I've often felt that the way in which you start a new year is indicative of how that year will progress. It's a way to set your intention for the year. So, while others were waking up this morning hungover from their New Year's Eve festivities, I was racing my bicycle at the San Bruno Mountain Hill Climb.
Since I started racing in 2002, I've never raced San Bruno. I've been to the race a number of times, supporting the team, bringing baked goods for the officials, coaching my athletes, but for one reason or another, even though I've wanted to race it and even though I've had good fitness some years, I never did. So this year, with a goal of focusing on road racing, I put San Bruno on my list. I wanted to put my stamp on the year. It was my way to say "I'm back!"
The race is a 3.7 mile climb with 1,187' of climbing. The average grade is 6% with a couple little sections up to 10%. The first half of the climb is on Guadalupe Canyon Road, a smoothly-paved 4-lane road with a wide shoulder and lots of exposure (so wind can play a factor). The second half of the climb is up Radio Road, a chopped-up, bumpy service road through San Bruno Mountain State Park. I've ridden the course a bunch of times so I was familiar with the unique challenges of a race like this. The weather today was good -- cold (40s and 50s) and clear with no wind on the bay side and just a slight wind on the ocean side.
|Lorri at the crossover through San Bruno Mountain State Park|
Now, no one will ever accuse me of being a petite flower. I'm not a skinny climber girl. I'm tall and will never weigh 110 pounds. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to climb. I've ridden the Death Ride five times. I climb everything I can. I like long and steep and painful climbs. But I'm not a fast climber. Even when I was younger and lighter I wasn't a fast climber. But I still love it. I knew from my pre-ride times that I would be nowhere near the race leaders. But my goal was to get out there. Actually, that was my secondary goal. My primary goal was to get some of my new Team Velo Girls racers out there.
You see, we haven't had much going on in the road racing scene for a couple of years. I've watched women's racing development decline in Northern California the past few years, too. So, this season, I'm committed to changing that. I've recruited an awesome team of 12 racers, ranging in age from 27 to 50 (and I'm not the oldest!) who are fun and excited to race together as a team. It's the first time since our inaugural team in 2002 that I've got an entire team of new (or almost new) racers to coach. They're all excited about learning a new sport. We've had a great fall training together and the women are anxious to start racing together.
Unfortunately, I injured my back a month ago (in yin yoga of all places). I rode through it with a 4-day climbfest at Thanksgiving (Hamilton, Diablo, Tam, and San Bruno) and then a 3-day training camp in San Luis Obispo. But for most of December, I was off the bike, with the exception of two very short, very easy rides. My back is now healed but my body has de-trained significantly in the past month. And while I'm disappointed not to be in good fitness for the race, I put it in perspective -- today was more about participating than winning. And I rode okay, coming in less than a minute over my time goal.
So today, Tiina, Oralia, and I raced San Bruno and Leslie and Winnie came out to support and cheer. It was a super-fun day. Everyone learned a lot and did really well. Tiina finished just off the podium in her very first race ever (and she is a skinny little climber girl). Oralia flew up the hill finishing strong, also in her first race. And I rolled across the line with a great big smile and my hands in the air in my own personal victory salute.
|Tiina, Lorri, and Oralia|
And then we toasted to the new year and the new team with some Martinelli's sparkling apple cider. It's going to be an exciting year. We're going to have a great team and I predict that we'll win a bunch of races, too. We're going to have fun. And we'll keep toasting to races raced, lessons learned, and opportunities for growth.
How did you put your stamp on 2013? Did you do something today that's related to your goals for the year?