Sea Otter 2017 – Women’s Road Race Report

A few things that went right

My mind had been struggling since Thursday. To say that I was intimidated by the race would be an understatement, especially after ‘feeling’ how hilly it was during our pre-ride. More than once I considered switching to the 91-mile Grand Fondo. Thankfully Nikki said she was not going to let me bail 😊.

I absolutely loved Friday’s Circuit race! By finishing 6th/10 among Cat 5 riders I figured I would not likely finish far behind everyone else.

During my rest day on Saturday I relaxed and walked a along the coast from Pacific Grove to the Monterey Aquarium and back. What a beautiful place…

One thing that was sort of fun

Our Thursday pre-ride turned out to be an off-road adventure with a snake encounter. The course was fenced off along a residential zone, so Nikki and I ventured into a dirt path parallel to the road to find a way back to it. When we found it, we jumped over a fence and kept going. Soon after that, we saw a giant (not really) snake basking in the sun in the middle of the road. I wonder now if it was dead, but it’s California, surely snakes over there enjoy that kind of thing?

A few things that went… not so good

By 10:00 PM bib numbers were pinned, and bags were packed. Lights were turned off at a fantastically normal time for a cycling racer on a Saturday night, and that’s when my endless tossing and turning started. I think I only slept one hour that night. Was it the nerves? Was it the green tea I had during lunch at Team Thrive’s favorite sushi restaurant?

Our race was scheduled to start at 9:35 AM; however, since the men’s race was not yet over, we stood at the start line for the longest twenty minutes, which my brain used to overthink and get anxious. The girl next to me wanted to talk, as she was probably feeling the same way, but the introvert in me cannot really talk when she’s freaking out.

Early on during the first of three laps, when I thought I was working with a pack of four, I heard a rattling sound, the sound of Lulu’s doomed race. Not long after that I felt the weight of a water bottle on my foot. The top of the cage had come loose, and I had to stop to ‘fix’ it, which means that I re-attached the screw by hand as tight as I could. In hindsight, that was a bad idea. Without a tool to tighten it for real, I should have taken the cage off and put it in my pocket, because for the rest of the race I had to reach down again and again when my speed was not too fast to prevent it from falling off. It was on one of these tightening efforts that I rode into a bush (or the bush rode into me?). Luckily, I did not fall and only got some scratches.

One thing that was awesome

It may have been 65 degrees that morning at Sea Otter, but it sure felt a lot hotter to me! Secretly, I could not wait until the moment I approached the famous feed zone to get a water bottle from the fabulous Jadine and Karen. The fact that they would find the place and stand there waiting for us to ride by was veeery special to me.

In conclusion, the race was freaking amazing and I want to do it again, even if it made me feel completely out of my comfort zone and stretched my physical limits. I shall seek redemption next year…

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