My good fortune continued. My mom agreed to take care of the kids the following morning while I competed in the Time Trial, and Alina agreed to come over with her kids to help out my mom and take over when my mom left for church. I was covered, AND my kids were in Heaven. First an all day affair where they could run loose and eat treats, and now a day with Gramma and Aunt Alina and the kids and NO MOM! Wahoo!
I got up way too early and set out for the race. My folks live in Cape Elizabeth where the TT was held, so it was only a short jaunt to get there. I parked and went to get my number.
Talk about different than what I'm used to... First I had to pay a fee for a one day bike license to race. (Actually, I didn't pay it. My friend Bob was very chivalrous and paid it for me so I wouldn't have to hike it back tothe car. I owe you a beer, Bob. Maybe two or three.) Then they gave me my number. It was just a paper thing. I was shown how to put it on my jersey, sort of up under the arm pit where it could be viewed by officials. Oh, okay. Well, that's different! I fucked it up, of course. I was told later by my friend Chess (who kicked my ass in the race) that my number was upside down. Oops!
I saw a bunch of people I knew at sign up, so although I did feel out of my element at this bike thing, I still felt pretty comfortable. Erin, my neighbor growing up (and also my babysitter!) was there. She is an uber biker and I suspected she'd smoke everybody, guys and girls. I saw Ted, who was running the whole show, and I also saw Bob, of course. When we got back to the car Steve and his son Nick were there. It was cool. I knew people. I was not alone. Then my friends Stacy and Erin (another Erin) ran up to say hi. They were out for a long run and not competing. That made me sad. I wanted them there!
I went to warm up. I decided I'd go steady for a bit on the course, and then check in back at the parking lot to see what happened when the race actually started. It was set to begin at 7:30 a.m., but I wasn't supposed to go until 8:06. I arrived back at about 7:35. An interesting scene had developed.
There was a little group of people who were in line waiting to get sent neatly onto the course. Then there was everybody else. It reminded me a little of bees swarming. You had the little center, where a bee would settle and then get sent on his way. Then you had the rest of them, hovering and doing loops around the parking lot, up down around up down around to stay perfectly warmed up. Most people had on KITS. Usually people dress in kits for triathlon, but they are sort of toned down kits--not a lot of writing and not so bright. Also, everyone had on skin tight long sleeves. Is this a cool trend about which I am not aware? There was a mixture of road bikes and TT bikes. Mrs Z fit right in. But I didn't.
I had on the cutest little green lululemon tank and my black Zoot tri shorts. I felt quite styling. Then Steve told me I wasn't supposed to wear a tank top. Apparently you must have sleeves to compete as a bike racer.
Really? Why? So I changed into my boring lime green running shirt I had brought to run in after this whole thing was over. Snore.
Anyway, I decided I would act like a bee, too. I hovered around looping in and out and in and out. I no longer recognized anyone b/c they were all decked in kit and helmet and serious face. Why was everyone so serious? I did recognize Kurt, but I think that is only because he said hi to me and I figured out who he was only then. He looked very tall and bee like, too. I felt like a midget on a dwarf bike and in running clothes. Damn. I hate feeling like I am not in the know.
Finally I gave up on the bee thing and went to watch the people getting sent off onto the course. It was very organized and civil, the exact opposite of a mass wave start in triathlon or the mass start of a road race. I guess it most closely resembled a swim meet in its orderliness. I chatted with my friend Cathy as we waited to start. Cathy and I went to high school together. More importantly, Cathy HAD ON A TANK TOP. I was very jealous. (Cathy also has really cute Newfies at home (you know, the big black dogs). I am jealous of that too, but that has nothing to do with this bike race, of course.)
Finally it was my turn. I wobbled a bit after being sent off. It's a bit weird having someone balance you and then push you off. It reminded me a bit of sending a kid off without the training wheels for the first time. So I wobbled up the street and then, well, I started hammering. Isn't that what I was supposed to do? Hammer?
I was flying--22 mph, 23, 24, 26, 27! And then my quads started to burn. I was two minutes into the race. Hmmm. What exactly does hammer mean? Is this too much of a hammer? Not enough? I decided to stop thinking and just go hard and try to pass people. Passing people was fun. When you did, you KNEW you were ahead of them by a chunk of time, because you had started after them, of course. I was having fun until I got passed by some guy on a road bike. Here he is. I'm still happy and smiling for the camera, and he is just waiting to pass me and make me cry.
Do you like my cat eye glasses? They match my socks, which have cat eyes and whiskers. No one noticed this, however. I was slightly disappointed.
At this point we can have a form discussion. Most people look all scrunched in a ball when they are aero, like this:
That is my friend Ted. It was his birthday today. I love that he is smiling! Note the long sleeves, the colorful kit and the scrunched position.
Now let us review me again. (You can also get a better glimpse of the cool glasses.)
I know it doesn't appear I am working hard in this picture. I am. But it is slightly possible I could've worked harder. I'm simply not used to this ALL OUT thing on the bike. In a sprint or Oly you are all out, but the bulk of my training so far this season has not been geared toward that type of racing, that is for sure!
Toward the end my friend Chess passed me. She reallllllllyyyyy passed me, too. I was like in slow motion and she zipped by me effortlessly. That was slightly depressing, but it did give me a goal. I decided not to let her out of my sight until the finish. I had about 5 miles left. I could do it. I passed a few more people. I kept my eyes glued to Chess. On my final pass I darted by a man who had to be in his 70s. Little did I know he would have NONE of that. He picked up the pace and then preceded to hammer. I was like, ummm, aren't you supposed to drop back? Is that not a rule in cycling? Anyway, the man was NOT going to pass me. Two can play that game! I put down the hammer and I raced him! I was laughing and hooting and hammering. He was not so jovial and I think he was genuinely quite pissed that I raced him to the end. Was I breaking some bike racing rule? Please tell me. I felt bad. I should've let him have it. In any case, he started five minutes ahead of me, so why the need to finish just in front of me?
I ended up placing 2n AG and 5th overall in 37:29, 21.6 average mph. That is not screaming fast, I know, but the course has a few good rollers, and I was racing on legs that have a few hundred million miles on them, so I was perfectly pleased. I would've been even more pleased if I had been fifth and there had been more than 15 women racing! My friend Chess won the whole thing, and Erin was second.
The fastest women were only a couple minutes ahead of me (Okay, Chess was 2.5 minutes ahead of me), but I must admit I was rather dismayed at how much slower I was then most of the men. I expect to not be close to Bob or Steve, but they seriously seriously kicked my ass--by almost five minutes! The fastest men (some guy named Doug and then Kurt) finished in an average of 27 mph. Dear God.
In the results I observed I would've placed at about 50th percentile for men. In triathlon I place much higher than that... interesting interesting interesting.
I noted that although the guy who raced me in the end didn't beat me, another man that age DID. I must say that many of the men that beat me looked significantly older than me AND had pot bellies. What is up with that? I will add here that Steve, Bob and Kurt do not have pot bellies. But a lot of the guys out there did.
I will leave you with a picture of:
Tomorrow: At which I swim with Alina and company in the open water and drink pollen for breakfast. Also, a few bonus kid shots. Here is a teaser. They stole the iPhone: