I put a pair of Mavic Ksyrium Elite’s on my bike a few weeks ago…not the lightest wheels, I know, but a full pound lighter than my former set. Has my lack of success in this sport been caused by heavy wheels? For now and for my ego, I’m gonna have to give myself a little credit for my performance before I give myself over to the Mavic Gods.
I mean, I’m not ready to start talking trash to the Pro’s at the start line, yet, but knowing I can keep up is a great mental victory. It means I’m not racing in a constant state of panic. It means my nerves can relax a little on the start line. It means I can now focus my training on more specified skills. Skills like sprinting, for instance.
I’ve spent most of the winter doing a lot of climbing in an effort to get strong and it definitely paid off this weekend in the Patriots Trail Road Race in Rock Hill, SC. In the past, as soon as the road tilts upward, I end up at the back of the pack praying to hang on. Not this weekend. Honestly, I’ve never felt so comfortable on the hills. I was able to sit in easily and able to follow the accelerations as the field spread out and gaps opened. I helped chase breaks and even followed an attack or two, but was not quite comfortable enough to put in any attacks myself. Small steps.
The Rock Hill Old Towne Crit was a huge success for me as well because up until Saturday, I had always been dropped in that race. With my heart rate red lining for the bulk of the race, I wasn’t employing too many strategies; only one – hang on. I can’t begin to explain the elation going through me when I heard race announcer, Chad Andrews, call last lap. My body seemed to relax as I realized I’d reached my goal for the race. My heart rate actually dropped as the panic left my brain. I was so excited, I wanted to attack on the back stretch, but I was blocked in so I stayed put. Again, small steps.
(That's Kat Clark from Kenda Tire on the front. Leigh Hopkins from Vanderkitten is hidden behind her, followed by Deb Sweeney Whitmore from BMW-Bianchi, my teammate, Christina DeKraay and Morgan Patton from Team Type One. More importantly, that's me in the blue helmet toward the back taking a drink of water during the crit. Proof of my allegations in this blog.)
So, instead of breaking down, I appear to be breaking out…which means I get to enjoy bike racing again. Unlike last year, I finished this weekend of racing with a big smile and I soooo can’t wait for Charleston in a couple weeks.