The weather never got quite as sunny or as warm as the weatherpeople said it would. Which was a good thing.
In fact, about half an hour before the womens' race, it began raining, steadily and lightly. Which was an even better thing.
More rain meant that a formerly hard, fast and tacky course ideal for roadies became, in seveal important spots, a slower, muddier, slicker course better suited to off-road riders. I was happy.
I was slow, but very happy.
A few photos of the course, showing the morning racing (mostly C Men and Clydesdales):
The off-camber run-up behind the velodrome:
This got a lot slicker and sloppier by 2:30. In fact, by then, most of the women opted to run the length of the section including the short run-up. I rode as much of the section as I could each lap, but was forced to get off and run the incline because there were just too many women on the course to allow me to keep up any momentum. (Sigh.)
The switchbacks at the opposite end of the velodrome:
I took the switchbacks a little too hot the first time and nearly collided with another racer cornering out of a descent. Watching my speed the following laps meant that I had to kill my own momentum because there were simply too many other women close by for me to really open things up and muscle up the other side of the switch.
The long run-up was back, and I suffered it each lap; enough said. The long stretch of singletrack behind the velodrome was also back and I really enjoyed bombing down it -- but was surprised, and brought up short, by the women in front of me who rode their brakes the whole way down. (Whaaaa...?) More momentum-killing. Arrrrgh!
No Team Slow men raced today. We were represented on the womens' side by me (Master Women 45+), Erinne (B Women U35) and Kristin (Beginner Women). I never saw Erinne on the course but assume she did well; Kristin lapped me about halfway through the race and I never saw her again, either; but she looked strong. On my first and second laps I passed women (!!!), in the same spot each time (coming out of a short descent, into a turn and heading out along a singletrack straightaway to a little "bump-up" behind the velodrome). Both times I saw someone flounder because of lost momentum or a bad recovery from the turn, and I simply said, "passing on your right", and passed them all the way through the singletrack and up and over the "bump-up". A satisfyingly mountain-bike sort of feel to the passing move each time. Of course, they passed me later on down the road, so we were even. Still, it was thrilling to pass someone in a bike race.
In spite of how slow I felt, and having finished dead last in my category (results not posted yet for the combined womens' race but I'm pretty sure that's where I ended up), I had an awesome time playing in the mud. I'm so glad it rained.