Podium Time: Sisquoc Road Race
August 9, 2007 · Print This Article
By Ashley Erickson
San Luis Obispo, California
One of the exciting differences between bike racing and triathlons is that bike races tend to start later in the day than triathlons; I happily slept in until 7:30 am on Saturday instead of my usual 5 am triathlon wake-up time. I woke-up excited to race and a little bit nervous. Sisqouc was only my second road race ever, and all of the women’s categories were racing together.
Ryan, Tyler and I carpooled down to the race. While Ryan and I registered for the race Tyler kindly took our bikes off the car and set them up on our trainers – thanks Tyler. Ryan and I warmed up together, chatted with people we knew, and I tried to stay calm.
At the race start I instantly remembered that mass bike starts make me rather uncomfortable. “Just breathe,” I told myself. The race began and I tried to focus on being safe in the group; bike racing is far more mentally strenuous than time-trialing in a triathlon. At some point during the first lap of the four-lap race the group split in two. Ryan and I were in the front group.
For the next two laps we sprinted up the few little hills on the course, rode a decent pace on a few flat spots, and cruised along at about 13 miles per hour along the back part of the course. I struggled to make myself relax and sit in the group when the pace slowed, but my patience ended up paying off. Sometime during the second or third lap a couple of women attacked off the front and I went with them. Attacking hurt and we were immediately caught, but it was fun.
The pace notably increased on the final lap. My goal was to stay near the front of the group. I am not a sprinter, so was hoping that the group would split up more before the finish so that I would have a better chance of finishing well. With the increased pace the group splintered.
Less than a mile from the finish I heard a horrible sound and watched as a rider in front of me hit the pavement, bounced up, and slammed back down. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I guess she crossed wheels with someone in front of her and crashed. Ryan and I saw her in her car after the race and she appeared at least semi-okay.
I quickly tried to turn my attention from the crash to the finish. I sprinted into the finish with about nine Cat 1,2,3 women, and one other Cat 4. I finished 2nd among the Cat 4 women and 7th or 8th overall.
I enjoyed the race and was very happy with my finish. Thanks Ryan and Tyler for driving me to the race, taking a podium picture, and giving me nutrition and racing tips.
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