This past weekend was pretty much my favorite road race of the year in Columbus, IN. Since I do a minimal amount of road racing, I guess this isn't saying much, but it really is a nice place to put on a race. Anne and I headed down late on Friday night to set up camp at their camp area very close to the coarse. We ended up finishing our camp at about 130 am and finally got to sleep at about 2 am. Not much time to get in a good nights rest for a wake up time of 7am to start the pre-race routine.
We were super stoked about the weather forecast and were pleased to find perfect racing weather once race time lined up. This area is so pretty right now as you can see above from the flowering tree near the start/ finish line. I thought little red bike looked pretty nice up against it.
We had a fairly good showing with some strong riders in the pack. This would be a great gauge for me as my first race back from major leg surgery. I was a little taken off guard at the gun and the 3 Aldefer riders took off full on to make a early, early break. I finally realized what was happening and started a chase after them, but by then the gap was already to big to make a solo effort after a 3 women break. So after riding with another Nebo ridge rider for a couple laps I decided to make it a TT effort to see where my watts would be and wanted to see how my cardio would hold up over 60 minutes all out. Unfortunately, the nebo rider decided to join the Citizen pack and draft off of them for a few laps while I hung out in the wind away from the pack. We agreed before the race that we would not draft off the Citz, but I guess she thought a 4th place would be rewarding to her regardless of how unfairly she earned it. Not to complain, but there are rules, and we must follow them. When people don't, it kinda ruins the day for those who didn't cheat. I'm just saying...
So, after a 30 min solo effort the race leaders came back around and I stayed with their effort without any real problem as they tried to drop me several times. I was very pleased with my ease of this pace especially since these gals are way more experienced road riders and are cats up on my cat3. I came to the line with them in the end and passed one in the sprint finish. Not to shabby, and I truly feel that I could have stayed with them had I not got caught off guard early on.
I finished in fourth place (or 5th since the Nebo rider is dq'd by several opinions for illegal drafting). I was happy with this result considering my training hasn't really pushed me into the red zone yet. Anne ended 1 lap down in 5th to me and this was a great showing for her and she has really stepped it up this year. Great job Anne.
The rest of the day was spent watching the other races and spent lounging around the camper. We were super tired from the lack of sleep. Nice to have a camper on-site to get vertical and rest.
Sunday had us getting up super early to get a few hours of riding in before we needed to head home. We spent the day riding in and out of rain showers, but the temps were in the 50's so it wasn't that bad. I was super pleased about the ride because I saw several birds on my "must see" list. We also finished with Horseman's camp loop. This killed me a couple weeks ago, and I rode it like a totally different person this time around. Doing this climb better and having a good showing in the race really helped boost my confidence that I am getting back to where I need to be! I will be staying around home for the next couple weekends and am thankful for that. I love the traveling, but things start to pile-up when I leave too much. This weekend we have our DRT time trial series kick off here in Winona. Don does a great job with running these events and look forward to getting my first mtb race effort done with. After that, its Fat and Skinny time. Looks like I will only be doing the mtb race this year and skipping on the added stress of the crit the next day. This is Don's decision and I don't really question his plan too much for me on things like this, I think he has more than proved that his plan makes champions.