Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Racin' Recap: Memorial Weekend in Iowa

Hmmmm. I think Steve Tilford summed it up best, "So many different variables in such a short period, at the end of the race, make it frustrating and exciting at the same time."

Racing bikes is one part fun and 9 parts frustration. You might wonder why I do it, and from time to time, so do I, but mostly I find challenging things more interesting than straight recreation or entertainment. Moreover, fighting through the 9 parts frustration to the one part fun means the fun isn't mere amusement to be shortly forgotten, but more of a kind of deep satisfaction that'll keep your chin up when life's serving grim. That one part also contains a dose of thrill the likes of which you can't get sitting on the sofa the same way you can screaming 'round a corner with 30 other speed freaks.

So, overall, the 2008 Quad Cities races were a good marker of what 12 months of training and learning can do. Last year, I was intimidated by the finishes and didn't know how to avoid being swarmed. This year, I finished 6th at Melon City, which is renowned for the finishing u-turn swarm. Last year, I was scared to descend at full speed on the Snake. This year, I stayed off the brakes and swooped through the corners on my lines every time without a qualm to finish 5th. Next year, I'm going to bring the proper gear and see if I can't win that sucker.

The final races delivered the frustration. In my 2/3 race, I didn't nail down the finish in my head before racing. The consequence was a much poorer finish than I should have had. Although I 'knew' the win was tied to being first to the 3rd to last corner, I hadn't fixed it in my mind and when the time came, I wasn't able to execute. I had a too big gear and a less than optimal position.

In the 1/2/3 race, I missed the break and didn't bridge when the time was ripe, which I should have done because that's a strength for me. The next big mistake was when we got lapped and we were able to do the finishing train, I should have handled it a little different. We were rolling well, I was on the front, we had our line and I should have taken it all the way through the key corner. I could have done that. Instead, instead I tried to pull off and let the next one in the train go, but the timing was bad, we got pinched, and our top finisher had to grab a new train.

Fortunately, that Bri's a quick thinker and got a 2nd place finish, but I think if I'd have done my job better, she would have had a good shot at winning it. We'll never know, but it was an education. This road racing stuff takes so much thinking. You can read about it all you want and it will help, but there's no replacement for experience, which frustrates the heck out of me. But, I'm determined, I'm taking notes and I get to try again this weekend at Tulsa Tough, which with over $10,000 available for the women's field in every race, ought to be plenty exciting.


sda said...

good results syd, congrats on a fruitful weekend.

i've said it before and i'll say it again - every race is a learning lab. keep taking those notes.

bluecolnago said...

sounds to me like you have a pretty good idea what's going on around you and the right approach to racing and gaining valuable experience! good on 'ya, girl! congrats on your finishes in some pretty tough races!

bryan said...

nice weekend, Syd. I'm going to have to sack up and go next year. Iowa City was telling for me, so I passed. Hopefully next time it'll tell me something different.

sydney_b said...

Bryan, you should go. I have really come to enjoy the Iowa races and scene. There's so many cool people and they are well-run events.

You should also put Tulsa Tough on your list. The payouts are high for all events, the courses are challenging and the events are extremely well organized.

Dad said...

Experience, experience, experience...that's memories of the things you forgot to do but won't forget again.

When you play with the big dogs it is always a walk on the edge of one's experience. If you're afraid to push to the edge of what you know, you will only be as good as you were the last time out.

Remember that I told you growing up that when I nodded for my stock I wanted the pedal to the metal just shy of crash and burn. When you do that in every competition the winners begin to give you the hand-up shortcuts, not because they want you to beat them, but simply a winner's way of saying, "Hey, you're a can doer, I don't want you to quit 'cause I like beating your butt." *LOL*

That's when you'll know you need to perfect your experience as much as trying to get more of it.

Good week-end! But it's gone...think Tulsa!

nicol said...

Good job Sydney! Seems like it keeps getting better and better and it's so cool watching you and team Revolution succeed! Good luck in Tulsa.

Your dad has a way with words. I enjoy his comments, as he is a motivator. :)

oldmanandhisbike said...

Congrats on your efforts and good finish. Keep up the hard work and good luck in your next event.
P.S. I noticed in the results that a local boy, Ben Renkema, finish 4th in 1/2/Pro. He used to race MTB with my son a few years ago and is a awesome rider. Glad to see he is having success.

Chris said...

Those cobbles look insane. There are no cobbles or hills in Austin :)

sydney_b said...

I figured as much, Chris. That bodes a little ill for me, but I have a couple of teammates who'll smoke it then.

the mostly reverend said...

syd failed to mention that she was chosen--by announcer kenny labbe--as the most aggressive rider in the women's cat 2/3 race monday.
that ain't too shabby.