Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mount Joy Race Report

The following race report written by guest blogger Jen May of CycleLife USA. Photos by Chicken and Badger.

Mount Joy, PA, had a cold, wet and windy greeting for CycleLife Powered by Specialized Cat 3/4 women on Saturday morning. Most normal people would say this was a day to stay inside drinking hot chocolate or something, but not so for the about 100+ cyclists, who decided to brave the weather and race around the hilly, 5.7 mile course in Pennsylvania’s farm lands. This was not a day or race for the casual athlete – it was a day for competition and spirit of camaraderie that cycling tends to cultivate.

Instead of hot chocolate, Badger eats cereal and drinks CeraSport...

... while Chicken loads up on coffee and donuts.

Warming up (if one could call it that, with the rain and cold), was a short ride down the first part of the course, where I met up with the three other CycleLife women in the race. The start time was slightly delayed, and as we’re all huddled on the line, teeth chattering, one of the finishing cyclists told us that it doesn’t get any warmer out there, and another warned us of a pretty significant hill part way through, and someone else told us some roosters got loose on the course (random). (Note: Having chickens loose on the course just had to be a good omen for me!)

Sara during our warm-up which consisted of sitting in the car with the heat blasting and eating Clif blocks.

So, with those encouraging words, we started our first of four laps… The first guy was wrong – I thought it got warmer as we got going, although certainly not any drier, but that hill was something. It split the group right off the bat – Chicken took off in the lead group, and I was eventually able to catch back up in the first part of the second lap. It was a group of about six, and we were all dedicated to battling it out to the finish, or at least surviving the race. That hill was going to be where the move was made, we all knew.

In the last lap, Sturdy Girl Cycling (Sarah Iepson) took off at the top of the hill, and beautifully cornered that first sharp right turn off the hill. I, along with a Zaveta girl (Lenore Pipes) managed to hang on, and it was a sprint to the finish, but ended about the way we took that corner (me taking third).

Chicken had been pulling for quite a bit of the race, but still kept ahead the other Zaveta girl to get fifth. For complete race results, click here.

Finishing the race, the only thing I could think of was putting on dry clothes and blasting the heater in my car – (I think a lot of us were seriously feeling signs of hypothermia). Overall, though, it was a good race, a challenge, and a learning experience. Things I learned: 1) rain gear may be a good investment (neoprene feet covers, rain jacket, long underwear are probably going to be among my next cycling purchases); 2) glasses with clear/yellow lenses are very helpful (thanks, Robin!), not only for seeing better, but also to keep the mud, cow poop and other junk out of your eyes (now, how to keep them from fogging up?); and 3) brakes don’t work so well when they get wet (luckily, I figured that one out in the warmup!).
(Congrats to Jen on her 3rd place finish in what was her 5th race ever. This was a tough race with a hard pace set from the gun in miserable conditions and you rocked it!)


Kyle Jones said...

I told you it was wet and cold out. See I not lie.

goat said...

way to go Jen, Chicken, Badger, and Zig!

girloffroad said...

Ahhhh epic race conditions. Let's hope the better half of spring has sprung. Great job Jen and to the girls who braved the elements.