Project 5 Racing

Memorial Day Iowa Race Week-end – May 26-28, 2012

Three cool venues, three very different courses… Snake Alley – scaling the street once hailed as the crookedest street in America (yes, beating out that one in San Francisco!), Melon City – a wide, smooth course around a beautiful park with its signature speed bump at the bottom of the loop, and Quad Cities – the flat, fast, 8-corner crit.

Snake Alley is one of my favorite races – personal challenge. Plan I had was to be in small chain ring, but hard gear at start line. Stay near front, hammer up the hill, drop into the big chain ring, and recover a bit on the downhill. Repeat. I started on the front – w/Leah (Psi-Met) relaxing the atmosphere as is her way. 3rd or 4th place coming out of the Snake on the 1st lap. Over the next couple laps, lost a few spots to others on the Snake. On 4th lap I regain a spot or two. 5th no change in position. Then 6th and final lap…

Two girls go by me as we enter the Snake – I get out of my saddle and hammer it up and passed them before the top. I give it a bit more after shifting back to the big chain ring and pass a couple girls – as one swings off course, say what? She rejoins us later coming out of a side road. As we go into the final turn, I am in front and decide I have to start my sprint immediately and I go — but then I see a wheel on my left, then one on my right, and I tell my self to spin faster but nothng happens in the legs to bring that to reality. Darm – could have used those two spots to better last year’s finish. End up 10th.

Melon City – I hate this race. Not a good place to be mentally before the race starts. My warmup was flat. I was on the front row for the start. At the whistle I realize I am in my small chain ring – so not in the race today. And that was it… off the back. I went around in circles, flying over the speed bump and not sure if I wanted to grimace or giggle like a little kid, until finally the “fun” was over. Ugghh. I so much more enjoyed my stroll along the river trail after the race than the race itself.

Quad Cities – talk about the opposite of Melon! I was rested and ready to rock! I found a nice spot to warmup on the trainer – a bit protected from both the heat and the rain while still able to watch the racing underway. I took a few practice laps and felt confident in the corners – swoop left, swoop right – ahhh. At the front of the start line, in the big ring, and go! I stayed near, but not on the front. I felt in control of my place in the race. Adding to that fun, my husband, Bill, had enlisted a number of “Cathy O” supporters outside of Steve’s Tavern at turn 6. Their chants were encouraging. About 8 of us had a gap when the pace started to slow about mid-race (7th of 14 laps), which is when I decided to attack. I got a solid gap on the field before entering the “paint zone” – turn 7 and 8 – so I felt I could take further advantage to extend my get-away. I stayed out for a couple laps before Jeanne K (Psi-Met) bridged up. I wasn’t able to push the pace much further and soon the rest of the front 8 was back together. At 1.5 to go, I attacked again and held them off until less than 0.5 lap, but was able to keep enough up to finish 6th. Fun day trying to be aggressive!

And that wrapped up another Iowa series – until next year!

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