Only 5 women registered so they started us with the men. Two women registered with teh mens race so there were 7 of us altogether. Drafting off the men was allowed but we were scored separately. There were about 30-40 of us total, I’m not sure, I’m not good at estimating field size. I started off in the back and we were off. Holy cow. The first two laps were 27-28mph, and my quads were burning right away. AFter the 2nd lap i knew that I would blow if I tried to stay any longer, so another woman and I pulled each other for a few laps. We got lapped by the field and she jumped on and lost me, but shortly they dropped her too. So it was the two of us by ourselves for a LOOOONNNGGG time. I was pretty fried. Even though I tried to maintain a steady pace from lap to lap, I was very erratic in my speed. The front stretch is uphill into the wind so I was doing about 15-18mph on that part and still feeling like crap at the top and sitting up on the back stretch to drink some water. There were a few opportunities to draft that didn’t last long. Finally I looked up and there were only 3 laps left. The back half of the men’s field had just passed me so I jumped on and guess what… I was able to stay with them for the final 2 3/4 laps at about 25mph. it was a lot of fun to be in the draft and push myself to stay with them and know that I was able to do it.

Even though I felt worse than last week’s race and spent a large part of it riding alone, I can still see areas in which I’m improving…I stayed with the MEN this time for almost five full laps, 2 in the beginning and 3 at the end. 2 weeks ago, I couldn’t even stay with the women for 3 laps.

Tonight I was 6 out of 7, did 11.5 miles with an average speed of 19mph.

So I feel OK about the race, but it’s still a drag that there were not enough women to hold our own race. Hopefully next week.

I think there were 7 women in the field and we did a 20 lap race (10 miles). We started off fast – 24 mph. Wow, I was really impressed with myself. I settled in in the 5th position on the paceline and hung on my friend H’s wheel. She’s stronger than me so I decided my race strategy would be to just stay on her wheel. For five laps, that’s exactly what I did and the two of us cruised around with the other three women. it was exciting…10 laps of pacelining and feelingg like a real racer chick. I couldn’t believe it. The week before I couldn’t even stay with them for 3 laps. I was feelingg really good, not blowing up, draftingg well, etc. Then the group decided that H and I should do some work. I don’t really think they cared much, but they were worried that because H & I were new that we didn’t know how to pull through. So H pulled through and then sped up! I was pissed. She’s done way more racing than me, but all on mountain bikes. At least I know that you’re not supposed to accelerate when you pull through unless you’re deliberatly trying ot break up the field. I stomped on my pedals and accelerated from 22 to 24mph and felt my thighs burn. As I was doing it, the girl behind me shouted, “Stay on her wheel”. If I hadn’t stayed on H’s wheel, the other girls would have had to bridge the gap and been pissed at me. Although H never could have held that pace anyway.

So when she was done with her pull, it was my turn. I pulled for almost a full lap…too long. But I felt bad that I had drafted for 5 miles and figured I should try and help everybody out. When i pulled off, I dropped back in behind H, but i was really spent and I knew that I was falling back. I tried to stay on H’s wheel, but she was fallinng off as well. The I saw H look to her right, then her left, then put one hand up to her face. I knew what was coming. She blew a snot rocket right onto me. I screamed her name and she turned around to apologize. The three women in front of us just kept on going, oblivious to our antics and arguing! So I let H go and cruised solo for another 2 laps recovering. When the field of 3 lapped me, I hopped back on and was able to stay with them for the remainder of the race.

This was a fantastic race for me. I finished a solid 5th behind 4 really strong women, pacelined for 5 miles then was able to get back in the paceline for the last mile of the race. My average speed was 20.5mph! Holy cow!

Bike racing is getting to be a lot of fun.