Sunday, October 29, 2006

Surf City #2: Second Again...

I was really looking forward to today's race. Last year, when this race was a UCI race, I crashed before even finishing the first lap. A fractured and dislocated finger kept me from finishing the race. I knew that today's course was well-suited for me because I truly don't mind long run-ups, in fact I actually like them. I was also looking forward to the 3-up battle between Rachel, Sarah, and I since I hadn't raced Sarah since CCCX and I'd never raced against both of them in the same race.

Well, I hate to sound redundant, but I got a terrible start once again, despite a friendly gesture by Rachel who held a starting row spot for me after all the call-ups were done. Thanks Rachel. Clearly, I need to work on starts. I have come in second to Rachel now 3 times, all within 30 seconds of her. In all but one of those races, I spent an entire lap trying to close the gap she gets on me at the start of the race.

The whistle blows and I get positioned in about 6th through all the early technical sections. Meanwhile, Rachel and Sarah Kerlin are up the road drilling it. One by one, I move up in position until I am in 3rd, about 10 seconds behind Rachel and Sarah at the bottom of the long run-up. Just after the little riser after the run-up, I momentarily lost focus and pulled one of my ridiculous Shelley moves and caused myself a nasty crash. I honestly don't know what happened, but I found myself on the ground in the middle of the course tangled up in the course tape. Frustration was about to take me totally out of the game. I tried to get up and shake it off, but I was real close to being down and out. Luckily, Stella wasn't about to let that happen. She came up behind me and encouraged me to get back up and keep fighting. She waited for me to catch up to her and then drove it hard to close the gap to the two girls ahead of us. That was so awesome, Stella, thank you. I should have stayed with her a little while longer, but I got anxious and jumped ahead of her to try and catch the leaders.

Now I'm chasing solo. I get to the bottom of the run-up and I see Sarah running her bike when she should be riding it. She had a mechanical, (a broken chain), and was forced to run a long way back to the pits for a new bike. I was able to get around her on the climb and open up a 30 second gap that would hold steady for the next couple of laps. I never did catch Rachel and Sarah never caught back up to me. It was very unfortunate for the spectators that I blew it with my crash and Sarah had a mechanical. Had we stayed together, it would have been a very interesting race to watch play out.

Although I came in second again to Rachel, I was happy with the fact that the gap was closing and not increasing between Rachel and I. Sarah ended up finishing a minute back from me, which is also good news, because it means I was gaining time on her, instead of losing it.

Rest assured, I will not give up hope, I will learn from my mistakes, and I will keep battling for the win at every race. It's always fun racing with these girls and I love that the level of competition is so high. Thanks to Vella Bella for putting on such a great race. Shelley

1 comment:

Brent Chapman said...

that was epic to watch you gaining time after your spill!