Berkeley Hills Road Race
W3, raced with but scored separately with Masters 35+123
Saturday, May 9, 2015
52 miles with 2.7 laps of good pavement with quiet rolling hills with the well known 'Three Bears' with the top of Papa Bear being the finish line.
2014 - 4th
Chilly and overcast.
* Team - get on the podium, have both of us go with a break
* Personal - get upgrade points, push myself hard
We had a loose plan with a Masters racer to push the pace and for all of us to be in a break and podium.
Jenny and I did a pre-ride of the course and both having done the race before we knew the hills fairly well. Unfortunately, Jenny was ill and had to cancel the night before. Race day arrived and it was pretty cold and chilly, and hard to warm up (Amy thought my Canadian blood gave me a bit of an anti-freeze protection). We had an early morning start of 8:23am, which I would much rather have than the late afternoon.
Our group was made up of 7 in our cat 3 plus 14 in the Masters 35+123. The Masters set the pace for the first lap and a half, but then the 3's came to the front for the hill climbing. Amy had her usual shadows tailing her moves and with her successes at all the recent hill climbs, the other riders were smart to be watching her. A handful of riders were taking pulls but there were also many that were sitting in and at times the race was crawling. The field was most energized by seeing a rider relieve himself on the side of the road, needless to say Amy and I were slightly embarrassed when it was a Mike's Bikes guy.
On our final lap we turned into the residential area and I was at the back of the group. As we neared the end of town, I had a good amount of speed from the short descent and noticed that the group was slowing again; I decided to attack on the roller. I heard a couple of shouts as I sped by, but I never looked back. I got to the long descent and took the right turn, and much to my surprise there was a Masters with her cat 3 teammate by my side. I said "good work ladies, let's go!" We rotated through a pull each, and then the cat3 skipped her turn. Immediately, I knew I didn't want to exhaust myself keeping up with a Masters and be beaten on the climbs because of the cat3 not working at all. With the Masters ahead of me, I let a gap form to see if her teammate would swing around to close it. Not really surprised when she didn't, I flicked my elbow and she still wouldn't come around, saying that she would not bridge up to her teammate. I pointed out that we weren't in the same race as her, but by this time the field had caught us and the Masters was out of sight.
Amy rolled up next to me, and then I was on the front again. I'm not sure how it happened, but I took a glance back and I was alone. So.... what to do? The group wasn't that far behind me, but I put my head down and pedaled away. I settled into a good tempo, pushed up the hills, cranked over the crests and flew down the descents.
I took glances back and never saw anyone, another glance over my shoulder and I was startled to see a huge group of guys about to swarm me. I asked them how far back the ladies were and they estimated 20 seconds.
At Wente a few weeks prior, I was beaten at the line by someone who came up from behind. I didn't sleep well for a few nights after that. I knew if I blew my lead at this point, I don't think I would have slept for weeks thinking of the what ifs. I started the final climb on Papa Bear and I felt good without the heaviness in my legs that comes with knowing a sprint is coming.
It was cool to come up the hill with people lining both sides. I crossed the finish and someone shouted out "Hey, that's the first 3!"
Amy came breezing up the hill shortly after, having kicked it into high gear from the bottom and landed second; we rode back to the car for our Osmo recovery, our NB podium shoes and the podium shot.
-Take a chance, you don't have to wait for someone else to make a move