy and uphill stretch of the course. For starters, it was really good cornering practice. It took me a while to get used to whipping around the corners, but by the end of 30 minutes, I had stopped braking altogether. I consider that a success.

me and mah girlz, post-race on Saturday

Following the crit, we loaded up, grabbed food, and drove back home to snowy Evanston.

I love being on this team. It gives me so much to look forward to : Depauw race next week, spring break in Georgia, four or five more races after that. I only spent about two hours racing this weekend, and the rest of it was spent lolling about with great people. Collegiate cycling is something I now wish I had started from day one. What took me so long?


copperoranges said...

i remember in high school when dana lea started taking tennis lessons and by her senior year she made the tennis team .. it makes me really happy when people pick up new hobbies and keep at them and do well. congrats on winning your race!

Cara said...

You make me proud! I am so glad you found something that fits ( running makes me feel the same way). Keep me updated on schedule, somewhere is georgia might be close enough for me to come watch you!

cecil said...

if you write "mah girlz" again i am going to block your blog from being read on my computers.

i am not comfortable at all riding in the rain on a road bike. at home when i ride in the rain i feel like a grandpa cruising through a park on an old 3 speed that he keeps in the lowest gear.