Sunday, July 8, 2007

Redmond Derby Days

Redmond Derby Days is the longest continually run bike race in N. America or something like that. The whole Derby Days celebration is for the birthday of the city of Redmond. This year Redmond turned 95. It felt like it was almost that hot out in the concrete labyrinth that is downtown Redmond. This year was my 2nd time doing the Redmond Derby Days crit. It is one of the only, if not the only, crit in WA state that offers equal prize $ for the pro women's & men's fields. This is very cool. Last year, I was 5th in the race & I think 3rd in the 1,2's (they score the 3's separately) & walked out of the with a couple hundred bucks. It was sweet.

This year, the competition has risen a bit & I think more people were in town, plus the prize list attracted some out of towners. Ti Cycles had a full squad out in force. There were at least 8 of us on the start line. The race course is a flat 4 corner, almost square course. Most of us had a great start & there were 5 or 6 Red & Black Ti women at the front of the race the first few laps. It was a fast race & I do not remember the details exactly because of the amount of time spent in oxygen debt, but I know we raced aggressively & rode well in the pack. It was fun! I had a few nice attacks & was active in chasing things down or not letting attacking riders get up the road. Most of the Ti women were doing a good job of this, too & we were able to control the race.

The amount of money on the line & primes made things interesting in the pack. In almost every race before ours there had been crashes on the last corner on the final lap. That is a fast corner with a lot of traffic turtles. The city of Redmond actually has some removed some for the crit course in the middle of the road on entry into the corner, but there are still a few that can have an effect depending on when you start your turn. Our race was safe on that corner, but Karen A. on our team was doing some pretty aggressive riding. She even took a wheel from me in a corner by physically bumping my bars & hips to get it. That was interesting. She also had a close call with someone else on the 3rd corner on the final lap. I was right behind that & thankful they kept it upright.

At 5 laps to go, there was a prime & Suz Weldon attacked & it formed a little break. A teammate of mine was up there along with a Group Health girl. 2 girls ahead of me pulled the pack back up to them & I counter attacked when we caught them. Just then, they rang the bell at 4 laps to go for a prime of $50. I lead most of the lap & thought about gunning it, but then someone came flying by who I had not really seen the whole race. I figured she had been waiting for her chance to take a prime. Well, turns out she had been a lap down & not eligible for primes. I ended up winning the prime because I was leading the pack when we came through. Ha Ha. I had no idea until after the race & they were handing out prize $ that I won that.

Well, at 3 laps to go, they gave us a$100 prime. I was no where up there for that one, but knew I had to move up in the pack. It was so stinking fast! I was just railing it trying to hang onto the wheel in front of me. I wish I had had more wits about me to move up on the back stretch. I tried, but that was everyone else's plan, too. Final lap starts & I had poor position. I was just hoping to get a decent finish at that point & hoping our sprinters were in decent enough position to fend for themselves. When it came time to sprint, my legs were totally spent. There was no freshness left.

I ended up 16th. Annette was 2nd to one of the out of towners who had not really shown her cards the whole race. Karen A. was 5th in overall & 1st in the 3's. Liz was 7th & Karen C. was 2nd in the 3's. It was great to have a race where we felt like we worked well together. The ladies had all worked hard & were aggressive. Our race averaged over 25 mph and my top speed was over 31 mph.

This was a race where I put it all out there. At least it wasn't for no reason. I did not come out with the placing I would have liked, but I was glad to contribute for the sprinters & work with the team. I made progress on having a good start & being aggressive on taking wheels during the race. I was also comfortable in the corners - for the most part. Still need to work on the crit finishes.

After the race, I enjoyed some Kamikaze action Derby Days style - because what goes well with adrenaline? More adrenaline!

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