Gambling Problems-Dirty Circles Road Race #3

Wet and Dirty Circles

Wet and Dirty Circles

3/16/14

Rain was supposed to hit in the afternoon. We all knew that. But, as with most days on the bike in the Northwest, you can always luck out and the storm misses you completely. Other times you ride through the middle of it. So tell me. Do you feel lucky?

Dirty Circles road race series takes place in Woodland, Wa. The 6 mile loop includes views of the river, farmland, cows and lots of Bald Eagles cruising overhead looking for critters. The morning races were mostly dry and mild with temps in the low 50’s. By 1:45 pm the sky darkened as the wind picked up.

The women’s 1/2/3 group of 14 lined up on Dike Road and sped off for five laps with a nice tailwind and a light mist. Ironclad, Theraputic Associates and Fred Meyer Team all had players looking to get a win. Attacks came early but the pack remained whole through lap one. Hitting the dam road next to the water, the cross/headwind was gaining momentum and that is where the attacks came, one after another. I had gone with all attempts up to now but this time the women were playing hard to shake the pack apart. Out of the saddle I can feel my quads resisting my efforts and the gap opens leaving me exposed to the wind. Speed continues to increase on the front and I can’t seem to reattach to the group with the headwind slowing me down. Girls fly around me to avoid getting dropped.   As the road curves down and to the left, I know I don’t have the fitness right now to bridge up alone in the headwind. The ref’s car behind us politely gives me time to make a move but I just waive him around with shoulder shrug and a smile. Rain is picking up and my new goal is to make my way up to the other two girls that got popped.

My two new best friends agree to make a tight paceline and run through quick 30 second pulls on the front. NO ESCAPE from the wind as it blows at a hearty 15-20 mph across the fields. Part way through lap 3, our party of three becomes two as one rider can no longer hold on to our pace; a painfully slow pace which ranges from 15-18 mph in the wind to 25 with our brief tailwind on Dike road. My partner in crime is Andrea/Gentle Lovers. She is a strong and steady wheel to follow on our mostly flat course as we TAKE TURNS SUFFERING on the front in the downpour. And then the hail starts. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse. The sharp sting of ice and rain burns my lips and face as everything I am wearing soaks through. Mouth hanging open, slobbering on myself but I don’t care at the point. Even the race photographer took shelter. I CAN do 2 more laps, I tell myself. Just keep my head down and get through it.

Ughhhhh…… This is horrible!” I lament to Andrea as gusting wind engulfs us. “ I KNOW! My gloves are soaked” she responds, making a fist with one hand causing it to release water like an engorged sponge. I won’t quit even though I am freezing and my fingers are numb. “I thought you would like this weather because it’s like a cross race,” she quips over the howling wind. “ Yeah, but less mileage and more running keeps you warmer in a cross race.”

Many riders did not finish today. Without my partner, I would not have pushed as hard in such brutal conditions. Working for someone else and sharing the work keeps you both moving and motivated when you are hurting. As we approached the finish sprint, Andrea got out of the saddle in her last big effort and I let her go. My Legs were cooked and happy to be done.

Even though gamble for a dry race didn’t pay off, I will keep paying to play the game. Sometimes you get lucky.

Men's field along the water

Men’s field along the water

 

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