Nittany Lions Day 1

Well, the first race of the season is in the books! I must admit that I could have done without a muddy race for my first race in a very very long time – but that’s bike racing!

The day went really well – some good learning points – some successes and some areas that I definitely know I can improve on for tomorrow. Exactly what I was hoping to get from this first race. As a sign of how long it has been since I’ve packed a race bag – I forgot to bring pins and a towel…

So the race – well the result is not groundbreaking: 19th. But I’ll take it. Deep deep down I was hoping for a top ten. Deep down I was aiming for a top 15. On the surface, I was aiming for a day of fun bike racing with some good take-aways.

For the first time in about three years, I had a decent start – I wasn’t last off the line and I actually sprinted! Definite checkmark in the win column. But what I discovered pretty quickly is that it is a bit hairy when you’re in the mix at the start – I hesitated and backed off – giving up some crucial spots. For a while I was sitting in tenth… Then a few girls went by me and I was sitting in the top 15.

I did have a mechanical in the second lap which was a bit frustrating – racing with a bicycle seat that is pointing straight up in the air is not fun! But luckily Marc was in the pit and I was quickly on my spare bike. There were three mud bogs – two were ridable and one was a definite slog of a run. There was also a muddy run in the woods. The course also had the standard twists and turns as well as a couple of ups and downs. A good creative course with the wet tall grass and mud being a big factor.

In the last two laps (we did five laps – in my opinion one too many laps since I was out there for a well over 40 minutes) – I gave up four spots – partly out of definite fatigue, over-gearing, some tightness in the corners, and another mechanical – this time the seat on my other bike decided to get in on the action and was suddenly pointing straight up – time for another bike change!

Big thanks to Marc who raced to a very fine 9th place in a deep and competitive field and then quickly changed and stood in the pits for me – couldn’t do this without him.

So, how am I feeling? Well, I’m happpy to have the first race done and out of the way. I was very nervous beforehand but I remembered what my friend Sheri told me last weekend – everyone is nervous. I feel okay – obviously 19th is not where I want but I have to look at the performance and not the outcome.

My take-aways are:
– goodish start need to keep going and be more aggressive
– need to contintue to turn the wheel and complete my turns
– look up at all times
– pay attention to my gearing – I don’t always need to be in the big ring
– look for places to recover – I really gassed myself in the first three laps and wasn’t able to continue to sprint out of the corners or run as well as I would have liked
– barriers went well
– little steep climbs were better than have been
– my mud riding was pretty good (thank-you Belgium!)

Mentally I had a couple of low moments but I think this is normal when you’re going hard. I can say I haven’t hurt this badly in a long time – nothing like a bike race to really put the hurt in your lungs and legs!

All in all – a good day. I got to hang out with some good friends. I’m very happy for Marc as well. The post-race clean-up was time consuming but now the bikes are sparkling clean, the clothes are washed and we’re ready for tomorrow.

Tomorrow I have a few goals:
– better gearing
– have a good start again
– recover on the course so I can go really hard when I need to
– turn better

Alright, this is a bit long – sorry I couldn’t write two posts – I’m blogging from my iPad and can’t figure out how to access some sections of my website…

Oh, and in case you didn’t see this:

And now – back to the Food Network – it is a Chopped marathon!

3 thoughts on “Nittany Lions Day 1

  1. Thanks for posting this evening; I’m so pleased to read your (very positive) report.
    Tomorrow is another opportunity. I know you’ll use it well.

  2. Great to be cheering you on again Vicki. I am sure you and Marc are having fun racing again. Good luck Sunday to you and Marc and if you have the line in a corner hold it and you will see you will keep your position 🙂 Don’t be shy !!!

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