Monday, September 5, 2011

Criterium bike race RR (1st real bike race ever)

47th Annual Debaets-Devos Pro-Am Memorial Bicycle Race

It was fun. The only bummer was that because I am Cat4 there was no money prize, money was only for Cat 1-3. Oh well, at least I got some points or whatever in ranking to be able to move to higher category if I stay here. Because if I stay, I sure am doing more of these. Although, it was painful from time to time.

But let's start from the beginning. I did swim wokrout in the morning and it was a very good swim. I was fast, smooth, storng, efficient. At least I think:)

Then I chilled out for 2 hours and then went to the bike race. My category started at 2pm so I got there around 1pm, checked in, did a warm up for around 30min etc.
There were only 9 women in Cat 1-3 and around 12 in Cat 4. And they were giving out money to first 10 in Cat 1-3, so they all got money but we, nothing. Anyway. There were primes as well.
Club friend came to watch me with his daughters and told me to just sit in and then when I hear the bell go for it, because primes were the only prize I could win.
They let Cat 1-3 35sec ahead of us and then my Cat was off. Race was 35min + 2 laps.
I was in 4-5th position for the first lap, then went ahead and pulled for part of the second because I wanted to see whether there is a way to break the field but no, I am not that strong as to pull ahead. So I decided to chill out and let someone else pull. I was in 3-4th the whole time.
Lap was around 1.5mile and half of it was slight downhill with tailwind, and other half slight uphill with one short steep hill and with headwind.
I am not sure how many laps we did and then the bell rank for the prime. I decided I needed to get that one. So I attached on that steep hill and got 20meter lead within a few moments. But I still had like 1mile to go into the wind and up. I worked really hard so they do not catch me and it was really painful. They did not catch me and I won that lap and thus the prime ($25 gift card to bike store). Then one of the gals caught me and told me I had a nice lead and offered to pull me so I can increase my lead. But I was pretty much done from that sprint to win the prime:) I tried to stay with her but she was pulling ahead. She saw it and decided to take it easy and let the rest of the field to catch us and just go with them.
BTW, this gals was FAST. She could have smoked all of us. I am not sure what she was doing in Cat4 because my friend who was standing by finish line told me that he heard people talking and it seems that everyone knows her and she is kind of the big deal in Michigan cycling circles. But clearly she just did the race for fun and let other take primes and she did not mind pulling all of us for most of the race. And she was wearing jeans shorts. She admitted that they were not very comfortable though.
So when the others caught us, she started working again and I jumped back on her wheel and went with her. Slowly there were 3 of us pulling ahead of the rest of the field. My friend told me that we were crushing it. We even caught the Cat 1-3 field eventually. The announcer said that we were smoking Cat 1-3, cool.
Then they announced 4 laps to go and the second prime. I did not know that it was a prime as well, I thought that it was only 4 laps so I did not work too hard and I did not win that one. But it was a backpack so no biggie.
Then we had 3 laps to go and someone yelled that we had like 40s lead on the others, at which point we were like, ok, no need to kill ourselves as long as we are 1-2-3. We kind of started cruising and my friend told me that it was like slow motion compared to what we were going before. We did that until around 3/4 of a mile to go. Then the fast gal said LET'S GO! And she started hammering. Then there was this little approx 50m slight uphill, right turn and approx 250m rolling downhill to the finish. And she really put the hammer down on that little uphill. I stood up as well and started mashing pedals, but she just had more power than I did and she pulled ahead. But thankfully I had more power than the other gal. So I finished 2nd, around 2sec behind 1st and 2sec before the 3rd.

It was fun. It was really painful on my little prime breakaway and then at the end and when I was pulling the field but since I was just sitting in 2nd/3rd most of the time it was not too bad. I liked it.

I was wearing my new tri shorts and they worked well. Unfortunately, I was wearing my running sneakers and right cage (yeah, I have only one cage, on the right pedal, because left one is broken. I am a bumm.) because all my wrenches are too thick and do not fit btw pedal and crank arm of my tri bike so I could not swap them.
I also caught the pedal on the pavement on one turn twice because I was pedaling through it. But it was not too bad.
First 2 loops were kind of crowded, eventhough there were only 12 of us but I am not used to that, I am usuallt all by myself. But I was not nervous, I am fearless:)

So it was fun. Although I did not break even, because I won $25 gift card and entry fee was $45. But it was a good experience and I might do more bike races.
It was a good way to spend day off from work.

(ITB feels decently. But that's because I have not been running for past 5 days.)


  1. Congrats! Awesome job! Bummer about the ITB. I really think you need to figure out what its cause is; I think you have huge potential but it is going to be hard if you have to take breaks bc of ITB.

  2. Thanks AM!
    I know, my next week's mission is to visit some PTs and see whether they can help.

  3. Freaking awesome racing. You were born to race! Congrats.

  4. Great! Sounds super fun and like you raced smart! :) Great job!