|- by Laura Weislo|
El Cahon Grand Prix, El Cahon CA February 2, 2003
The Boulevard road race just screwed with my mind. I know, I know, early season races don't mean a lot, but I have been working so hard all winter long. I have sacrificed hour upon hour, suffered for this sport. I want to see some results. I want something back, damnit, after all, I'm in Southern California for four months and I haven't been to Hollywood. I haven't seen the Le Brea tar pits. I haven't gone to Mexico and I haven't even tried surfing. I haven't traveled, I haven't been to Joshua Tree. I have friends in LA I've only seen twice and it's almost time to go back home.
Instant gratification is not what bike racing is about, and after 24 solid hours of beating myself up emotionally and making my husband really irritated, I go to another race. I decide that an endurance ride would be too much time lost in my own negative thoughts. I need to shake myself out of it. This time it's a crit, pancake flat. There are over 60 women in the race. First crit jitters, it takes me the whole race to remember how to corner. The multitude of reflector pucks and "bots dots" make picking a line even more challenging. There's a race going on up there somewhere, but I'm stuck so far back in the pack that the only way I can tell is by listening to the announcer when we come past the start/finish. With 5 laps to go, some of the old instincts come back and I try to move up through the finshing straight. But I take turn one ridiculously wide to avoid the reflectors and get yelled at by a T-Mobile woman who was on my wheel. I think it was Katrina Berger. My new claim to fame, getting yelled at by the best. I hang on for the whole thing, despite the 27mph average and I feel a little better about myself. Even though I finished at the back, at least I didn't get dropped.
1. Safford, Katie Minute Maid/Dasani
2. Webb, Anna HiTech Bikes
3. Quinn, Rebecca Red 5
4. Gagglioli, Lynn Four Wind
5. Eyerman, Jenny Red 5
6. Durand, Deborah Helen's/Trek/VW
7. Campbell, Rook HiTech Bikes
8. Whiteside, Julia Minute Maid/Dasani
9. Anderson, Kim US National
10. Heffernan, Lisa
11. Roth, Cheryl Helen's/Trek/VW
12. House-Williams, Tamara HiTech Bikes
I turn around and do the Masters 30+ 3/4 race with my husband, Emory, just for training. A nice man at the neutral support truck, Wheels on Wheels, fixed my shifting before the race on condition that I would stay in the race. So even though I get dropped 10 minutes in, I sit up, wait for the pack and jump back on. I remember how to corner, and it's not so bad. I go out for a celebratory beer and start the training week all over again. Another 16 hour week, more pain, more exhaustion, more grumpiness and nights in bed by 9. Man, I'm gonna be flying by June. I just know it. Or I'll be dead. One of the two.
Laura Weislo’s webpage can be seen here.