Madera Stage Race, March 14-15, 2009
Overall General Classification (GC): 7
This was my first stage race. It was held in Madera, CA which is located in the central valley. It consisted of a 40 minute criterium Saturday morning, a 10 mile time trial (TT) on Saturday afternoon and a 51 mile road race on Sunday. At a minimum, it would serve as a benchmark at this early point (for me) in the racing season. Last month I was off the bike completely for two weeks due to vacation and surgery, and then had to scale back my training efforts a notch during post-op recovery. I was really looking forward to the race, but also realistically acknowledging that I am not in peak form. I felt surprisingly great during the crit and the road race – my “sweet spot” is typically the time trial, but that turned out to be where I lost time. I am looking forward to the next Beat the Clock TT for some good TT training. I missed 6th GC place by less than a half a second, and would have placed 5th but for my penalty (see TT report below). All in all, a great first stage race. We had perfect weather the entire weekend (high temps around 70 and mostly sunny) which made for an enjoyable weekend of racing. Hermes also completed the stage race with the Cat 5 men and had a stellar time trial stage. Fortunately our race schedules meshed very well because there was a lot of driving around to get to the various race venues.
Stage 2, Criterium
Sat. 9:50 AM
Time: 39:43 – finished with the pack
Course: Flat, a little more than 1 mi, four corner, industrial park, very good pavement, wide streets, one perpendicular RR crossing.
The criterium has is not usually the deciding factor for the general classification. There are 20/10/5 second bonuses for 1-3 and two 5 second bonuses for the primes. This was my first crit – my goal was to finish with the pack and move on to the next stage – mission accomplished. I actually enjoyed the crit and took part in a couple breakaways and led out on the last lap. A crash on corner 3 took down one cyclist and a woman next to me hit a traffic cone that came my way. Otherwise, uneventful and fun.
Start of W Cat 4 crit
Velodiva leading the peloton on last lap
Stage 3, Sharon ITT
Sat. 2:22 PM start time
Time: 27:14 (official time w/30 second penalty 27:44)
Course: Flat, rectangular, 10-mile loop, breezy, moderate temperature. Cross-tailwind on first two legs, cross-headwind on third leg, headwind on short final leg.
I was the first W Cat 4 out – I am used to it with the last name beginning with “A”. There was a lag of 2 minutes between the two groups, so it was unlikely that I would catch anyone – and no one passed me. There was so much hype, talk, and warnings about people going off-course that I wrote the road names on my hand. All that I think led to distraction. I had an ambitious goal of 26:30 but that was not to be realized. I think that I was so wound up about the crit and relieved that it was over that lacked that TT inner drive. The cross-headwind/headwind on the last two legs of the course took its toll. I love to TT and this was a good early season test. Don’t ask about the penalty – that hurt! Before the race (before anyone was on the course), I was warming up on Santa Fe Road mentally gauging the wind effect and was on the TT course for 200 meters – yes, I know better – I swear something happens to your brain during a race. I deserve the penalty for being stupid. Live and learn. It cost me 2 places in the GC.
Velodiva on the TT
Stage 4, Daulton RR
Sun. 11:25 AM
51 miles (3 laps)
Course: 3 laps of 17-mile loop. Slightly downhill windy section, 2.5 miles of “Paris Roubaix” cobblestones followed by the roller coaster through the finish/feed zone.
I was happy to start in the second wave, have a relatively relaxing morning, and more recovery time. The temps were perfect for a road race. That said, I was still a little bummed out about the TT/penalty and not psyched for a 51 mile road race. As it turned out, the road race was a lot of fun and I was able to easily respond to any attacks or breakaways. We dropped almost half of the peloton on the rollers on the first lap and my sole team mate and I were in the lead pack. I loved the series of short roller coasters – this was a fun course. There was an unsuccessful breakaway attempt on the rough section that really rattled everyone up. We passed the Women’s 3 peloton (who started 10 minutes ahead if us) at the beginning of lap 3, so were maintaining a fast pace. Just after the bumpy section when the course was open to two lanes, the official on motorcycle directed us to the right side of the road so the men’s peloton could pass. This bunched us up so I wasn’t positioned up front when the attack on the hills occurred. I felt strong but finished 11th in 2:19:52 (27 seconds behind first place finisher).
The roller coaster
The Paris Roubaix section
Thanks for reading.