My first race in 6 weeks, and this last week I've put in better training than I have all season. Mentally I was set for this race, physically I could be -11 lbs. and considerably stronger, but I yam what I yam and off we went for a 90-min. drive to the Center of Bay Area Racing this weekend.
CAT 4, 35+ -- a small but spunky group of women. 44 went off to a rousing downhill start. My strengths are not fast downhills and tight corners; I prefer sweeping turns and hills. This course was to my liking.
Since I was pack fodder anyway my strategy was to pick off the dropped racers who don't climb well. As they suffered, I prospered, getting faster with each climb. I lost time on the downhill, though, and I know what my work is between now and the next race.
In the end I placed 34th, my teammate placed 20th, and we had great fun. Good practice, good fun, great support from my family and hers.
PMan, you were spot-on with your description of the course; that knowledge kept my pre-race jitters ("WTF am I doing, at my age, bicycle racing? Against women young enough to be my kids! I'm gonna get shelled, what's the point, why do I bother?" and so on) to a minimum. So, thanks for that.
Now for a cold beer and a nap.