Monday, 4 April 2011

8 Hours in Houston

Team Canada catching some shade, waiting for the course to open

Ya, I have a great little 8 hour lay-over in the Houston airport....but I have to say if I'm going to be stuck in an airport for 8 hours, this is not a bad one to be in. There are lots of choices for some pretty good food, and everything is bigger in Texas. On my way home from my first big race of the season, Pan Ams in Chia, Columbia. It was a really, really neat venue, with an old drug cartel castle as a back drop to the course. Haha, ya, I guess the park where the course is was the stomping grounds of a big drug lord before the Colombian government did a big clean-up of the area and "took back" the castle to make it a pubic park. I will definitely get a picture up of it.

So, I learned the very hard way that racing at over 8000 feet while living at sea level really, really hurts. It's funny because I really didn't feel too bad with the lack of oxygen with every day life, but I really noticed it while climbing and sleeping. Haha, I have found that at high altitudes I don't sleep well at all, and when I do sleep, I have really weird dreams.

This particular course would have been extremely physically challenging even if it happened to be at 500 feet as it was definitely a climbers course with long steep, and I mean steeeeeeep, climbs, followed by fast, rough, point and shoot downhills. We arrived in Bogota on Thursday evening, and had two days of slow pre-riding to save the body and dial the course before our race on Sunday.

Off the start I was in a really good position, sitting just behind Americans Mary McConneloug and Heather Irmiger, not pushing myself hard, feeling actually rather comfortable. But things went a little sideways about 10 mins in when we started to really climb. I knew that I would have troubles sticking with the lighter climbers, but I really tried hard not to push myself too hard to keep up as I new that with the altitude that it would be really difficult to recover from any efforts. 10 mins in I ended up gearing down to my easiest gear and going straight into survival mode, ya, yikes!

I had a little panic moment when I felt both my gels slip out of my shorts (I have a little troubles getting at my gels when they are in the pocket of my skinsuit so I had them tucked in the leg bands of my shorts.....bad idea!) I managed to hold my own, lost a couple of positions, gained a couple back. It's funny when your riding slowy up a climb and you get the bright idea that you should push yourself a little harder, maybe you have a little more in your legs, then 20 secs later you nearly fall off your bike because you can't see straight...haha.

Going into the last lap I was sitting in about 11 place, with 2 rider right a head of me and 3 right on my heal. I managed to keep my pace steady up to the top, passing Katie Compton and a Mexican rider on the climb. I pushed myself hard up the last climb to close the gap to the Colombian rider a head of me (which again left me seeing stars and barely able to hold on to my bars on the rough descent). I tailed the Colombian the whole way down, trying to pass a couple times, but getting pinched out. At this point a Brazilian rider had closed the gap (it's funny though because for some reason I think we actually lapped this rider but oh well), and there was a train of 3 of us looking for the pass.

Finally with about 500 m to go I made my move to pass, maybe not the best move but it was my last chance, and she cut me off taking both of us out. MY POOR's okay, but it lost a little paint on the top tube :( The Brazilian made it around without going down, and the Colombian rider managed to get herself together faster then me, but by the time I got myself figured out and back on my bike the Colombian had gone down again in the next corner.

So a 9th place finish is all I could manage on the day. Honestly I'm happy with my effort on the day, definitely couldn't have gone any harder, but I'm more then a little disappointed with how I felt. I mean, come on, I'm super woman, altitude shouldn't affect me like that!!!!

So now I'm doing my airport recovery day in the Houston airport...always great for recovery. For some reason us Victorianites got really bad tickets home and we end up having to spend the night in Vancouver and have to wait for the 15 min hop over the water early tomorrow morning. Oh well, It'd be too late Monday night for our burger date. Yummm!!!!

Super coach Dan Proulx

1 comment:

tan said...

Congrats Mical!!