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Race Report from Vera Divenyi
North Boulder Park Criterium
SW Pro 1/2: Pack finish
I couldn’t wait to come back and race this race as this was the first crit for me since June 5. On the way to the race, I was really worried about the weather as it was dumping so hard on 36 that the road flooded and there was a 6-car accident in front of me.
Over the past 2 weeks, I have not had the best luck. My track bike was stolen, I lost my iphone and then last weekend, I got a blow out on 25. Since I have an all wheel drive car, I had to put back all my winter tires so that I did not have to go out and buy all new summer tires at that exact moment. Well, today, I felt pretty lucky to have my winter car tires for the drive as I was driving through 6-12 inches of rain! Arriving in Boulder, the roads were dry and the sun was peeking through the clouds. I guess the bubble over Boulder helps contain the weather, too!
The course: Go straight and slightly up, turn left, power down a hill, get in a good place for a left into a driveway/alley, turn left over a curb, avoid the hay, right, left, left and power as hard as you can on the straight/power climb back to the start finish. Don’t hit the tree in the middle of the street, either!
I met Rachel to warm up and we went and just road a little around North Boulder Park. We were both running late and I managed to misplace my number. We got all sorted and lined up for racing.
To my left, Cari Higgins, Kori Seehafer, Megan Hottman. To my right, many more Map My Ride team mates, a bunch of Vitamin Cottages and THE Alison Powers of Team TibCo.
I was told by my coach that if I didn’t want to work out at the track, I needed to race North Boulder like my hair was on fire. OK, hair on fire. Last year, the break went in the second lap. So for the first 17 minutes, I chased everything thinking one of the breaks may stick – - and I was still trying to race like my hair was on fire. I saw a map my ride go and then I had nothing left. Cory went, too.
Now, have I ever mentioned how much I love my team mate Rachel? We had talked beforehand about whether I was feeling good and what we would do. All that chasing down breaks that didn’t stick had made me quite tired and the course was such that there was really no break anywhere. Since only two people were in the break, the race continued at a lightning-bolt pace and never relented.
Rachel was in a better position than I was and she had unsuccessfully gone with one of the breaks that got caught (this was the one time I didn’t chase!) Rachel made sure that I was still on the pack and a few times, I really thought I might just let go. She was encouraging and made sure that I was in the group. How awesome! I was also a bit starry eyed and at one point, ended up in the gravel heading towards a nice bale of hay! I had to stop and restart and get back on a very fast moving group through the S turns. I knew I was sort of spent as I had goose bumps that started about 20 minutes into the race. It was not cold; in fact, the sun came out and beat upon us.
With 15 minutes to go, I pulled out a Vanilla Powerbar gel and squished it all into my mouth a little too quickly as I couldn’t figure out how to breathe for a second! I got it down and was able to grab my water bottle and wash the rest down. This was a welcome moment as my tongue had been stuck to the side of my mouth for the last 20 minutes.
In the second to last lap, I found myself in 3rd position on Cari Higgins’s wheel. This would have been ideal had it been the last lap. In the power climb/straight away to the start finish, the group bunched up and I found myself in a horrible position into the little downhill before the turn into the driveway/alley. Yes, this course is an odd one.
In the end, I was almost last in the final turn and just decided that sprinting for one more spot really didn’t matter anymore.
The mixed berry Mix1 after my race tasted better than a croissant in Paris. Maybe this was because a croissant right after the race would have most likely made me throw up. But, nonetheless, I love my Mix1’s no matter what! And congrats to our other sponsor, Prerace.com for Jorge Espinoza’s win in the Pro 1/2 race!
Rachel and I continued on the recovery beverage streak with a beer at the beer tent and watched the Cat 3 men’s race until the rain began to fall. Next week? Colorado state Criterium championship and some master’s state championships at the track. I’m already tired thinking about it!
City Park Criterium
SW 1/2, 3- 3rd place
I love this crit. It’s not because I have ever done remarkably well at this race, but I just love all the twists and turns and I know that if I’m feeling good, I do have a potential for doing well.
Lately, my legs have been feeling very heavy and they hurt even when I’m trying to just spin them out. I think it’s the fact that at the end of the Cherry Creek Time Trial series I was racing twice a week, plus with the weather improving and the track opening, I have been putting in a lot of hours on my bike and maybe my body just isn’t overly happy with me!
For perfect race preparation, I drank too much on Friday night. It was nice out and my friend wanted to meet for drinks and the drinks were good and then the wine was good, too (along with the fried poached egg and frisee salad and the leg of lamb!) I then went to the track on Saturday afternoon where my coach had me do very fast laps on very little gears. This means, I was spinning my legs very fast and on sore legs and a little dehydration, that’s not what I felt I needed (although I think coach knew best.) I did sleep pretty well after my dinner at Stueban’s and the Pink Martini concert Saturday night and got up to have a nice egg and spinach breakfast. I guess I was trying to right some of the pre-race wrongs.
I was very excited to know that both Rachel and Joan were going to be in the race and I had my best friend from law school in town to cheer as well! The field wasn’t overly small, but not as big as I had hoped. We had about 20. The race started out pretty fast with Cat Johnson (Big Ring) driving the pace. Cari Higgins (gold medalist from Pan Americans, world cup track racer, general bad ass) was also in the race, but she had helped with the 4’s race, raced the 35+, helped in the kid’s race and was now racing with us. I know that all of this doesn’t slow Cari down, but I figured she probably didn’t feel like taking a flyer, either.
After about 4-5 laps of a few trying to get off the front and driving the pace between 24 and 29 mph, Gwen from the Primal Map My Ride team went off the front and no one really went with her. Also Whitney Schultz was taking flyers and mixing it all up. With enough primes we caught back to Gwen and someone else who had caught her at about 20 minutes to go. So now we were back to one group or so (although we had dropped about 5-6 off the back.)
With about four laps to go and taking in a vanilla power gel in there, I realized that I was feeling pretty good and had a quick meeting with Joan and Rachel (one at a time). I told them that if I could be on Cari’s wheel in the last turn, I could get 2nd or 3rd place. At this time, being on a team became very important and awesome. Rachel took a flyer to push the pace and string things out with 3 laps to go. She went so hard; I thought I might get dropped! Back together, Rachel and Joan moved to the front and allowed me to position better. With a lap to go, Joan got on the front and pushed the pace. I grabbed Cari’s wheel. In the last 270 degree turn, I was right on Cari and Joan had pulled off. Out of the turn, I tried to jump a split second before Cari so I could stay on her wheel. I jumped with her, stayed as best I could and then Whitney came around me. I got 3rd as we were lapping the riders into the finish, but I was so very happy as that was one of the best results I have received in a crit in a long while. I guess my legs were feeling quite good!
Rachel ended up winning the 3’s and getting a few primes along the way. Joan was in the final sprint mix as well. I love this course and I just adore my team!
In addition, to the team racing with me, Cristienne and Erika were also cheering from the side along with Joan’s husband and Cristienne’s husband. It was an awesome Sunday in the park! Pictures and video provided by Cristienne’s smart phone!