Race report from Megan DiBiase. Naked Women’s Racing pb TriBella had a 2nd place finish in the SW 4’s, and two pack finishes, a 2nd place finish in the SW45+ field, a 3rd, 4th and 5th place finish in the SW1/2’s and a 6th place finish in the SW3’s. Wow!
A year ago, I would have told you I’d never have the opportunity to win at Deer Trail. In fact, last year I dropped out of the race, less than 10 miles in, with strep throat, and not enough fitness. A week ago I also would have thought my chances at podium were very slim. In the past week, I did a running race in Philadelphia, went to an amusement park with my nephew, got sick (again!), and had some severe mechanical issues with my bike. Oh, and only rode once.
However, if at first you don’t succeed try, try, again. The biggest surprise for me at Deer Trail this year was my fitness compared to most of the other women in the race. Within 4 miles into the race, we had a race of 40 women whittled down to 6! Oh and might I add that there was a 3-man crash in the first (neutral) mile of the road race! Being up front is key.
For the next 8 miles, the group of 6 was rotating pretty well though I could tell two of them were on the fritz going up and over the rollers, while I was in a comfortable Zone 3/low Zone 4. What can I say, I was fresh! At the first north-south turnaround (about 15 miles into a 35 mile race), the pack dropped down to three – suddenly! One of the girls with me was very confused: “What do we do? Shouldn’t we wait for my teammates?” I kept saying No and it took some prodding for her to man up. She was after all the fastest ‘climber’ of our little bunch. I relegated a strategy of rotation that was quick and efficient, and we gradually pulled away from the pack. A few times the third girl (who can destroy us all in flats and crits) was struggling on the uphills, however she gave us a nice advantage on the downhills and flats so I was happy to have her, and we really didn’t have a good idea how far behind the others were! And I certainly didn’t want them to catch up.
With about 6 miles left, the moto finally came by and told us we had 1:15 on the next bunch of 3. After that gaps were large and far between. How did the field get so spread out? A little wind, and some good luck, and larger than anticipated discrepancies in fitness? At this point we were just powering up and down the rollers and not sure how the finish would go. I knew I could probably out sprint the climber from GS Boulder, but the Primal girl was a Mad fast sprinter, maybe we could box her out? 🙂 Well with about 1K to go, the climber went (too early) and I stayed just inside her wheel. About 200m to go I pulled ahead without Too much effort, but then out of the corner of my right eye I see an acceleration from behind (smart!). Leslie sprinted with all her might and beat me by half a wheel. I was proud to contest that 1st place sprint (and it hurt so bad I thought I was going to fall off my bike!) and was quite content with 2nd place.
We had fun with our podium and it was a good opportunity to work in the break. Deer Trail is a nice course, and we had nice weather, we Also got to see teammates in other fields (i.e. SW1/2/3 about 10 minutes up the road, and other teammates a little ways back) that kept things motivating. It was really a good course for me, medium build, good stamina. It’s amazing what a difference a year makes. But then again I contribute that to three things:
- Started training early and racing early. I’ve been racing for 2 months while most girls have been racing for 2 weeks.
- Train with faster girls (and guys): I did a lot of training this winter with the Cat 2 and 3 women on my team, and they pushed me! Also this spring I’ve been riding once a week with Primal guys and they humble me like nothing else.!
- Don’t be afraid! We can psych ourselves out mentally all too much. Everyone hurts in bike races. You can do it!
Still a lot to work on (and I need to keep that mileage up), but I am a lot closer to a Cat 3 upgrade than I thought I’d be by now…but planning to wait until summer so I can keep on sprinting for first!