Cat's Hill Criterium - May, 2003 (Cat 5)
Finish: 20th

The weather was nice and warm for the race. I got the race with plenty of time to get ready and warm up. On the trainer I did not feel very good, although waking up early never allows me to feel good. I figured after one hard effort things would be better. I was wrong, I just did not feel good, but at the start line I figured I would feel better. I got to the start line, I did not feel better. They staged us at the last turn facing the start finish line. They gave some quick instructions about the race and then told us to roll up to the start/finish line. That was about 400' ahead of us. What was supposed to be a roll out, was a mad sprint. Everyone wanted a good position on the start line. Once there the USCF offical came up and spoke to us about primes (pronounced preems) and such. The airhorn was to signify a preem, not a bell. Bells were being passed out to be rung during the climb. Then the race officials called out some names of some local racers and staged them at the front of the pack. Not to fair, but it is there race, so, oh well. Everyone else rolled up a bit behind them and then the race was off. It was a good pace from the beginning, although with me not feeling well, I was just happy to be in the pack at this time. We came down the straight away approaching the 23% grade. The pace slowed up quite a bit from the middle of the straight away until we go to the climb. I noticed everyone in their small ring already. Personally it was way to early to gear down, but oh well, everyone else was doing it and I am riding in a pack. I drop down and start getting into the gear I plan to climb in. I started the climb in the middle of the pack, but since I climbed it in a 39/27, I ended up driffting towards the back half of the pack. We got to the top and rode around the corner were the descent was. The pace picked up to around 30mph down the back and dropped back down to 26mph on the front straighaway. The second time around someone attacked right before the hill and the pace got faster. We did the second climb and I was in my 39/25 this time, still not enough gear. I was spinning the back tire getting up the hill. I lost a few more positions there again and hung on to the back of the pack. The race was pretty uneventfull for the next couple laps. Around lap 5 there was a prime and the climb up the hill went pretty quick. I had a problem with my chain slipping from the rough road (cats hill has not been paved in at least 10 years), but it was nothing major. I hung on for dear life on the back of the pack and then the next time up the hill I could not keep up anymore. It was eventually going to happen, escpecially with the way I felt. I went into the descent to try and make up some time, but it did not help having another prime again. I rode hard and kept going up the hill, and when I would get to the top I felt like I was going to be sick. I was coughing and not feeling good, but I kept pushing along. People were then getting dropped left and right and I would continue to pick them off. Upon climbing the hill for the 8th time I heard a loud gun shot. Although after getting to the top and turning the corner, I found out someone had rolled there tire and it exploded. Not to cool. I finished the race and felt horrible and my lungs hurt. Racing Wildflower the week before and not eating great the prior days really did me in. Two more weeks until my next race and I will be finishing with the main pack. I have never felt so bad on my bike than I did the entire day. Thank you to my step father for bringing my mother out to watch the race. His uncle was a invited to the 1936 Olympics for cycling, so he is a cycling fan :). I do have some pics, but I need to develop them. You can see just how steep a 23% grade is, then imagine racing up it.


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