Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Weekend of Racing

So it’s the end of the week and I’m just now getting the chance to write about last weekend. I’ve got a 4 hour ride to VT for a friend’s graduation and if I don’t get carsick I’ll be able to finish.
Last Saturday we had the first Team Skidmore fundraising event-the Hill Thrill 5k! Hill Thrill started a long time ago when my friends Regina and Tami moved north from Boston to Randolph, New Hampshire. They live up on Randolph Hill Rd and the view is breath taking.
They wanted their friends from Massachusetts to enjoy the view, the fresh mountain air, play games, camp in the yard and have a nice relaxing weekend. This has continued almost every year for 12 years! If there is a special event happening they recognize it at Hill Thrill; graduation, big birthday, someone racing in the World Triathlon Championships, etc. There are many hiking trails in Randolph and we designed a 3 mile loop starting right in their yard and named it the Team Skidmore 5k! We made race numbers, had an official registration, official time keepers-Jean & Laura, a course marshal- Mr. Ed Good, photographer-Felicia and an event director-Gina.

Last year at the start of Tami’s 50th 5k it snowed an inch over night and was 27º, this year it was a beautiful, cool, sunny morning- perfect for running. This is a fun run but when some of us slap on a number, it’s an all out race! We gathered at the start where Gina held the pre race meeting.
She explained the course, and announced there were prizes for the top three runners and walkers, I decided that I wouldn’t count. She told us there was a big bucket of goodies out on course and we had to come back wearing one or two of those items. Gina counted down and Jean blew the whistle and we were off- down the back of the yard and into the woods. Many of us had run or walked last year so we knew the course. I knew I had to push it right off because ¾ of a mile in there was a pretty steady hill. At the top of that hill Gina had made a life size Meg sitting on a bike for some encouragement, it came out great!

The course gradually climbed up the end of Randolph Hill Rd and as we turned into Carlton Notch Cutoff the big blue bucket was waiting, I grabbed a lei and a party hat and climbed the next hill. At the next trail junction we began the long 1.5 mile descent down the Jimtown logging road.  I very rarely look back when I’m racing and I didn’t until the next junction onto Icy Gulch and thats when I saw Eli. I was surprised, I know he runs but I’ve never raced with him, he was running a great pace. I stepped it up as we climbed the ½ mile (including a river crossing!) until we were back on the only flat section of Randolph Hill Road. I looked again as I made the turn and caught a glimpse of Eli again. There was about ¼ mile to the finish. I knew he wanted to catch me so I gave it all I had. I crossed the finish line in 24:59! I was super pumped with that time, Eli was just about a minute behind me and I cheered him in. I should have elevated my legs and stretched but I wanted to see the finishers so Eli and I went back out on the street. Felicia got some great finishing shots.

After the race Gina and Tami had an amazing breakfast buffet; eggs, sausage, 3 types of yogurt, granola, juice, coffee, bagels, an assortment of muffins, fresh fruit salad, Sue made banana and berry bread, and Laura brought more muffins- all this at no charge. The sun was still shining and the post race chatter had me feeling pretty good that we had all exercised and were outside in the mountains. Next up- awards! The prizes were all made in Randolph. The top three finishers had a choice between a handmade handbag by Laura Brockett; homemade jam from Susan or a ½ gallon of syrup tapped and bottled a few days prior by Gina’s neighbor. 

Most folks left after breakfast and the awards but the rest of us rallied for an intense game of old fashion kickball! Team 2 was winning 7-0 but Team 1 came back and tied it up. Some great catches were made, Eli off the apple tree, Troy the 7, almost 8 year old pitcher caught a line drive, after several tries to hit the runner, Ben finally nailed Gina, she was safe but bruised. After we all thought the game was over Gina had a proposition for Ben-if he could score one run all by himself his team would win the game. Of course he agreed! The pitch was slow and rolled right over the plate. With a running start he booted it!
It flew over the motor home and into the next yard-Ben was a hero! 

The rest of the day was filled with reading, more games, tons of food and friendship. We had a potluck dinner under the tent and then I had to head home to rest up for my first race in the Maine Time Trial Series, three hours away in Camden, Maine. Team Skidmore sold over 20 t-shirts about 50 raffle tickets and 24 participated in the 5k at $10 each. It was a great start to a summer of fundrasing for Team Skidmore
The alarm sounded at 4am, I awoke excited to race! Steve was arriving at my house at 5am for our long drive to the coast. I double-checked my bag to be sure I didn’t forget any race gear and we packed the car. Two bikes, four extra race wheels, two aero helmets, gear box, pump and snacks. Steve navigated and we talked about lots of stuff, mostly racing of course!

The race began at 9am and we arrived at 8:15. I had registered online and checked in. I discovered that the earlier you registered the closer to the front you start. Time trials are bike races with individual starts about 30 seconds apart. I was starting 6th, and wasn't excited at all, especially seeing the super nice bikes in the parking lot. I said to Steve "Oh man I’m going to get passed by so many guys!” “Get that out of your head right now, race your race and worry about passing those ahead of you.” He replied with a stern look on his face. Yeah... Ok I thought. We pinned each other’s numbers on and Steve shooed me out for my warm up. I thought we'd do that together but he had just registered and was starting 20 minutes after me. I knew what I had to do and couldn’t decide on wearing a jersey over my sleeveless tri suit or just go with arm warmers. I warmed up with a jersey and wasn’t that cold. I was starting at 2:30, 2 minutes and 30 seconds after 9. When I checked in I was told not to be late. I finished my warm up with just under 10 minutes to start. I still debated on wearing a jersey I felt a little funny because everyone else was wearing one. I was number 6, 6th to start. I lined up and checked my Power Tap computer, it was flashing. It wasn’t reading the computer in my hub. I’ve trained looking at numbers since August. I tried everything and was frantically looking for Steve to finish his warm up to help me. He wasn’t back yet. They started the first racer and I still had flashing dots. Earlier in the week I had broken the mount for my other computer and forgot to glue it back on. A few minutes to start and there was nothing I could do. I was so worried about it I didn’t even think to set my stopwatch to see my time. Racer ready…  3 2 1 go. I was off and 20 seconds in of course I see Steve just coming back in from his warmup. I had no data to go by so I had to refocus and race on just how I felt. We had driven in on the course so I knew what to expect. Steve had raced the course before so he gave me some pointers. It wasn’t a technical course, straight out and back but all rolling hills. I needed to make sure the transitions were super smooth. Riding into the hill, up the hill and cresting the hill shifting with precision and keeping my cadence near 100. When you don’t have the computer telling you it gets pretty tricky. I had one goal, not to get passed by too many others before the half way turn around. I passed two guys and two passed me so I felt pretty good! On the way back I was feeling solid, I still had more left so I pushed it a bit more. One more guy passed me and I couldn’t stay with him, but trying hard cut a few seconds off! I was almost done and I knew there was one more hill but I couldn’t remember how long it was or how far away I was from it. Looking back on it I should have blocked out the hill and just tried harder. I finished but I had no idea how long it took me; I turned around to spin for my cool down. I spun for about ten minutes and saw Steve; I waited for him and joined him for his cool down. We discussed our tactics and how we felt. Steve hasn’t been riding much but said he had a great race. We returned just in time for the awards. I mixed my recovery drink, shared my oatmeal raisin cookies with Steve and we joined the group anxiously waiting for results. The fastest time was 33:47 that’s just over 2 minutes per mile! They awarded the top three male and female and I was super surprised when they called my name for second female with a time of 43:26 just over 2 minutes behind the first place female and over three minute ahead of 3rd place. I was 23rd out of 44! Not too bad for my first TT. Steve raced in 40:42 placing 5th in his age group and 11th overall! It was a super day and made for a good ride home.

We packed the car and stretched a little more. Steve ate some fruit salad and his recovery drink while I called Gina, she was so proud of me! 

The sun was still shining and the air was warm. I was in a good place both physically and mentally!

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