So Tour of the Catskills. Such an epic weekend, so much to say, so many great memories. Most of all it was a really fun weekend with my teammates, they are great girls and I love hanging out with them.
I tried to relax as much as I could, sitting on the front porch of the house we rented. It was incredibly peaceful and beautiful!
The Catskills remind me of the smaller mountain towns in Colorado. Very pretty and nice and quiet in the summer. But more like the mountain towns like when I was a little kid, now the ones in Colorado are much busier and larger. Anyway after hearing of their existence for so long it was fun to see them.
So we started off with a 12 mile time trial. My goals were:
1. Ride hard
2. Finish in time to hand my bike off to my teammate who is my exact size, so she could use it too
3. Put myself in a decent position for the GC (like any other stage race the winner of the race is the person with the fastest time overall)
I would say all three goals were met. I was 4th in the Women's 3/4 category and the fastest of all the Cat 4 women. I was under a minute back from the leader of the GC. And I got to give BrittLee my bike! She had an awesome TT and was second in her category (P/1/2/3). I like to think I helped with that a little bit!
After that I tooled around a little to cool down and then we ran around trying to get dinner, food, etc. I also had to wash my kit because I only have one and it was already disgusting. Next year I am ordering so much kit I swear. It was fun and relaxing. We knew we had a big day Saturday so we tried to go to bed at a nice reasonable time.
Saturday was Stage 2 and a 65 mile road race. Here is the course:
It doesn't look that crazy but the last big climb is ridiculous. Like it's not even like riding a bicycle. But I'll get to that.
So I was feeling good and I was with the leaders like maybe 3rd to 8th wheel back for a long time. It was kind of boring for a while to be honest - I don't have a power meter but my teammate Meredith said we were pushing like 80 watts which is not a lot! The ride was beautiful though and I was enjoying that. One funny thing happened - I'm riding along down a long descent and a bee flies into my leg and stings me. Of course, this would only happen to me. Now the reason everything was cruisey however is because of this crazy climb. So we come to the climb and it is like 'oh you have got to be kidding'. So steep. I was determined not to get off my bike and walk, because everyone said I'd have to because I had a 12-25 cassette. Well yeah, I ended up walking for a little while. I literally could not help it - my brain said pedal, my foot said clip out. So there I was! I felt like a douche but then I found out that everyone in the 3/4 field walked. So I didn't feel that bad.
Once I got to the top I was pretty far from the leaders so I started TTing my butt as fast as it would go. I caught Meredith after maybe 5 minutes and we worked together and caught two more girls and then we got into a little sprint with them at the finish and I tied the other girl who was sprinting fast. Not bad. I was dead when I finished though. It was really hot so we just ate a sandwich, drank like 13 bottles of water, and sat down in the shade on the sidewalk. This stage I finished in 10th. Oops. Not great but I mean really I could not have climbed that crazy climb any faster on that day.
The rest of the day we pretty much loafed like champs, made dinner, did more laundry, nothing too exciting. It was nice.
Sunday was Stage 3 which was a 61 mile road race with two climbs. I didn't feel awful when I woke up but I didn't feel great. I mean come on, who would? That would be ridiculous. So we got to the start and did a little warmup and then lined up. Since I was top 10 in the GC I got to start at the front, that was kind of cool. I felt very pro. We started out and the first 20 miles were easy which was alarming because what goes down must come back up. The field held together until I would say partway through the first climb which was around a 5k in length and fairly steep. I just lost it mentally and lost the leaders. I was bummed because I thought I could stay with them if I had just had more mental fortitude. But once again there I was off the back TTing as hard as I could. I caught Meredith again and we pacelined to the next climb which was later in the race. The second climb was crazy steep but not as bad as Saturday's. I managed to stay on my bike the entire time. At this point it was pouring which was annoying but also meant it wasn't nearly as hot as Saturday which was a blessing.
I suck at descending in the rain because I am afraid of crashing, I must say. Meredith TTed to catch me and we just worked together as much as we could to get to the finish. I sprinted into the finish as hard as I could and ended up 9th in that stage, bringing my final position to 10th in the GC. I won $20 so that was cute.
Here is the view from the finish:
Overall I am so happy with how I did. It was so hard but so much fun. I love my teammates. I love the Catskills. I really, really love stage races and I can't wait to do another. I am already plotting the next one which is probably next year - the season is going to wind down after Labor Day weekend and I can't race that weekend because I'll be in Denver for a wedding. Oh well! Just gotta hit it hard next year. I have a few more races this year but nothing that exciting. Thanks for reading!