Have you ever transcended space and time?

great day for bike race huh?

This is my race report for Cherry Pie.

You know, I've had so many people ask me what in the hell happened to me (and what's up with the DNF?) that even after writing it down in a coherent readable form, that it still fails to make any sense to me - but here it is.

Cherry Pie is the first race of the season on the OBRA calendar. And, seeing how I cringe at any race over 35 miles (Cherry Pie is 50 miles)... it's one that I normally wouldn't sign up to do by my own measure. I mean, come mid February I'd rather be at the mountain snowboarding and thinking happy thoughts about warm weather racing; however, the promoters for Cherry Pie were offering a CAT 3 Women's ONLY field and not only did I want to support that choice with numbers, but I was excited to race for the first time with my new team, Ironclad. We had at least six girls set to race and we put together a nice little game plan to better our chances of getting one of us across the line first. In fact, I was most excited for this race as it was my first chance to really work a "team strategy". In my prior race history, it was more about surviving and trying to scrap together a decent placing... but here with Ironclad I had a set plan for the race and a finite goal to accomplish.

My game plan for the race was to work really hard and pull a lot for the first 25 miles, in an effort to protect my teammates and wear some of the other ladies out. Basically, it was nice to just focus on 25 miles and not really worry about the rest. If I was able to hang on beyond that I would, but anything over the initial 25 miles was icing on the cake. So, needless to say the first 25 miles of the race I was a crazy biking into the headwind racing fool. I pulled in a lot of places I normally wouldn't and didn't mind wearing myself out for the good of the team cause... well, it was for the good of the team. Going into the first part of the second lap (after my focused 25 miles) I got dropped on the hills (not surprisingly) and then caught up with a chase group that was in hot pursuit of the main pack. As hard as I tried though, trying to organize a productive paceline with the wind and my prior hard efforts taking their toil, I slacked off the back of the chase pack when we hit a set of rollers. Not feeling bad since I had done my job prior, I rode the remaining 18 miles or so of the race by myself seeing the trailing chasers ahead of me pretty much the whole time.

Even though I saw the glistening of bikes ahead of me, I did lose sight of them around mile 45. No worries I thought, I've just got five miles to go and well, since it's a loop course that I've already been through once, I shouldn't have a problem. So, I finished up the rest of the 50 mile race solo. The cat 3 women were the last race of the day so I naturally figured that the finish would be boxing up and packing away by the time I got there... but by the time I got there - there was no one to be found. I knew I had crossed where the finish was - since I had seen the "1km to go" and all the other race signs... but no one was in sight. Shrugging it off as the OBRA folks just being eager to get home, I wearily started to make my way back to the staging area (which was still a few miles away). It was then that I realized I had no idea how to actually get back. When prior we had passed this point I had been in a hill racing haze... so I just rode around aimlessly for a bit trying to look for something familiar, to guide me back the right way. However, the evening was drawing to a close and the sun was dropping lower in the sky. As well, I was tired and hungry and knew my ride was probably waiting for me at the car.

At that point I happened upon a local man who was cutting and loading wood into his car. I stopped and asked him how to get back to the high school and he gave me a long series of directions that made my eyes glaze over. Finally he just asked "would you like me to give you a ride back" and I eagerly agreed. So, I helped him load some wood for five minutes and then we loaded my bike into the back of his beat up Dodge truck. Then, we headed off for the staging area where all of my teammates were worried about my whereabouts. How often can you say in your race report that you helped someone stack and load wood?

So yeah, I got lost... but in my book I got lost after I passed the finish line. What makes me wonder is what in the hell happened to me to for that last quarter of the race? It'd be easy to say... well, you were just really slow jenn... but the interesting thing is that one of my teammates was behind me in the race - and yet... she finished the race across the line ahead of me. In fact, she even said that everyone waited for me at the finish - but I never showed up. My clock and milage had me at 50 some miles and I followed the race course (it was a loop so we did the same thing twice) and passed them same signs twice (most notably the egg place and the fake cop car sign)... but really I have no idea what happened to me.

Yes, I suppose I could have taken a wrong turn in there, but I don't have good luck with ending up where I am supposed to be in the first place. Normally if a wrong turn was the case I'd still be spinning around the greater part of central Oregon as we speak. Basically, my best guess is that I passed into a parallel time dimension between miles 45-51 which caused me to miss the complete official end of the race. Basically, I transcended time, but not space (Huckabee reference) In my book though, I did not DNF. In fact, I pride myself on never having a DNF in a race... it's just unfortunate that no one was there to see me finish. Anyways, quite frankly, I am still puzzled by the whole thing. All in all, it just makes me realize why i love track and crits so much. IE: it's normally pretty easy to remember where you left the car cause you never were more than a half mile away for the whole race. And, this is all the more reason to love Spin class too!

Oh, and in case you were wondering ... the Ironclad ladies killed it. The game plan continued to work even tough I was apparently lost in the woods and Brianna Walle charged up the hill at the finish to place first. It's going to be a kick ass year.


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