Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Holmes Wins On the Road!

Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Championships Report

The weather in Utah has been so crazy lately, it will be nice all week, like 70s and 80s in Salt Lake and then it will snow like crazy over the weekend! This past weekend was no different, I woke up to snow on the ground Saturday morning in Park City. So, I drove down to Salt Lake and luckily I avoided the rainstorms for a hard three hour ride up Big Mountain, with the road all to myself because it was still closed to cars due to the bad weather. Then, I headed out to help with the crit my collegiate team, University of Utah was hosting. I watched as all of the riders were suffering through the cold and rain, and for some of them it was their second race of the day! By the way I’ve decided that the Women’s B category has the toughest athletes out there, I think half of the field wasn’t wearing gloves. Every lap was getting more and more wet, and all of the pink fingers made me watch in awe as each girl stayed in the race determined to battle the cold weather. The road race scheduled for Sunday morning was near my home in Park City, with a hard course that included some climbing. I was planning on doing the race to get a good hard workout in, but due to the snow that was accumulating at higher elevations the race had to be moved to the Larry Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele (by the way they were awesome working with us and accommodating our last minute change of plans). Some of you may recognize the venue name because the men’s Tour of Utah had a TT at the same location. I wasn’t too excited to race a flat course, but I woke up Sunday morning to snow in Park City and decided it would be hard to motivate to do a hard ride in bad weather. I made myself a delicious breakfast and gathered up all my gear, an entire rolling suitcase full of cold weather cycling clothes (thank you Voler!), and drove the hour and 15 minutes to Tooele and escaped the snow. I wasn’t sure the road race was going to happen because it was raining and cold in the Salt Lake Valley, but when I showed up to the venue the Women’s B and Men’s B and C races were in progress. I decided to commit to doing the race, and hoped I wouldn’t freeze or have to ride the entire race alone (sometimes I’m not too smart in road races). I got dressed, did a short warm up because it was freezing out and lined up for the pre-race instructions. I was a bit nervous because I’m just getting back to racing and riding after having surgery on my wrist in January. Sea Otter was fairly nerve racking for me and I assumed a road race with 30 women surrounding me and having to go through several corners was going to be horrifying. I decided to get to the front at the start to get a feel for the course (we weren’t able to pre-ride it) and so I wouldn’t be worried about everyone around me. I started to calm down a bit, and decided that I was going to ride as hard as I could for the six, seven-mile laps. I really want to get my fitness back and suffering in a race is the best way to do it! Luckily, I brought along my Hammer HEED and gel flask so I could stay hydrated during the race. I covered several attacks and even went off the front a few times on my own, I was never able to stay away, but boy was I getting a great workout! After about an hour I was sure I’d burned all of the matches in my book, I wasn’t sure how hard I would be able to go for the rest of the race. At the beginning of the last lap two girls attacked, I decided to chase them down and keep riding as hard as I could because it was starting to rain. The last thing I felt like doing was spending time in the freezing rain! The group eventually caught me about half way through the lap, but the rain was getting stronger and I didn’t want to spend the next 15 minutes working out a sprint finish. I took another hit off my gel flask and drank some more HEED, went to the front of the group and went as hard as I could to get in one last hard effort and to speed things up before the finish. I looked back a few minutes later and I was alone! I was surprised and decided to put my hands in the drops and go as hard as possible, and I managed to stay away and crossed the finish line in first place! After the race awards were given out and I was all smiles because I was warm and out of the rain. Brad Duncan from the U of U cycling team did a great job planning the race and dealing with the bad weather, and Joel Hsia spent a lot of time dealing with registration and even found time to take photos.