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Anne Crushes All Competition at Pescadero RR 2015

Don’t believe your eyes! If in doubt, open your mouth (preferably before the finish line)

There were no teammates in my category but since we started with the cat 3/4 women both Monica and Meredith were racing in the same field. The group was big: over 30 riders and since half of them were 4s I told Monica and Meredith that I will set a good tempo going into the first State Rd. climb so we can string the group out. Camille DeLuca-Flaherty and Helen Casabona were my biggest rivals and I asked them to join me setting the pace at the start to stay safe and not get boxed in on the descent.
Camille took of pretty hard from the gun and the peloton was straining to stay together as we got onto Stage Rd. As soon as the climb started I went up front and set the pace to what was pretty hard even for me at this early on the race but I thought as soon as we get out to 84 I can relax and settle in. This is pretty much what happened. We had a breakaway of about 8 riders with only Camille from my category. She and I kept pushing the paceline so we could establish the break, and we had some interesting conversations with the 4s of how to ride in it :). It looked, and sounded to me that besides some of the more experienced 3s and Camille and I, the rest were ready to pop any minute.
When we got to Haskins I went up the climb with my regular hard, but not all out tempo and was able to form a small gap. Somewhere after the descent flatten out and the headwind started to gain significance I was caught, to my surprise by mostly riders I’ve never raced with or heard of. The only “regular” was Shelagh Fritz from Team Mike’s Bikes. At this point I thought I was the only “oldie” surviving the breaks and I kind of thought I’ll just enjoy the rest of the race working in the paceline but not having to push the pace or initiate any more breaks. But after we got to Stage Rd. Shelagh mentioned to me that the kid in a Stanford kit was wearing a 900-number and she was in my category! I couldn’t think of anyone pre-reged from Stanford in 35+ so I thought she must have signed in that morning, and she also looked really young for 35, but what do I know what the kids look like these days! So I went back to the “serious racing mode” and kept my eyes on her. I was just hoping she hadn’t been sandbagging the first lap since she was one of the riders I thought was on the verge of popping…
As far as kids go, they always seem to be able to sprint at the end so I decided I’ll try the game of attrition. I set the pace on Stage Rd. again and went hard on the descents but I could only establish a small gap that was quickly swallowed as soon as we got onto 84. My mystery Stanford companion, on the other hand, seemed to be gaining strength on every pedal stroke! Finally, we got to Haskins climb, and I went to the front setting a nice tempo, trying to gauge were everyone’s but especially hers strength was at this point. And it quickly dawned on me: she had taken it easy up to this point and she was right there on my wheel. So up we went trying to drop each other off on every stroke with our heart rates (or at least mine!) soaring as our breathing got more and more labored. At 2km mark I stood up to accelerate to try to shake her off thinking she must be tired maybe I can break her will… And I first got a small gap and thought here we go! But as I got to the 1km mark she was right there behind me again. My heart sank and I almost wanted to just declare defeat right there but I heard a small part of my brain calling me to fight. So at 200m to go I stood up again and said “okey legs, what ever you got left please give it to me now!” I pushed as hard as I could thinking I can’t do this it’s too much pain! but kept going for another 100m until I had established 15 meter gap and then I just alternated sitting and standing so I wouldn’t collapse finally crossing that line with my mind, and legs, completely done.
Anne showing true dedication. Photo: JABW Photo:
Anne showing true dedication. Photo: JABW Photo:
When the other riders from our group started coming in I finally spoke to them and found out that the “mystery girl” was not 35 and that she actually raced category 3. Baffled, I went over to her to ask what the deal was, and she looked at her race# and laughed “Oh I must have pinned my # upside down!” I almost said: “Congratulations, you almost made me pass out on that hill!” but instead I said “that’s not very good, because you fooled a couple of people”. I mostly felt really bad for Shelagh who after thinking she wasn’t competing with her, let her go on the last climb. But instead of the officials disqualifying her (which I think would have been not such a bad idea. You are DQed if your number is ripped or unreadable so why is this different?), she was able to share the 1st place with the next rider leaving Shelagh 3rd. Weird situation. All I could say at the end of the day was: a) thank gosh my effort wasn’t washed out by it, and b) I guess you can get to Stanford being dyslectic 😉
A true fighter!! Photo: JABW Photo:
A true fighter!! Photo: JABW Photo:
Meredith and Monica raced hard in the main back and came in 11th and 14th respectively. I couldn’t agree more with Holger’s assessment of the Pescadero race. It’s probably the hardest one in the calendar because of the elements and terrain. There really isn’t any place for rest. It’s just hard work from the get-go until the bitter end 🙂

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