Race Report from Joan Orgeldinger
Koppenberg Circuit Race
SW 35+ 2nd place
The weather in Denver has not been exactly enjoyable for the past few weeks. Lookout Mountain Hillclimb was cancelled on Saturday due to dangerous high winds and here it was, Sunday, the weather report was claiming a high of 40 degrees F and possible chance of snow or rain…. Not exactly my idea of a great time (a partially dirt (maybe mud) course) on a road bike. But I really had hoped to get out and race this weekend, so I decided I would do the SW 35+ report since the chance of rain/snow increased around noon. (I will ask myself around noon, why I even bother checking the weather report after having grown up in Colorado.)
Off to the race: after a quick stop at the gas station, I arrived in time to register and get about 30 minute warm up on the trainer. I was thrilled to see both Rachel and Cristienne show up while I was warming up. It is so nice to have teammates to talk with when you are getting ready to go out and torture yourself. I quickly rode over to the start and and proceeded to line up with the wrong group! The woman at registration had given me the wrong number and I was lined up with the SW 4 women. But I figured it out and made my way back to my SW 35+/45+/55+ group who were waiting patiently behind me (probably wondering what the heck I was doing).
The first few minutes of any race are always hard but I decided that I couldn’t let them get away and shortly after we hit the dirt, I moved up to the front so that I could see what the dirt road looked like (sort of like “pre-riding”). I felt pretty good and was excited that we got to the climb so quickly. Even more exciting was that there were multiple lines to ride up on (my only previous experience was one line that you were either forced to walk or got lucky to ride single file). I got to the top of the climb and the woman to my left moved over in front of me and after looking back I realized we had a little gap. The adrenaline was pumping and I was very excited that we had a small gap in such a short period of time, but it was only a 3 lap race, so I figured we should make the best of it. In the split second that followed I made the big mistake, I overlapped the woman’s wheel in front of me – with the intent of starting to pull through. Unfortunately she came over a tad bit and clipped my front wheel. We were just regaining our speed on the flat part at the top of the hill and I couldn’t hold my wheel. I went down hard and the woman behind me fell too. It happened so quickly. I jumped up and looked back to see the other woman already standing up. I jumped on my bike and tried to straighten out the handlebars. Then I rode off quickly determined not to DNF. After a moment, I realized I had to stop and try to fix my handlebar/shifters better and I was able to slide the shifter back into it’s normal location; however, the handlebar wouldn’t budge. I jumped back on and started to chase.
I caught up with 2 women who I rode with for about ½ a lap, but we got separated on the dirt road. Try as I might I couldn’t see who was in front of me or where they were. The remainder of the race I rode alone and forced myself to push as hard in hopes of catching someone from our field but it never happened.
All in all, it ended up to be a pretty nice day (weather) with no rain or snow. Actually I don’t even think it was windy. I was sore as heck but I ended up 2nd in the SW 35+ group. I never want to crash on a road bike again but it is bike racing and you just never know.