This is just a quick blurb about our Sea Otter adventure so far. I’ll have the whole trip written out latter.
We got into Monterey 5 minutes before our planned time of 4AM. No one fell asleep at the wheel, but as Tony and I drove into the neighborhood where we are staying, Tony’s sleepy eyes misread the map and we spent about 20 minutes driving in circles attempting to find our host house. Good one Tony.
The next morning came too quickly. We slept in until 10AM, but if felt much earlier. Thursday was warm and sunny, temperatures reached 80 degrees.
I raced on Thursday. It was a 90 minute circuit race around the Laguna Seca race course (about 2 miles with a steep climb and corkscrew decent. I lined up with 50 other cat2 and U23 racers and we tore up the first hill at a quick pace. Then we went up it again the next lap, even faster. Then faster again on the third lap. By this point, I was feeling pretty bad and was no longer finishing the climb in the top 5. We had already whittled the field down to 25 or so and I was suffering. We did not slow down, but I did begin to feel better as we went. And 45 minutes into it, I was feeling fine. It usually takes me a while to get warmed up.
A 2 man break got away with about an hour to go and attempts to bridge up to it were useless; the pack chased down everything.
We were 30 minutes from finishing and the field had shrunk to 18 people when I noticed that my rear tire kept sliding around on the corners. It had been feeling low on air for a couple laps by now, and I dared not look down to see a flat tire. Maybe if I didn’t look at it, it would be OK. I nearly skidded out on the next 180 degree corner as my rim ate into the pavement. I slowed down and the entire pack passed me. I looked over at the support car as it passed (not realizing it was neutral support) and continued pedaling towards the finish. I got to the wheel pit, had the wheel replaced, and waited for the pack to return during my free lap. I had no free lap though. “Free lap? This is a circuit race, not a crit!” yelled the guy at the wheel pit. I cursed as he pushed me back into the race. By now the pack was more than a minute and a half ahead. The race was over. Even if I had only been 30 seconds off the back, there would be no way I could have caught back on. The pace was too high.
Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyways) I was very angry.
Tony had his first race today, the road race. The road race is a hilly circuit of about 8 miles. Unfortunate for Tony, the course was too hilly. He hung in the very fast cat 4 race for 5 of six laps, and was finally dropped on the sixth lap. Hills are not his strong suit. The guy who won looked like he belonged in the p/1/2 race.
Karey’s race went terrible. She was half a lap into the circuit race coming down the corkscrew when another rider knocked into her from the side. Karey yelled at her, and the rider swung into her again, slamming her rear tire into Karey’s front wheel. Somehow in the chaos, Karey’s stem valve was torn off and she flatted instantly. It was miraculous that she didn’t take a 35mph face plant into the pavement. Karey was pissed.
My road race went well. We started with about 70 120 riders. There were two major teams there: Rock Racing and a team from England called Plowman-Craven. The first 2 laps were the hardest, and we dropped about half the field on the hill. I was aggressive during the first lap, chasing down breaks and bridging gaps. Nothing stuck though. By the time we came to the main climb on the second hill, I was very tired. And I lagged near the back of the pack. A breakaway of almost 10 guys got up the road and we never saw them again. I think I would have been able to go with them if I had rested more during the first lap, but I didn’t want to risk any of those previous breakaways getting up the road without me.
The pace slowed down on the fourth lap, when the break away was finally well established. We still went hard on the hills, but no one wanted to pull on the flats like they had before. For the next 3 laps, things were uneventful. But on the seventh and eight laps, people began trying to break away again. The field was split in thirds at one point, and I bridged across to the lead group by myself. But we all came back together a few minutes later. The last lap was tough. We went hard up the main climb and dropped more suffering riders. A couple miles later, 3 guys fought their way off the front and drilled it the rest of the way home to the finish line. So now the rest of us were fighting for 13th place.
Another breakaway got up the road. This one had 5 guys in it. They had 15 or 20 seconds on what was left of the field as we turned off the loop we had been doing for the last 3 hours and onto the final 2 kilometer climb. Groups began forming as everyone began going at their max. My group caught the 5 man breakaway. 1 kilometer to go. pain. pain. more pain. I don’t recall what went on at this point. pain. 200 meters to go. I saw Tony yelling at me on the side of the road. “SPRINT, SPRINT” I got up out of the saddle for the last 75 meters and finished. 19th place. I was pleased. We drove back home (to the my relative’s house), eyes rolling back in our heads from fatigue. We ate bowl after bowl of pasta and then bowl after bowl of chili. Karey, we apologize in advance for the car trip home.
Tony and karey race one more time today. I’m going for a long ride. It is sunny here. hahahahah