The North Star Grand Prix Stage 4: Uptown Criterium
Tell me how I arrive 25 minutes early to the line, and these women were already rolling deep with 4-5 rows set up? Ugh. Starting from the back is the worst. I was just certain I was gonna be early, and line up towards the front. Lesson learned. Get there even earlier.
I'm not a fan of the National Anthem, not even a bit. I'm with Kap on this one, but on Wednesday when they were having technical difficulties, one of the folks helping with the race volunteered to sing it. I can't remember his name, but it's the cutest thing in the world hearing him belt out the Star Spangled Banner with his Minnesota accent. I LOVE the regional accent. Even my new friends from yesterday (the hoarse farmer/ pickup truck guy) had thick Midwestern accents going on. Irrelevant, but yea. If you're in Minnesota and show up for Stillwater, chances are this guy is gonna sing the anthem again, it's great, trust me.
Okay, back to the race. We get moving, and I'm trying to fight my way up a little. No luck, there's too many womens, we're going super fast, and I can't find a way through. I decide to just hang on until the pace slows a bit, and then I can make my move. I hear a crash, I saw nothing, my path was clear, I kept going.
The pace slowed and I move up a little bit every lap. I make my way to mid pack and try to stay there. I am very pleased with this speed because the laps are just flying by. I feel like every time I look up at the lap counter we'd done another 7 laps. Beautiful.
Then it happens. We're coming around the final turn about midway through the race, and I stark choking on something. This is frustrating because I hadn't eaten anything in HOURS. Then I realize what it was. A freaking popcorn kernel. Ugh.
I hack, and cough, and then I puke all over myself and my bike. Fantastic. I'm just glad it wasn't another day of feeling sick for a few laps. It happened quickly, and then it was over. I kept it moving. Someone slides out in a corner, I'm a few wheels back and by the time I get there, she'd slid out of the way. I kept going.
I try and move up a little more, I find myself getting disconnected from the wheel in front of me after the 3rd turn every lap. Then an image of a tattoo I saw on one of the women riding for LA Sweat popped into my head. On her thigh she has the words "pedal faster, not harder". So that's what I did. I shifted down and spun like a mad woman. It worked. I reconnected. It helps that I've gotten really good at taking turns pretty tight. So when the folks in front of me get jammed up in the corner, I can cut the apex like a boss and reconnect pretty easily. I'd rather not fall off the back at all, but we take what we can get.
I hunker down because the last 3 laps are usually lightening fast. I hang on to wheels as we go around and around, and then just like that, it's over.
I have been given the nickname "The Vomit Comet". Haven't decided if I'm into it yet...
What did I learn:
- Popcorn is the devil's snack.
- Spin faster, not harder.
- Line up even earlier or you'll have lots of butts to get around.
- Never felt sick, even though I did vomit.
- Started in the back, but made up some ground.
- Finished with the pack.
Road Race tomorrow. Maybe everyone else has achy legs too? I'm not gonna count on it.