In part 2 Katie describes her most humbling experience on the bike.
Steamboat Stage Race: Part II The Road Race and the Crit
There was a short but moderate climb heading out of town and I got dropped immediately. Girls were passing me like I was standing still. I literally had nothing: no power, no legs, no lungs, no kick. I was done before the race even started and I felt awful. All of my training, all of my endurance and fitness had been robbed from me in an instant. I started to panic thinking, “Hadn’t I been hanging with most of those girls all season? Hadn’t I been with the lead group in Salida just a few weeks ago? WHAT IS GOING ON?” This was going to be a very lonely ride.
I did ride most of that race alone but I didn’t finish last. On the way back into town, my legs started cramping and I had to get off my bike. I was out of food and water and for a moment I hated cycling. I thought it was over for me but I managed to get back on the horse and limp home. All I wanted to do was finish this monster. I was embarrassed. Seriously, what just happened? Where, oh where, had my fitness gone? I finished the road race 20 minutes slower than I had the year previous – and the year previous I had a flat tire! I was frustrated and disappointed. It was not the result I’d hoped for.
Surely, it couldn’t get worse than that abysmal road race, but it did. I got dropped on the first lap of the criterium, pretty much off the start line. Again, I wanted to quit. There is nothing more humiliating than riding around what is essentially a hamster wheel passing the same people over and over again as a dropped rider. I could hear my parents and Sam Anderson cheering every time I came around but it didn’t help, it just added insult to injury. It was pathetic. I felt like I was dying but I couldn’t even get my heart rate up. Luckily we were the first race of the day and there weren’t many spectators. Then something happened to me that’s never happened to me in a crit before: I. Got. Lapped. It was the most painful 35 minutes of my racing life. I finished DFL in my category for the first time ever – and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Someone once told me that everyone should finish DFL at least once in their lives. This was apparently my time and it wasn’t any fun but it does humble you and inspire you to be better, train smarter, to taper more effectively, to be careful with the overtraining and not to take this stuff so seriously. It’s just a race, after all.
I promptly went with a friend, Michelle Maxwell, to have a margarita, drown my sorrows and celebrate her accomplishments. She’d had a successful weekend with a fantastic road race and I was genuinely happy for her. At the same time, I’d let myself down, my parents down, my team down and there was nothing I could do about it. I had no excuse and really no explanation other than I must have bonked…and bonked hard. All was not lost, however. Even though I had the worse race weekend of my life, because I finished the stage race I ended up third in the Rocky Mountain Road Cup Individual Competition. So there’s that, a little silver lining to an otherwise unsatisfactory weekend of racing.