I spent Saturday at the Papio Crit at registration. That is a great event. Papillion really came through with support from road closings to EMTs. HyVee provided bagels, bananas and water and Power Aid. I sat and watched the racers go 'round and 'round and 'round, oh and 'round again. Oh, what fun. But it all came down the sprint. Whomever came out of the last corner best usually pulled out the win. Most played it safe but there were a couple of skin scrapers.
I kinda hem-hawd all day about racing the rr on Sunday but then I thought why not? It'd be a better work out than I'd do on my own, so I lined up with the other Cat. 4 ladies and about 35 Cat. 5 men (some of which were guys I've ridden next to many times on group rides) so I felt pretty at home. We had a lolly pop course, with a 3 mile neutral start (the stick) and then a 6 mile loop that we did five times. Yeah, we're suckers, for sure!
The start was mellow which was nice for me b/c standing starts are a weak point. As soon as we turned onto the course, it was all for one. It wasn't too crazy. Everyone was in a group just trying to get their legs warmed up. Before the race, I kept hearing about a huge climb, a double hill that went up at the start, then it flattened out for a few pedal strokes before it went up again. At the top was the feed zone. When we got to it, it was great to have people cheer us on and watch us as our eyes popped out of our heads. The first few times up wasn't bad but by the end I wanted that hill to die. The course was fast, overall. A couple of turns after downhills made for some risky cornering, especially coming from someone like ME who corners like a turtle on a tight rope. I'm just glad I didn't cause anyone to go off road.
The first 3 laps consisted of a lot of acceleration, followed by easy pedaling. Surge-chill, surge-chill. It was crazy but I have to pat everyone on the back for a pretty well-behaved group of Cat 4s and 5s. Everyone did a fairly good job of holding their line (I'm including me in this scenario) but I did almost become part of a dog pile when two dudes locked handle bars that brought them and another guy down right in front of me, on the flat just before the feed zone hill. Bikes and butts were sky high. One guy dislocated a finger (but road in on his own after resetting it..ewwww!), another had the wheel truck bring him in and the third guy (the one who caused it all) had lots of rash. Everyone was pretty much okay considering how it looked from behind it all. After the crash, because I was right behind it, I had to haul ass to bridge up to the group. I blew my wad and on the feed zone hill. I was breathing like I was at altitude. I sat in after the feed zone section to catch my breath and then as we approached the turn to the last lap, everyone stood on the gas pedal. Ah, shit. So I did my best to stay with the lead group. That plan was working until we hit the hill one last time and that separated the boys from the men, so to speak (or the women from the boys he-he). All the while during the last two laps the sky was getting darker and darker. The wind was whipping up in every direction, it seemed. We could see the rain curtain off to the north which was a great motivator. Luckily we had it at our back as we headed towards the finish line. It was me and two others. I swallowed them up and told then to jump on. We traded pulls and then one was able to take off at the end and come in ahead of me and the other guy.
All told, 1:47 for about 39 miles. Good times! Nice change of pace for sure. I managed to pull off the win for the Cat 4 ladies with Kim Carveth rocking 2nd and my good buddy Susan Wilson capping off the podium at 3rd. I had a great time riding with everyone and as well as the camaraderie afterwards as we waited for results. I met new folks and even go to chat with significant others. That NEVER happens. I was stoked on that.
All told I had fun, but dirt is truly where I belong.