“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.” ― Little Engine That Could
Here is a little insight to our lives of all trying to ride while also entertaining a toddler. Since both Randy and I wanted to do the road race we needed to find someone to watch the boys. But we did not want to leave them for the entire weekend since #1- we would miss them and #2 – Kalden wanted to race on Sunday. So we left them with a friend in Ridgway and drove the 2.5 hours to Durango in two vehicles. We left one in Silverton so that after the race we could return back to Ridgway to get the boys. The road race is one-way and 50 miles from Durango to Silverton. After getting the boys we would drive back to Durango. Simple? No! Worth it? Yes! The nice part is that we had a full 8 hours of uninteruppted sleep before the race.
At my age I have the option to race Women’s 35+ (Cat 1-4) or Women’s Pro 1,2,3. For the past few years I have raced with the 35+ group because I am not really a road racer or much of a climber anymore so racing with the Pros again always seemed silly. But this year I really didn’t want to line up with 35+ group. I can’t tell you exactly why as it was more of an intuition thing. While I have never had anything bad happen while racing in that group it just never seemed safe. There is a huge difference in the skills and this is scary when road racing. So I went off with the Pros. We had a very casual start for over 15 miles. It was kind of crazy how slow we were moving but it was very safe. That all changed on the first hill when Mara Abbott attacked. I stayed in the middle for most of that first climb but it was not something I could sustain. Me and about 5 others slowly watched them ride away. I was alone with the straggling Cat1,2,3, and 4 men and touring riders that start at the crack of dawn to beat the train. Getting to the base of Coal Bank Pass (the first of two mountain passes) hurt. I was riding alone without any peloton or even another racer in my category. I pushed as hard as I could and luckily had a tailwind for most of it. I slightly struggled over Coal Bank but then was able to push it again on Molas Pass. On my descent in Silverton I had to slow for an accident. Two motorcycle troopers crashed head on moments before. I hate seeing this stuff and feared cyclists were also involved (that was not the case, they just stopped to help). I rolled into Silverton with a time of 3:03 which was actually my best time ever! After the race I found out there was a bad crash in the Womens 35+ group at the start. There were some bad injuries including one woman that was unconscious for 1/2 hour and another that tore part of her face off from skidding over the pavement(yikes). I’ll never know if I would have been caught up in that mess had I raced in that category but it goes to show that you should always trust your instincts.
On Sunday we all had races except little Axel. It started early with Kalden’s race at 8am. He raced with the 8-9 yr old group so that he could have a little more mileage. It was still a very short and crowded race around 1 city block but he got 4th against some tough Durango competition. My race was not until 1:45 and I was not motivated. I was up most of the night with Axel and then out in the sun all morning. I was going to pull my Mom excuse and it was valid. I was hungry and tired when it was time for me to suit up and warm up. So what did I do? I went with the family to eat pizza. 2 slices and a Mexican Coke 1 hour before my ride. While the other women were sitting on their trainers warming up I was eating greasy pizza. Not a great race strategy but it worked to make me feel better and I decided to race. This race was the 35+ but I knew I would try to stay at the front no matter what. I just can’t sit in the middle or back of a crit without getting very nervous. There were about 30 women that lined up to race. I was able to stay in the front 3 the entire race and the pace was perfect for me. On the last lap the other women punched and I could not pull out any kind of sprint at the line. I ended up 3rd which I was very happy with especially considering my pre-race warm up (or lack of one).
Thanks for a great weekend Iron Horse!