The hardest part of transitioning to a track racer for me has been adjusting to a winter race schedule. With racing all winter, that means off season in February or March. When most people are using there October/November/December doing base season training rides, I am racing track. Then I take my off season in the spring, and when I am ready to come back to training, it is right in the thick of road racing season at home! There are so many awesome races in Northern California in the spring, truly Spring Classics! So although I am usually out of shape, I can't resist and I do them for my base season. It is fun racing, even though I for sure got a big can of whoop ass handed to me this year.
These photos are from LandPark crit; I love this little course in Sacramento. I raced it two weeks after coming back from off season. I did the boys and girls race that day. I won the women's race, and finished the men's, which perhaps set my expectations about my fitness slightly off, but I quickly got a dose of reality!
The next week was my wedding, which I already wrote about. That was a spotty training week, but I made up for it the following week on my honeymoon. That was a lot of fun riding! I came back from honeymoon to race Copperopolis. I love this race so much! It is my all time favorite race and the one race I haven't missed since 2010 (the first year I did it!) It is always so, so hard - I love it! Leah Thomas and Jill McClaughlin dropped me on the hill the second time up. I chased hard with another group, but I was not fit enough and ended 4th. But that race never disappoints with a quality day of training!
So it was beginning of April - 5 weeks of training and I was ready for an NRC stage race... Redlands!
Uhhhhh, what did I just say?
Jakroo was putting together a composite team of NorCal rockstars for Redlands, so it seemed like a great training opportunity!
Here is our group from right to left - Leah, Claire, Kim, Amanda, Jeanette, Emily, me, Joanna. A great group to spend the week with! And our kits look awesome!
There is something to be said for knowing a race and knowing how to suffer. Somehow those two things masked the fact that I had only been training for 5 weeks. I was amazed how well I could fake it! The first day was a new race for me - the highland circuit race. This is the penultimate lap - see I am at the front. I actually crested with a small lead group that lap, but then I wasn't near the front for the last time up, needless to say.
I got through stage 2 (the TT) and the stage 3 with the climb up oak glen. Next was the crit day, and like I said having done this race a few times, you learn a few things.
For instance, have friends who always start in the front, and stand by them xoxo Olivia Dillon!
The last day was the Sunset Loop. I really like this course. I was getting fitter as the stage race went on, and at Sunset I stayed in the lead group until about 1.5 laps to go, when splits started forming. I almost bridged back up to the lead pack on the feedzone climb, but just didn't make it, and came in with the second group, which was a very solid group of riders, so I was happy with my overall race.
Sunset loop = WATER!!!
Here is me and my hubby post sunset. Don't ask me what he is trying to tell me!
Leah Thomas and Clarice Sayle were super rockstars at Redlands. Both the first time doing the race - they were very, very impressive! Great riders with great attitudes. And Claire officially gave the best synopsis of the Sunset Loop that I have heard. She finishes, rolls in, and goes: "What the F*#%@ was that?!" I think that about sums up the Redlands Sunset Loop Road Race!
I was pretty tired from Redlands and the next week attempted Sea Otter Road Race. That was a big "I got dropped." The next day I redeemed myself and did the Grasshopper Skaggs ride. If you ever really have some self loathing you need to get under control, sign up for the Skaggs Grasshopper ride. Hands down hardest day on the bike. The last hour was like doing leg presses, for a whole hour. I am glad I did this, though, because it got me ready for the Mallorca 312 - which I will dedicate a separate post to.
Came back from Mallorca and did a fun weekend racing of Cat's Hill and Calavares Time Trial.
I lost the sprint to Leah, and got 2nd at Cat's Hill. Thanks Garrett Lau for the photo!
I also lost Calavares TT to Leah the next day. :)
But I did then win the Merckx TT at Calavares, but that was only because Leah didn't enter. Thanks Katie Truong for the photo!
So at this point it is May, I am back in okay shape, and my road season is almost done. Sad face! The last race I usually plan to do is Berkeley Hills road race. After having lost a bunch of races this year, I was ready to WIN one! I've had some bum luck with this course, and this year was no different. At the start line, they tell us we will have a follow car and to put spare wheels in the car. I made some joke about it at the start line.... about who has two 11speed cassettes to put on a spare wheel..... Which of course would be a karma payback, as I had a massive blowout, and no spare wheel in the car. So, that was that race.
When you blow out, though, be sure to do it with style...
And, that was pretty much road season.
POST ROAD SEASON UPDATE: I did do Pescadero Road Race as a training day in June, which was cool. And I signed up for Mt Tam hill climb as a training day in September, which this nice photo from Ornot is maybe the only good thing that came out of the day. :)
So that was the road racing year for me. Very short, but very fun! I for sure miss road racing a lot..... like back in 2011-2013 when I did like 40ish races a year. I miss being super fit for road racing. I mean, not that I am not fit now - it is just a different type of fitness. I mean, look at my guns in the above photo. Those are track racing biceps. Maybe after track, I will take it up again.....OrNot --- courtesy of my photographer above.