September 2007
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Day September 11, 2007

BMW of Chattanooga Downtown Criterium

Since I’ve been slacking on writing about this, I can at least post the link to the pictures.

A few to check out from the pro/1/2/3 men’s race:

Tsali Challenge

This is one of those races that inked in on my schedule a year out – always a ton of fun with great competition – and this year was no exception. The weather was great, so Carol, Jim, Ted, Kate & I camped out (I even had to put on fleece tights & hoodie to keep warm at night!) Saturday was the solo competition. The last two years I was 9th and 8th in the women’s open division. While I definitely wanted to improve upon that, and felt I was in better running and biking shape, I’ve hardly paddled this year. In fact, I didn’t even have a boat secured until a few days prior. I used Jim’s squamish, rated a 5. Even though this was the most crowded wave, I think I had a better paddle than last year, when I had the Simril’s potato boat. With the water levels super low, the island we paddle around had a larger circumference, lengthening our paddle by about 1/2 mile (about 4.5 miles total).

As expected, my legs were all but asleep getting out of the boat. I tried to shake it off best I could before heading in to the trails for about a 4.5 mile run. Immediately we have 2 small (but hefty) hills that feel absolutely awful, but after that it’s flat and rolling and fairly manageable. I finished this leg feeling strong (although it looks like my pace was somehow slower than last year?!) and was excited to get on my bike. I think this was my racing debut with the Lynskey…. she did great! I haven’t ridden Tsali since the end of May, when Amanda and I were out there. The singletrack was dusty and loose. (Some call it fast, but I don’t often get to really use that word with my riding!). I liked the way my bike handled and felt pretty confident, with only a few areas tripping me up (like that one tight rocky/rooty area with a drop off right there…). Almost halfway thru I passed Shannon and another girl walking their bikes out. She had apparently crashed (and likely broke her wrist). She was leading at the time too… (heal fast!) The last half of the bike was fine – more climbing, but it was slow and steady (it’s nice to pass people walking up!) When I got close to the end of the final climb, I saw another person turning onto County Line Road… another girl?! As soon as I hit the top, I grinded it out as hard as I could. Carol and I had ridden the road Friday evening, so I knew where the soft sand and loose gravel were. A few turns from the finish I caught up, and passed, the girl I saw, which snagged me a 4th place women’s open finish. Yeah!! (Now, if Kim had raced masters instead of open, I could have gotten 3rd…. :)

kate at the start of sunday’s team relay

Sunday was the team relay. Carol and I were teaming up again, to defend our female team championship from last year. Ann was supposed to run for us, but is still recovering from an injury, so our plan was to scope out the attendees and snag someone fast. Friday night we saw fellow adventure racer/ultrarunner/general badass athlete Enid, who just happened to be unattached for Sunday’s event. Sweet! She’d run, I’d bike, and Carol would paddle. Carol actually was able to borrow Robert’s boat and improved her paddle time by several minutes. Enid had another strong run. My bike was actually 6 minutes faster. I felt good, although could definitely tell I worked hard the previous day :) When I headed out, I knew I was the 3 or 4th woman out…. it was hard to tell though who was coed and who was in our division. Immediately I passed 1 woman with a flat. Shortly after, I passed another. Hmm…. I yoyo’d with 2 guys a bit – it was nice to keep the pace up. On one tough switchback, I saw a bit of Norma’s jersey peeking through the trees. Darn! but it was good to see her riding strong again. She passed and I just couldn’t hold on. We ended up with a 3rd place female team finish. The competition this year however was much stronger, so I’m still pretty psyched with our finish.

me, enid & carol

more pictures here