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shovelhd 06-07-13 01:11 PM

You look determined.

carpediemracing 06-07-13 08:56 PM

It looks like you had an awesome time!

Hermes 06-07-13 09:26 PM

Great shot. What's next? IAB and or Cane Creek speed bars?

sarals 06-07-13 11:10 PM


Originally Posted by carpediemracing (Post 15718544)
It looks like you had an awesome time!

Aki, I did! Finally, after all of this time, I found I could actually race! Wow...

sarals 06-07-13 11:10 PM


Originally Posted by Hermes (Post 15718626)
Great shot. What's next? IAB and or Cane Creek speed bars?

On an Evo!

sarals 06-07-13 11:38 PM


Originally Posted by shovelhd (Post 15716966)
You look determined.

I was throwing it down, for sure!

carpediemracing 06-08-13 09:39 PM


Originally Posted by sarals (Post 15718789)
Aki, I did! Finally, after all of this time, I found I could actually race! Wow...

I'm really happy for you. It's a reward for hanging in when it was demoralizing and stuff.

sarals 06-09-13 10:56 AM


Originally Posted by carpediemracing (Post 15721310)
I'm really happy for you. It's a reward for hanging in when it was demoralizing and stuff.

I really thought there was something wrong with me. I had absolutely no benchmark (and fast group rides don't count) as to my abilities, my strength, or my relative fitness as compared to other women who race bikes. I suspected my inabilities to hang with those young girls and young women had everything to do with age, but I really had no way of testing that until the Senior Games. I was never athletic when I was young, so I had no idea where I stood, ever, as compared to other female athletes. All there was available to school age girls when I was there was "field hockey" and "cheerleading". Neither appealed to me, and besides, I was never "popular' or pretty enough to even consider or be considered for a cheerleading squad. I started all this six years ago, in earnest just last year. I was 60! I just could not understand why I was getting totally gassed and spit off the back of every single race I entered, especially when I knew that I had the speed. Well. I also had the "age", and there the huge difference in recovery that goes with that. With the women I tested myself against this past week, I did just fine, thank you very much. I am normal, after all! I now have a different perspective to racing my bike. I will absolutely continue to enter the Cat 3/4 races, and my goal is still to finish with the field. But, I don't feel the pressure anymore (which was self-imposed). Ex was right, my races are all like the hardest races you fellas ever do, but that's okay. They will make me stronger yet. I know now I can go to a senior race and do well - and have bucket loads of fun doing it!

sarals 07-02-13 05:11 PM

Tales From The Dark Side - Sara's Aspirations

This just turned up on the Velo Girls Facebook Page.

"Why, no, I am not a badass"

AzTallRider 07-02-13 07:58 PM

Let me make it easier for everyone... and way to go!


Allegheny Jet 07-02-13 07:59 PM


Originally Posted by sarals (Post 15808081)

This just turned up on the Velo Girls Facebook Page.

"Why, no, I am not a badass"

Congrats for being an example Sara! You made Facebook! Remember the movie "The Jerk" and Navin Johnson's listing in the phonebook? Just saying...

Hermes 07-02-13 09:45 PM

I know the other women and they are wonderful people and great competitors. It will be glorious...cage match...three women go in and one comes out.

sarals 07-03-13 08:38 AM

Tales From The Dark Side - Sara's Aspirations
Hermes, you're scaring me! ;). Well, I know I'll get at least third. Actually, I'll fight for this one! As you said, a cage match - ha!

AzT, thank you! AJ, a big hug!!!

I'm looking forward to this race, it should be fun. You all know how hard this road is. To finally start to get somewhere on it really feels good. I can't sing the praises of you fellas enough, you've all been wonderful. And then there is My Coach. He is just the best!!!

AzTallRider 07-28-13 02:35 PM

Awaiting a race report!

sarals 08-04-13 10:09 AM


Originally Posted by AzTallRider (Post 15897532)
Awaiting a race report!


It was reported to USAC that I got 4th. I was announced as second at the event. I'm still trying to figure that one out. Second place was still in the wheel pit when I was cleared out of it, and she never (ever) passed me in the remaining laps. I didn't know there was another rider, a fourth. Emails to the race director haven't been answered. Not that this matters, I did what I needed to do, and a flat fixed the outcome for me. Still, I'd like to know how the finish rankings were arrived at.

Hermes 08-04-13 10:21 AM

The results of all races are posted after the end of the race and racers have X amount of time to protest. I know that MEA has protested in the past which is why we wait for results. And at championship events, there are always podium ceremonies and medals given out. If you were 2nd, you should have been called to the podium and they hand a medal for around your neck. Did they do that?

Let's assume you failed to check the results and USAC got the results wrong. Well, as I said in another post, racing is not fair and not always accurate. You had a great race in a tough field and the outcome would certainly be different if you did not flat. However, if there is a lesson learned, if you podium at a championship event or think you did, check the results and show up for the medals and podium pics.

AzTallRider 08-04-13 11:44 AM

I learned that lesson quickly, after I wasn't scored in 2 out of three races in a row. Those results happened not to matter. Of course, I've also been scored in a race when I registered but didn't start. Now I always verify, and have had to have a couple adjusted. Almost all races use cameras, but they aren't the same height off the ground. So number placement that is great for one race may not work for another race, and the officials may not be able to read your number, particularly in a pack. In one of the races where I had mine corrected, the official had me look at the pic's to point myself out. My number was unreadable, as it was fairly high on my back and the camera angle was pretty low that day. Now I try to check that out before I put my number on. This likely isn't your situation for this race, but is just something you should be aware of. Be obsessive about your number, and check the results sheet.

Is it possible that the woman in the pits joined a lap after you did, and then finished ahead in the pack? That's the only thing I can think of... but as has been mentioned: Machts Nicht. You had a great race.

sarals 08-04-13 12:27 PM

Long story short - I was at the car and did not hear the call for the podium for the M45 race. Someone else did and said "Sara, get up there, they just called your name for the podium". Huh? So, I finished changing (look at the photo, I'm not in my kit) and RAN over to the podium (another parking lot, far, far away). When I got there, I was told I belonged on the podium, I'd gotten second in 60+ (NOT from a race official, by the way), so I got up there and never even noticed the medals. My bad! I assumed something - my worse! Newbie racer, right?

I'm not one to make a stink. As I said, I don't know what happened with the placing, but I'd like to. That is all. I'm not contesting it. I did what I wanted to do. I proved to me I CAN race with the other women, I'm better than I thought, I'm going to have a good season next year, and they now know me. In a good way. That's worth so much more to me now than arguing about fourth verses second, and it's more to the point. My point.

sarals 08-04-13 12:37 PM

By the way, I DID go around for another lap after the pack finished because the gal I was working with said "we need one more!" I said, "no we don't, we're on the same lap"....but around we went anyway. It's possible, then, that they counted me coming in on the "cool down" lap as a finish, and not as a cool down - and placed me behind the other two women. Hermes, you're right, I should have asked. I know now to do that. AzT, yeup - verify!

sarals 08-18-13 03:06 PM

I finally got an answer, today, from USAC about my placing in the Menlo Park GP crit. The official said he remembered the whole thing, and told me that I had placed ahead of the woman in question, but it was too late to change it (that's okay with me). He said the 'take away" was to CHECK THE RESULTS AT THE RACE and then protest there. Otherwise, you get what you get (sic).

sarals 08-18-13 03:07 PM

Now I'm trying to find out why I am not ranked by NCNCA, at all, even though I have placed in NCNCA championship races (others who have placed behind me in those races were ranked). They're working on it.

Is the officiating always this bad?

sarals 08-18-13 03:08 PM

Frikkin' knee hurts!!!

I know. Quit whining and HTFU....


revchuck 08-18-13 06:30 PM

...or you could always quit whining and start wining...:innocent:

sarals 08-19-13 10:57 AM


Originally Posted by revchuck (Post 15974675)
...or you could always quit whining and start wining...:innocent:

:p !!!!!

Thanks, Chuck! ;)

sarals 08-28-13 05:04 PM

2013 Season Recap

I came into the 2013 season fully expecting, based on what I had learned on this forum, to be ready to build, learn, expect frustration, and don't expect results. I was honestly thinking on a three year plan. Build this year, start to expand on that gained strength and experience next year, and perhaps start to get results by the third year. And, stay ahead of Father Time while I was doing it. I knew it would be a tall order, and I knew it would be hard, but I was in a place I had never been before. I had never been athletic, I had only "competed" in triathlons and running events, and in spite of thinking I knew what to expect, I had an idea that my perception was way off! However, with Ex's coaching in the off season, I felt I was back from the gall bladder adventure I had experienced the previous August. Based on what I was able to do in the group rides I had participated in, I thought I was ready to start the season.

First races: a weekend with AzT and Ex in some Socal races. We were going to do a road race in Santa Maria. I entered the W4 field, got a ride with the fellas to the race, checked in, locked Ex out of his car, and then was shocked to find out that AzT had crashed - badly - on his first lap. After things settled down a little bit with AzT, Ex took me around the course on the bike and gave me some pointers. He had some positive things to say about my fitness, which were very encouraging. After that, the three of us drove back to Casa Ex and took a recovery ride up the lower slopes of Mount Baldy. That evening, Ex told me he was going to do an ITT in Hesperia, and he thought I should contest it, as well. So, the next morning we drove to the hight desert and I got to experience my first ever ITT. I was the only woman, so I medaled. I was shocked, and stoked!

In February I drove up to Napa to ride in the Cherry Pie Criterium. I had entered the mentored W 4 race, and in error had entered the M 35+ crit, as well. Ex was there, and gave me some pointers before the race ("stay attached"). The course featured a soul crushing little climb to the finish with a 180 degree turn at the top. The descent was too short to offer any meaningful recovery, so the best course of action was to stay in the field. Unfortunately, I didn't do that. I was moving up on the inside on the second lap up that hill, had an "I don't belong here moment", and fell back - and was blown off the back on the descent. Hesitation killed me! I was pulled with three to go, and wasn't DFL, but was down there. In the M 35+ race, I was shelled after one lap, and dropped out. The officials gave me a finish. I left that race wondering what the hell I was thinking doing this racing stuff.

My next notable race was the Snelling Road Race. I had decided to ride my Bianchi for that race, feeling it was the better of my crop of road bikes. My goal was to stay with the pack as long as possible, and that turned out to be the better part of the first lap. I wasn't last, either, and I actually enjoyed myself. I came away feeling I was stronger and a better rider than I had thought going in to that race. I learned the importance of staying attached and of working with other riders.

The day after Snelling I did my second crit of the season on a flat, fast course in a nearby industrial park. The field was small, five - me and four UC Davis kidlins. I had left a lot on the road at Snelling and after one lap of hanging on for dear life I popped, and then rode around the next bunch of laps at my own pace. I finished, but that's all I did. Oh - I found out I could do 25 MPH on the flats.

My first A race was Sea Otter. I entered the circuit race and the road race events. Both courses were HARD, very hilly, and were populated by strong riders. The courses definitely didn't suit me, but I knew I needed the reps. I messed up my openers ride the day before the circuit race by going too hard and too long, burning waaaay too many matches. Then, I compounded the error by riding my bike to the race the next day, and by the time the whistle blew, I had nothing left. I was yanked after three laps and given a merciful finish. Two days later I did the road race, which is a very tough, very hilly course on the back roads of old Fort Ord. I was shelled off the back in the first climb, but I hung tough and finished, in spite of allowing myself to seriously dehydrate! Drink, Sara - even when you don't want to.

I did a couple of circuit races after Sea Otter, finishing close to the field, and actually dropping a few people on some of the climbs. I thought I might be improving, or at least getting the hang of racing. My mental outlook was bland, though - I expected nothing, so I did nothing. Aggression wasn't there, at least not yet.

I took a month off from training and racing to get my head on right.

It worked.

My next race was the Panoche Valley road race. 24 miles of climb into a 30 MPH headwind, but 24 miles back down with a 30 MPH tailwind! Many savvy racers showed up for the race, and then bailed. I thought, I paid for it, I'm going to do it! I was able to hang with the lead group for ten miles, and then got shelled on a pull and couldn't reattach. I worked with another young rider for most of the rest of the outbound leg, and then was dropped by her about three miles from the turnaround. I managed to catch her on the descent, though. I was very forgiving when I let her finish in front of me, feeling she deserved it for all of the work she had done on the climb. Later she told me how tenacious I had been, and I was gratified to hear that.

The Big Race, the Pasadena Senior Games, arrived in June. I entered the 10K and 20K ITT's, as well as the 20K and 40K road races. I had no idea what to expect. Ex, however, was very high on my chances for this race, feeling that I'd do very well against my peers. I, however, had no expectations. The reason? I knew one of the women in the field, trained with her in fact, and I knew she was a very strong rider. If the rest of the field was like her, it would be another matter of survival for me, and not a race at all. After all, I wasn't supposed to get results this season - right? Well, I did. I took four silver medals in my age category, and took second outright by mere inches in the 40K road race, almost getting the winner in a sprint at the line. I discovered that I could race, and I finally experienced what racing was really like - and that I could do it. I was actually marked in the 20K road race, and OMG - I was flattered! I realized Ex was right - I was strong when gaged against my peers, and I SHOULD be able to do well with them. That I did do so well there was a huge confidence boost for me, and that caused me a very positive mental shift.

Next was the Salinas Downtown Criterium, my team's home race. I was still intimidated by crits, what with the accelerations, attacks, and the higher sustained speeds. However, I had discovered during the Senior Games that life in a race is better at or near the front, so I resolved to stay up there, if I could. I could! And I did. In fact, I did quite well until the last prime lap with 5 to go when that attack by those younger gals finally overwhelmed my slower recovery and I went OTB. I did not finish last, though. I fought off another rider and out sprinted her for seventh. I was feeling pretty good about myself and really starting to have some fun.

I did another circuit race, riding smart and within myself, and I actually podiumed - third place. Whoa!!!

Then came The Next Big Race - the Menlo Park Grand Prix criterium. Ex wanted me to do well, assured me that I could, and I believed him. I entered the W M45+ field, even though the promoter told me I shouldn't. Ex felt differently, and had me training hard the two weeks leading up to the race, telling me he wanted me to "rip the pedals off the bike" - and like him I felt I had entered the correct race. There was a 60+ field in that race, and I KNEW I could do well against those ladies. I did, too, until I hit a pothole and flatted with six to go. Up until then, I was able to go where I wanted, do what I wanted, match accelerations, and stay close to my marked riders. Even though I didn't finish in the money, I was very, very pleased with how well I did when I was in the field. I felt I had the racing world right I wanted it now, and I felt I truly could race, and not just ride around. I knew the rest of the season would be good!

A stupid crash two days after that crit knocked me off of my form. Then, I tried a tough road race two weeks later, before I was 100% back, and I paid for it. That race was full of learning points. I discovered I was "noticed" and becoming known by the other riders. I also found out I had some respect, and OMG was that a surprise! I also found out how important proper training and rest was for me - especially for me. And then, mental attitude - I was feeling down, feeling sorry for myself, and I paid the price. I do race at a deficit compared to the Cat 4 field I usually race in, and I have to be fully on my game in order to get results. I was, but I let it get away - and slip away easily it did.

This past Sunday was my last event of this season, the Tempus Fugit ITT. Ex was there, and I wanted to do well for him. I was riding my new TT bike, which I thought had been set up fairly well. I knew it needed wheels, but I had been training on it as it was and felt I could ride it competitively. Right! The fit was off, the wheels were slow, the course was HARD, and the weather was warm. I fought that bike the whole race, chewing up enormous amounts of energy in the process. In spite of my lack of form and fit, I backed into a win (as I did at Hesperia). But, the good part? I came away knowing I had left myself out on the course, I threw it all down out there. I also learned four things: fit, fit, fit - and position. More 2013 learning points.

It's been a year. All in all, I entered 22 events, and started and finished 20 of them. I had seven podiums, along with numerous frustrations, DFL's, emphatic learning points, as well as getting to know racing, racers, and the sport itself. I earned a lot of respect, something I was not looking for and didn't even feel I deserved. I made some great friends, had some truly terrific times, and did some things I never, ever thought I could or would.

It has been wonderful.

November 1st I will start building for the next season. I am thinking already about which races to target, what I need to do to improve (five minute power, five minute power, and five minute power), and I am considering some 'female centric' teams.

Woulda thunk it?


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