I tried to post some stuff earlier, but my website was unhappy with me. So, now I’m done riding and my earlier thoughts are nearly valueless. It is really hot. Like in the mid 90’s hot. The prologue is a hill I’ve ridden many times. We did a road race up it one year at Redlands. It is most of the same hill as Nationals and Olympic Trials back in 2004. It is hard.
Anyway, I got out pretty early and rode over to the course with Catherine. Her start was 2 hours before mine. Just riding up the hill hurt me. But, it hurt Catherine worse. She might be riding as bad as I’ve ever seen. She did have a crazy day yesterday. Hard meeting, rush to the airport, fly 6 hours, consume 5 or 6 decompression drinks and get hardly any sleep. It can only get better from here.
I don’t know what’s going on with me. Maybe allergies. Maybe just in a slump. How can I be in a slump when I’ve only raced 4 races this year? Anyway, knowing my condition, I just rode steady up the hill. Slower than steady. The course is kind of hard to explain. It is pretty all uphill. It starts gradually, then a couple hundred meter climb, short downhill and the last 3 km is uphill. The real climb is just the last 2 km. It is steep for a few hundred meters. Maybe not 20% grade, but steep. The last 500 meters is gradual again. But, it is super hard to get moving fast again.
I started pretty early. I wasn’t planning on riding hard at all until it got steep. I wasn’t gaining anything on my 30 second guy, but wasn’t loosing anything either. Then after about 2 km, the guy behind me passed me. He was on a TT bike. But, after he passed me, he never got more than a 100 meters ahead. Right before the bottom of the steep section, a Livestrong/Trek kid passed me. He went by pretty fast, but then kind of bogged down. I followed him up most of the climb. We passed the guy that passed me. At the top, I was pretty done and there was still 500 meters to go. The Livestrong kid dropped his chain trying to shift and I rode by him. He probably would have had a good time. Maybe just an okay time.
My micro goal was not to get beat by Amanda Miller, HTC. I talked to her before the start and she said that she rode 12:01. I beat her handily. I’m not exactly sure of my time, which is very unusual for me. I kind of blanked out at the start and am not sure if I started my watch 15 or 30 seconds before I took off. It is going to be mid 11 minutes. That is going to be over 2 minutes back on Ben Day or whoever wins. That is better than I thought. But, I’m sure I didn’t win women’s race. I couldn’t have. But, I don’t care. But, male ego is hard to ignore.
A month ago, sick, I would have ridden a minute faster. That is what is so interesting about the sport. Personal achievement. It is going to be really hard tomorrow. Way too hot. It might not just be a ride around at 120+, windy, hot miles.
It has already started. I looked a my phone when I finished and the first text was “I’m on the steep part of the climb on Wabash and Sunset. You looked way faster than Alexi on the hill.” I not not racing Alexi here. And, it is sort of an insult to me. I didn’t take 18 years off. And Alexi and I are completely different style riders. Let’s give Alexi some time to get back into the groove. A month of NRC stage races isn’t gonna be fair to judge him by. Or me.
Going to dinner tomorrow with Raul though. He is riding for La Grange with Victor, Luis and some of my other buddies from LA. They are fun guys.
Okay. My lungs are torched. Everyone says it is the allergies here, but I think it is the dry hot air and effort. At least I’m be tan when I’m done.