Thursday, July 07, 2011

Whitworth Criterium

Roger to Jessi at 9:15am: "The Whitworth Criterium is today."

Jessi: "What time does it start?"

Roger: "11:00am"

Jessi: "You gonna do it?"

Roger: "I don't know, I was thinking about it, but I don't think so."

Jessi: "You should, you will have fun."

Roger: "I don't know. I rode kind of hard yesterday and I forgot it was today."

Jessi: "You will regret it if you don't."

Roger: "Okay...I should probably get ready."

Roger: "They also have a kid's race."

Jessi: "Emma would love to do that."

Jessi: (smile) "What can I do to help you get ready?"

And that was how the morning went. I went down to the basement to find my road bike. I realized it did not have any cranks on it or wheels. Hmmm...probably need to fix that. I quickly assembled the missing parts and was then finding my cycling gear. This consisted of many 'yells' up the stairs starting with, "Jessi, have you seen my..."

Eventually I got most of what I needed. Jessi mixed some bottles for me and I was pretty much ready to roll at 10:20. The reason I could not miss this race was it was being held 2 miles away. So I saddled up and rode to the race.
Upon arrival I signed in and rode a few laps. I ran into some familiar faces and did some catching up. The Whitworth Criterium, presented by Spokane Rocket Velo, is a .9 mile loop with only 2 real corners. But it did pose some challenges because on race day it was VERY windy.

Our pack quickly assembled on the start line. Since I had some hard efforts yesterday, I was surprised my legs did not feel more fatigued. They did not feel like they had that high end explosive speed, but they felt good. I take Extreme Endurance and I am convinced that plays a HUGE role. My intentions were to sit in for about the first third of the race. Kind of let things settle, and then go to work. Well, I think I race one way...attack, bridge, chase, attack, repeat. Because I only made it about 1/2 way around the first lap and I felt the pace was too slow so I attacked. You see, when packs (especially in crits) go slow, that's when crashes typically happen. As I was off the front, and producing some pretty big watts, I had to smile. You race the way you race...

After a couple laps in, I started to hear some familiar cheers. Emma, Jessi and Owen had arrived. I can always hear Emma's little voice cheering at the top of her lungs. Jessi had the whole clan in tow...and lots of bags too. Such a production with an infant. I will spare you all the race details, but I was able to get in a break and stay away. It was a fun event and one that I hope they will continue to have.

After my race I went and saw Jessi. She had mixed up a recovery drink for me and gave me some recovery supplements. So cool. She really takes amazing care of me and the family...always thinking ahead. Emma was already warming up for her race and sizing up the competition. Her race would start in about an hour and they would do 1.5 laps. They grouped all the kids together...kids from 6 years old to 12. A mix of mountain bikes and road bikes. The 'younger kids' would only do 1/2 a lap and initially Emma was lumped into that group. But she asked the official if she could do the longer race, and he obliged.

Photo by Kimberly Hicks Brittain

The race started and some boys took off fast. They got a good gap but Emma started to go to work. She was passing kids and getting up to the 2 boys up front. As they approached the hill on the back of the course, Emma flew up it...I don't think she even shifted. One of the boys yelled, "Girl coming!" to his buddy. But it did not matter. Emma smoked them on the hill and then maintained over the top. I could tell she was working hard and 'racing.' She put such a gap on them, that you could not even see them at the finish. She rolled across 1st...ahead of all the boys :) It was pretty fun to watch. And the race official who questioned if she could make it was obviously surprised. When she finished she was so excited and I could tell was tired.

The highlight was sharing the day with my family and watching some races in some beautiful weather. None of this would be possible without support from my family. We all work together to make things happen. It's such a good feeling.