Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Tulsa Tough Day 3
Whew - what a weekend! Sunday's race was another scorcher and the course was super fun (at least in my opinion!). After the flat start/finish you took a right turn onto a steep little climb that turned right again and continued to go up before a slight downhill, some flat/gradual climb and then a fast descent with a scary corner. This would be a course that wouldn't suit many riders and we all figured there would be plenty of DNFs on the day.
The first time up the hill riders were dropping chains or in the wrong gear. You had to navigate through them and it was tough to try to stay up near the front. After a few laps things settled down a bit but plenty of riders had been shelled from the pack. Ally and I were both up in the main group and there were some riders who were attempting to get off the front of the race.
About midway through the race a $200 prime was called and I took advantage of my positioning when I got on the wheel of a rider who sprinted up to the front over the top of the climb. I was sitting 4th wheel just before the fast descent and sprinted around so that I could be first through the scary corner and take my own line. With about 200 meters to the line from that corner I was out of the saddle and sprinting and was pretty pleased to snag the cash without too much of a fight.
As the race wore on I was feeling pretty bad. The spectators were amazing and there was a rowdy bunch on the hill spraying us down with hoses and giving us bottled water. I definitely took advantage of that! With about 10 laps to go I was dangling off the field which had been whittled to about 40 riders. Finally I got back in contact and tried to conserve as much as possible. I started to feel a little better but still not great. I was hoping I'd get a second wind and could try to move up on the last couple of laps. Ally was riding strong and looked comfortable in the group.
As we came through with one lap to go I was in the front third of the group and was determined to push hard in these final moments. Up the climb I sort of spaced out and didn't try to shift out of my big ring until I was onto it and the strain on the drivetrain wouldn't let the chain down. I kept hitting the lever but nothing happened. Finally (this all happened in just over 5 seconds!) it went but I was now just off the back of the field and I was chasing to try to catch back on. They were flying and I was too trashed to make it there. I finished 28th and was happy to have stuck out the race and thankfully gotten that mid race prime! My teammate Ally was riding so well and took an amazing 11th place - way to go!
This was a total race of attrition and only 33 of the 80 some starters even finished. It was such an incredibly fun weekend. The Tulsa community was so supportive of these races and the organization and turnout was amazing. Ally and I hung out with an awesome group of folks from Tom's Bicycles after the race and they were so much fun to talk to. They gave us some cold beverages, some sweet cycling caps, and we even got adjustments from a chiropractor. Thanks so much to everyone associated with these races!
And huge thanks goes out to our wonderful host Beth!
She was so generous and spoiled us with espressos and tasty muffins in the morning. We had a lot of fun spending time with her and the dogs - here's little Boogie - a sweet, energetic Snorkie! (that's a Schnauzer/Yorkie mix!)
Beth's son Alex rides for the Junior National Team and her bicycle themed decor throughout the house was so cool. Check out her amazing backyard!
Once the race was over it was time to hit the road and get riders to the airport. It was quite an adventure and I'll give the story it's own blog post . . . maybe later today ;)
Thanks for reading!