Well, last weekend was a very successful weekend, racing-wise. Here is a short run-down of the events:
Friday: Irish Hill Climb Championships
It's not really an official championships for us women, only for men, but we can do it anyway. My husband Ryan won the title last year, so he was under pressure to defend his title (here's his report on how it went). I thought I'd give him some company, seeing that this time the course was literally around the corner from us, not in the furthest parts of the country as the last three years. The climb was a 2.3km stretch up Kilmashogue Lane, starting off softly, but becoming bloody steep before giving some respite on a false flat before turning into a horribly steep wall before flattening out again at the top. I never really go higher than the Kilmashogue car park in training, it's just too steep!
The evening of the hill climb was lovely after the rain had vanished and a huge crowd was out on the climb (thanks to all our friends who came out and cheered - it felt like an Irish Alpe d'Huez in parts and added a great atmosphere to the event! I even saw a "Go Mel" written on the road!!!). I went too hard at the start (even with my powermeter), averaging over 380W for the first 3min, then died a slow death on the flat part, trying to recover somewhat, then really suffered on the "wall" and the last flatter bit to the finish. Then I collapsed into a heap. It took me 9min and 8secs to cover the climb - first girl by over a minute and a half. My overall wattage was only 326W, a sign of my bad pacing. I believe I could break the 9min if I paced myself better.
Fist one done!
Saturday: Lakeland GP in Enniskillen/Last Round of the Women's League Race
After a very unrestful night - I was way too wired after the coffee, caffeinated ZipVit Gel and Hill Climb race adrenaline to be able to sleep. I actually got back up at 1am to do some computer programming until 3am, then lied back down, tossing and turning and waiting for dawn. Ryan and I had to get up early to leave for Enniskillen anyway, so the wait wasn't too long.
The race was a 70km mostly flat lollipop loop, with a 5km drag around the 35km turn-around mark.We girls were sent off with the over 50 men. I was tired and happy to sit in (I actually didn't really have a plan and decided to play this race by ear, seeing how I feel). The pace was steady and I followed any attacks, but nothing stuck and it was into a headwind anyway. Once on the drag a few of the men attacked. I wasn't that concerned, but decided to up the pace a bit and see what happens. The next time I turned around, only Sandra Fitzgerald was on my wheel and we had a sizeable gap! I kept up the speed and dragged us up the incline. Once over the top we worked together - I knew Sandra to be a good time trialist, so it was good to have her with me. We had a gap of over 1.5min after the climb, so it was about keeping up the speed, in case the bunch got themselves organized on the descent and flat towards the finish. At about 5km to go, just when I was thinking of how to play the finish - I didn't know if Sandra would be a good sprinter or not - Sandra punctured. So I soloed easily into the finish. Sandra was able to get a quick wheel-change and held off the bunch for 2nd place.
2 out of 2, I'm on a roll!
Results and report on www.cyclingulster.com and www.womenscycling.ie.
Sunday: Lakeland Warrior 100km MTB Race
When you're tired from racing and it's raining and you still got to do more training, there's nothing better than another race. So Ryan and I decided to do the first installment of the 100km Lakeland Warrior 100km MTB race, organized by www.26extreme.com. The race was mostly on forest roads, so great for a tired mind and a great test of endurance. I tried to stick with the lead group of men, but I was still feeling yesterday's race in the legs, so dropped back after about 5km after which I was mostly on my own until the finish. At 50km we popped out at a beautiful viewpoint over what looked like hobbit land with lots of lakes and wild landscape - I wish I had had my camera with me!
I had a great endurance session and finished in 4h 33min, just half an hour behind Ryan, who won the race. I was 6th overall. This is defo one I'd go back to! Results here.
So I'm one up on the win-count on Ryan this weekend - hehe!