Niki and the Modesto road Race

The race in Modesto last Sunday was my 4th. It turned out to be quite exciting and fun! It also helped me improve some skills and taught me a good lesson. As you know, Michele, and I were the only 2 women out there. I was a little worried we'd get some grief, but none of the men seemed particularly phased by our presence which was super cool. Well...except that guy who grabbed Michele when she was soloing. And I did hear a guy behind me comment to someone next to him that he wasn't getting much draft off me. Anyway, it was fantastic starting the race with the sea of orange and blue! We took off pretty fast, but after the initial shock to my body of lap 1 and reminding myself that my goal was to simply learn some good techniques, get a great workout, and stick with the group as long as possible, I felt much better. By lap 2, I'd gotten comfortable, moving around easily, cornering well and without fear in a large, fast moving group, and sprinting out of the corners to hang on. A few times one of the DBC guys would come back to check on me or give me news from further up. It was great to hear we'd put 2 guys off the front and were working to slow the pace of the group. I'm new to racing so hearing and seeing the strategy was terrific. It was also fun hearing the other teams comments when they'd realize the 2 Davis guys were long gone and there was nothing they could do. Bummer Dudes. There were a couple interesting moments, one when a large dog ambled across the road in front of us. People ahead were yelling something, but it wasn't clear what until I saw the dog. Luckily, we all avoided injury. The dog looked totally unfazed. Another occurred when riders ahead were yelling to avoid an object in the road. Some said it was a snake. Others a squirrel. I have no idea what it was, only that we all successfully avoided it. I tried to stay hydrated and eat blocks and gels throughout the ride, but was starting to get chilled around lap 5. I grabbed a "fresh" bottle in the feed zone coming into lap 6 and managed to hang onto the group. Coming into the start of the 7th lap, I was completely out of water again. I knew I risked getting dropped as I slowed to get the water, but I also knew it would be stupid to try to do the last 9 miles without water. In the feed zone, a guy near me missed the bottle he was handed and rode over it distracting me. I managed to snag a bottle a little ways up, but I'd lost momentum and the pack. I hammered to catch up and got in with a couple guys, but they weren't going fast enough, so I started to pass in a last ditch attempt to get back on. One guy stayed with me and then came in front. I thought we'd form a mini pace line and at least help each other finish if we couldn't reach the pack. He pulled off, and I started passing him to go in front when he tipped into me. I was actually holding him up! I thought we were going to crash, but we stayed upright with me yelling and him apologizing. I'd had enough of that nonsense, so pulled ahead and finished on my own. When I got home and out of the car, I realized I had a large swollen bruise on my left leg from where the dude's foot must have gone into me when we hit. Oh well. It could have been a lot worse, and I learned that I can stay upright and keep my wits about me even at the end of a HOT long road race! Looking forward to the Spring Hill RR with the DBC Ladies on May 31st! Niki

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