Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, Stage 1 – Columbia Hills Road Race

We forgot our Garmins. We forgot the skewer for my trainer. I didn’t bring clothes to change into after the race because it wasn’t supposed to rain. At least we remembered our bikes, jerseys and race numbers, right?

It rained. A huge black cloud appeared right before our start time and loomed for the first 5 miles before dumping on us for 15 more miles. At times the spray from the wheel in front of me was oddly warm from a sun break heating the water on the road. My feet swam in my soaked shoes. I hadn’t brought a change of socks for after the race, either. By the last 3 miles of the race the road was dry, the sun came out, you’d never even know it had poured. And that’s spring in Oregon for you.

25 women lined up for the 24 mile stage 1 Cat 3/4 race, most of them I didn’t even know, many from out of state, some of them familiar faces from this season. It wasn’t the blistering pace I’d anticipated, everyone conserving energy for the next races. We have to do this again tomorrow, twice, and again on Sunday. Today I learned whose wheel to follow, who has a strong climb, who I can beat in a sprint.

I finished 4th, coming from the back of the pack up the little hill finish. I need to work on my placement and learn how to move up in the pack, especially heading into the finish. My rookie ways cost me a win for sure. I’m two seconds behind the lead rider, we’ll see if I can make that up.

But now we rest, eat, hydrate, sleep. For tomorrow we go again. And again.

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