Monday, June 25, 2007

Elkhorn Classic Stage Race 2007

I left town Thursday evening after a full day at work for a 6 hour drive to Baker City, OR from Seattle, WA. I managed to get into town at 10:30 pm. The plan was to share a room with my teammate & her boyfriend for the weekend (boyfriend of a couple years - room for the weekend). They had scored a great deal on the room, less than $50 for each of us for 3 nights, in what we were expecting to be a non-smoking room. When I got there, Ted & Allison were just getting back from a run to Safeway for some room fragrances & odor concealers to squelch the heavy, thick stench of smoke rot from the room. The smell was overpowering to the senses. Ted went buck wild with some febreeze spray, but it was no match to the wreakiness of the room. The motel manager said it was indeed a non-smoking room, but that she herself would not be able to personally smell the room as her sense of smell had been desensitized from smoking a pack of marlboro's every day for the past 45 years. Anyway, they did what they could as the motel was full & changed out all of the bedding. This seemed to help a little, but they made no effort to shampoo the carpets or strip the paint or drywall from the walls, so it remained stinky. However, if you stayed in the room long enough, you just passed out from the fumes, so it didn't really matter what it smelled like at that point.

So just about everything was pretty inexpensive in Baker City. I spent $3.50 on breakfast, including tip, $3.90 on dinner, $7 on a she-she breakfast, & $4.50 on 3 very large americanos. This was sweet! I did end up dropping $50 at Safeway though - but most of that stuff came home with me too. I ATE 2 LOAVES OF RAISIN BREAD IN 3 DAYS & like 14 bananas.

Oh yes - and then there was the race -

Day 1 - Oregon Trails RR - 5 mile neutral roll out - yep, 5 miles in scorching heat. We had a police escort out of town & a warning that if we crossed the center line at any point during the race we would fall into a pit of scalding hot lava that would burn the flesh from our skin. On this neutral roll out, one woman had a mechanical (second thoughts) & had to get some mechanical support (emotional guidance). Our lead vehicle had us stop & wait for her - & you know what that means..PEE BREAK! Yes indeed, right in front of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Discovery Multi-Cultural Center Museum Display Area. After the pee-break (we were hydrated women for hot RR), the woman with the mechanical came rolling up to rejoin the pack (meet her destiny) & it was game on into a headwind, going downhill at 14 mph. It was a long ride out to the turn around in Richland, OR. I felt super crappy on the way (it was the she-she breakfast) & knew it was going to be a tough day. I got my ass handed to me on the feed hill out of town & dropped from the lead & chase groups. I managed to regain some strength after sucking down 6 or so bottles of water & begging some more from my teammate, Michele. Once recharged, I started making my way through some stragglers in front of me. There was no relief from the wind & I think it was actually worse on the way back in. The last 5K had insanely strong cross winds & I thought I was going to get blown across the centerline - gasp! I managed 10th in the 1-2's, but around 14th on the road since they were scoring 1-2's & 3-4's separate.

Day 2 - TT
I liked the Time Trial & felt much better after non-she she breakfast. There was a slight headwind on the way out to turn around at 5.5 miles, but it was downhill & you could still keep your speed up. The wind was not as bad as the day prior. On the way back, the little tail wind was nice & I jammed. I wonder if I could have gone harder on the way out or even harder on the way back, but I ended up 8th (still almost 2 min down from TT winner- but an improvement). Allison was TT winner & Michele was 2nd! Nice.

Fun crit! Really wide open & the corners are a nice distance from each other, plus there is a long stretch for the sprint - plenty of time for me to get the long legs moving. There were a ton of primes for cash & prizes for our race. A prime almost every lap! I went for a $50 cash prime about 15 min from the finish & won it. Woo- hoo. At 2 laps to go, I was in good position towards the front, but got boxed in when an attack went & ended up trying to move back up on the last lap. I finished 9th. There was a girl from Australian National Team there who just dusted the field. The GC leader was left to do all the work in the field to try to limit losses. She didn't have a teammate who could really help her out. She was obviously frustrated that no one from the field was going to help her chase the other person back.

Final Day RR
Long race day - 101 miles, 3 PEE BREAKS!, 27 neutralizations & 1-8 mile climb after93 miles of racing. Our average speed was 18.1 MPH - the race took me 5 hours & 25 minutes. Long day. The main group pretty much stayed together. We had some great support in the 2nd feed zone, so I was juiced & ready for the final climb. I lasted about 1/2 way up the climb & managed 4th in 1-2's for the day & I think 6th on the road. Allison was 2nd in 1-2's & 1st overall GC Champion. Very cool! Fun racing this day & I am stoked with my placing. I managed 6th in GC - nice. I am not sure where our other ladies ended up overall or on the stage since results haven't been put up yet, but it was great to have so many of us there.

Long drive home & windy! My little car was having a tough time of it with the bike on top, so had to bring both bikes inside to motor home. Made it back to see Sky & Josh! Yah - great weekend of racing, but nice to come home, too.

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