We remembered our Garmins. Jenn brought us a skewer for my trainer so I could warm up more easily before the race. I brought clothes to change into. 5:15am still came far too quickly, just 15 minutes before sunrise and about two hours before I really wanted to be awake. But with an 8am start time we had to be up so we could force down some food and coffee, muddle our way through race prep, and warm up.
There was wind. A lot of wind. I’d rather ride in the rain, all things being equal. 15-24mph gusts all morning that threatened to blow me off my bike, off the road, off a cliff, off a bridge, that ate my legs up when I thought I could rest. The kind of wind that makes you grateful for a course with a climb, because at least there I can be strong.
18 miles and 1,400 feet of climbing into the wind, on my own, no hiding in the pack, no break from the effort, just me to pull through. I was glad to have time trial bars and a helmet borrowed from friends. I’d pick up speed around a corner only to be slapped by the wind, but being more aerodynamic in descents really helped. At least everyone had to suffer through it the same. At least I passed a few people.
My unofficial time is 1:05:20. I should still be in the top ten, but now I’m 6 minutes behind the leader. We have a few hours to rest, then we race the Hood River Criterium – my first crit ever. Yikes!