MARCH 16, Tour de Dung #1 Beginner Women’s Race(Sequim)
36 miles, three laps. (My second race) Cat4B
I am so glad that I decided to do this race, just for the learning experience and because we were mostly a field of newb riders (it was windy!). This route has wider roads, a shoulder and not many hills to content with, but the weather and high winds made this day challenging.
I didn’t feel like doing Sequim the night before. I was thinking of different excuses not to do it. Well, I did have a legit excuse; It’s been 3 days since I fell off my bike on Blanchard and my neck muscles, knee and bruised hip has been nagging, but since I pre-registered for this race I figured I better go. If I get dropped at least I’d get a good workout and be there to support my teammates.
Adrenalin kicked in at the Dungeness recreation area (hence the name Tour de Dung, but I think it should be “Dunge”!); It was drizzling at the start, low 40’s but increased to rain showers later in the day. I warmed up on my trainer for ~40 mins and couldn’t decide what to wear in that stereotypical chick sense (yes, you’d think it would be easy, but with the increasing rain & wind slowly picking up I wore a wind vest, my ss jersey/thermal capri bib and a borrowed Defeet long sleeve undershirt (which incidentally does a great job at regulating body temperature!). I didn’t know where to put my packet of GU, most of my teammates preferred to slip it under their shorts (it’s a little hard to reach in the back pocket), so instead of carrying it I quickly squirted a packet, threw some water back and went off to line up in the gravel parking lot with the others.
Roll out was uneventful. This was the first time WSBA had a Cat4B category and 30 gals and three higher mentor cats joined us, it was great! The number one advice from them: Talk to each other and communicate your actions and LOOK before you move. We’re moving in small increments and our pack was tight (to conserve energy) so I really appreciated the verbal communication between us all; I wonder how this may be different with the men’s categories. I learned to minimize my hand gestures with quick motion and honed my periphery vision (and looking underneath my arms to see back). No accidents, no one complained, so I guess we did well. The mentors offered feedback during the race such as where we should position ourselves according to wind direction, which was essential for survival on this course. They told us what to look for (openings), when to attack and how teams can throw counter attacks (all this while we were riding 20+ mph in the wind and friggin’ rain, it was quite an awesome feeling). On our third lap we had to single file to the rt of the road so that one of the Men’s race could pass…that was kind of a pain because we almost had to stop just for them, so basically the third lap started with another roll out start (and lowered our avg…but hey, who looks at Strava avg, riiiight?). :P
Lessons learned? You can use the side shoulder and move inside the white line! You still can’t cross the yellow, but you can cross in designated areas such as a sharp turn with officials and the last 200K mark (I think?). I finally learned to hammer it and do whatever you can to stay on someone’s wheel! I’m learning not to hesitate and to stop being so timid. I won’t stay in the game unless I’m willing to sprint immediately (and there’s no time to think, just do it!). I tried relieving my teammate who was up in the front during an uphill segment, but I couldn’t hold it for very long, but at least I pulled for a bit.
Towards the end I managed to creep up from the back of the pack maneuvering wide on a turn and hitting it hard coming out with a sprint on the final turn. I moved up the pack from the left side and ‘somewhat’ sprinted at the end. I’m not sure why I didn’t gun it, but maybe I was tired.
Tomorrow (Sat March 23) is Tour de Dung #2. I hope you’ll come out and support us racing ladies! It feels so good to be encouraged to do what you love, doesn’t it? :)
Here’s the site for more information about the race: https://www.usacycling.org/events/flyer.php?permit=2013-752