Katie did her first race only a few months ago…and now she cannot stop! She also can’t stop winning! What a beast! We can’t wait to see what she’s capable of next year.
As the season is winding to an end I am beginning to realize how much I’m going to miss racing. Rock the River Road Race was cancelled the week before the Best on Hess TT and I was going through bike racing withdrawal. So in a moment of delirium, I decided to time trial twice; first in the Retro Women’s Open category and again 90 minutes later in the SW4 category. No big deal I thought, I’ll treat it like time trial practice. The race is in Castle Pines and the terrain should be relatively flat. Well, in case you were wondering, there are hills in Castle Pines and they are not insignificant. There were four hills over the course of this sub-10 mile TT, one big one reminiscent of the Superior Morgul “Wall”. I hadn’t previewed the course so I had no idea what I was getting myself into until the Retro race was underway.
My first start time was 8:27a for the Retro Women’s Open Category. Marlene Zandell was racing as well. I saw her during our warm up on the frontage road, though we didn’t have much time to talk. Marlene has been a constant supportive presence this season, especially at time trials, and it’s always reassuring to see another Naked rider before a race! USAC ranking was employed for start time order. I was second to last right in front of Julie Jermyn – who is super fast! She was going to be chasing me and there was no way I was going to be able to hold her off. This race in particular was cool because they had a start ramp! In no time, I was up to speed off the start but still a little nervous because of who was behind me. My heart rate was too high so I focused on breathing to calm myself down. The first hill came quickly off the start. I was amped up and took it without any problem. The road turned into a flat and then a monster downhill. I was going 47 mph down this thing, and it was super fun and fast until I realized that I’d have to turn around and climb it on the way back. Coming out of the turn around, I could see Julie closer to me than I wanted and I knew I had to push it home. Soon enough I was climbing. I kept recycling the advice of super climber Melissa Langdon through my brain: fast feet, dial in the right gear, pain cave. The time trial is already a suffer fest, a climb in a time trial is torture and I did the best I could to suck it up. I focused on trying to pick people off every few minutes knowing that if I wasn’t gaining ground I was losing it. The climb turned into a flat and I was on the home stretch. I had no idea where Jermyn was but I fully expected her to pass me at any second. There was another small climb to the finish and at 200m I got out of the saddle and tried to sprint though I didn’t have much left. I continued down the frontage road for a cool down, my lungs were on fire and my legs hurt so I knew it was a good effort. Then I realized that I did not get passed. After the race, Julie found me and told me she thought I won which was a great surprise and very flattering coming from her – of course I didn’t believe her. It took a while for results to post, but I had won by nearly 30 seconds. That’s a fantastic start to the day, but I still had one race left.
I was ranked third for the SW4 race in front of Jo Ellen Walden and Barb Lotze. I knew these ladies would be chasing me and again I was feeling the pressure. I was nervous because I’d intended the Retro TT to be a bit of a warm up, but I went out harder than planned and now I was hurting a little bit. Barb and Jo are amazing time trialist. I had been victorious over them earlier in the season, but Barb has gotten stronger with every race and she’s a very good climber so I knew it was going to be tough. I felt a bit sluggish over the course of this race. The climbing was much more difficult on my TT bike. At the turn around I could see both of them battling it out, again closer to me than I would have liked. I maintained my composure up the big climb but I was feeling slow. I hadn’t been passed yet going into the home stretch. On the last downhill, I could hear someone with a disc wheel coming up on me and it was Barb. WOW. She was hauling. I passed her up the final hill sprinting to the finish, which didn’t mean much because I knew she had already annihilated me. It was also a sign that I didn’t ride the second TT correctly, if I had that much left to sprint, clearly I hadn’t worked hard enough. Oh well. Back at the results area I learned that unfortunately Jo Ellen suffered a mechanical – total bummer. Barb won the race handily, beating me by almost a minute. Had she been racing Pro 1/2 she would have come in 3rd. She had an epic race. I was happy with second, especially with that being my second race of the morning. Two podiums in 2.5 hours, I can’t argue with that!
Thanks to RMHP for putting on such a great event. It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning!!