A day late and a dollar short
After spending the week reading about the pros moaning about the altitude in Colorado (USA Pro Cycling Challenge consisting of serious climbs to 12, 000 ft.), I decided that maybe they had a point. Altitude is overrated. I headed down to the valley for some flat/sea level racing and some moaning not about altitude, but about the heat. On the way there, I decided to do a little last-minute heat training which was an easy feat considering I don’t have air conditioning in my car. On a few occasions, I rolled up the windows and it was like my own version of heat training intervals. Also, it made it so I could hear the podcasts over the roar of the California Highways. Those pros and their fancy altitude training tents don’t have anything on my heat training system!
First up was the Winters Road Race. It was largely uneventful for the first 46 miles. At mile 46, I found myself in a break with 5 other women and only a couple of miles to go. The problem was that the break was caused by a mini-climb and so the break was made up of strong climbers which typically does not translate into being fast on the 6 miles of flat road after the hill. So, in the last mile, a group of four caught up to us and we were passed by a group of men who must have been going about .1 miles per hour faster than us. The finish was a cluster and by the time I had enough room to sprint, the finish line was 200 meters back. If only I had done a little more heat training, maybe I could have done a better job of positioning myself in the last kilometer.
Next up was the Vacaville Gran Prix – a crit with a micro-hill. I remembered the course from last year and so I was really looking forward to a solid performance. Luckily, we started early enough that I didn’t have to tap into my heat training. Round and round the mile long course we went. I found myself off the front a few times after attacking on the micro-hill however I was unable to put the previous days lesson to use. After pushing the pace during the race, I was unable to capitalize on my remaining energy or position myself properly to have a chance at the finish.
Slightly dehydrated and salty – literally – I headed home and while there was some unavoidable heat training along the way, there was a strategy training session as well. Race and learn!