Saturday, July 28, 2007

DFL in White Plains, but all over the ESG website.

After Friday's race, nothing could hurt quite so bad. When I woke up Saturday morning I felt very tired. Wen the alarm went off I debated the merits of getting up and going over to the cafeteria for breakfast versus staying in bed a little longer and eating a Clif Bar in the car on my way to White Plains. College cafeteria food or sleep?? Another one of those no brainers!! I didn't really fall back asleep, but just lying in bed for an extra 20 minutes felt pretty good. Finally I pried myself out of bed, pulled myself together and made my way down to White Plains.

It's funny staying at the college for races in my area, though for Thursday's and Friday's races it was a smart move. I probably saved about 25 minutes in travel time not having to deal with rush hour traffic on the Hutchinson River Parkway. For a race in White Plains on Saturday it was really not necessary, but I didn't want to break the ESG rules regarding campus housing. Coming to White Plains from Purchase felt a little strange. Despite my familiarity with White Plains I still wasn't a 100% sure where I was supposed to be going. I followed the directions in the cycling information packet. They sent me to a parking lot that was closed. I finally went and parked by the train station and rode my bike over to the staging area.

Criteriums usually scare the crap out of me. I hate the tight turns and the pack makes me nervous. I had skipped the Masters criterium at the 2005 Games in New Paltz. Competing in the Open I have no choice. However I was actually looking forward to doing the event this year. It was one of the events I had intended to enter if I had done the Masters Division. I thought it would be exciting to do a bike race in downtown White Plains, and I pictured big crowds watching.

So I was wrong about the big crowds. What can I expect early on a Saturday morning? When I got there the Master's men were racing. It was pretty intense. I warmed up on one of the side streets with some of the other women from the Open Division. I decided I did not need to warm up on a trainer like the guys. Rolling around on the streets would be fine, and once the masters men were done I could ride the course. While waiting around for the guys to finish I got interviewed for a video on the Journal News ESG website. He was asking questions about the Tour de France doping controversies and how it impacted cycling at this level. I was featured quite a bit on the video. (Look for ESG Special -Doping Controversy) After watching the video I decided I need a speech coach! All the ums make me want to shoot myself!

Riding around during the warm up helped me get a feel for the corners, and plan my strategy. Strategy sounds impressive, but all it means for me is knowing where I want be when the field laps me. Finally it's time to line up. The official goes through the usual spiel about it's a points race, and that one loses 20 points if they get lapped once, and may be pulled if lapped twice. The word may caught my ears because at the Binghampton Games the official said "will" and sure enough I was pulled after being lapped a second time.

Before the race Gemma said to me, "Whatever you do, don't get lapped." Yeh, fat chance of that happening. I was in really good shape in 2004 for the Binghampton Games, but still I eventually got spit off the back, and lapped twice. Here it is 3 years later, and I'm nowhere near the condition I was back then, and she expects me not to get lapped? Maybe she was just trying to get me motivated. No problem! But I'm a realist. It wasn't matter of if I get lapped, it was when I get lapped.

I was hoping I could make it around a few times with the field, but perhaps that was too ambitious a goal. Maybe a more reasonable goal would have been make it to the fourth corner with the field. I was already getting spit off the back on the second corner. By the third corner even the woman I beat in the time trial had dropped me. *Sigh* it was going to be one of those days. Since it was only a .55 mile loop it didn't take long for the breakaway to lap me. I'm not sure on what lap they caught me, but I knew if the officials pulled me when I got lapped again it was going to be a short morning. When I got lapped the second time I looked at my odometer. 4.25 miles! Cripe, my warm up was longer then that. However as I approached the start/finish line I didn't see the official step out on the course and blow his whistle, so it appeared they were letting me continue for the time being.

The spectators were great. A lot of USI people were out there as marshals. When I would get on Mamaroneck Ave. this one woman would yell out "Go Lightspeed!" On another lap she yelled out "Go Empire State Games!" She reminded me of spectators on the NYC marathon course that would cheer you by what ever was on your singlet. So when I came around the next time I told her "My name is Polly." On the next few laps she would yell "Go Polly." I saw the photographer who had done the video of me, and said "I told you I'd be easy to spot." He got some great shots of the race and the interviews.

This is a good action picture of me taken by Matthew Brown of the Journal News . The casual viewer doesn't have to know that I'm seriously OTB (off the back.) and DFL. For all they know I could be leading the field. (In my dreams!)

I knew my race was over when the woman who just lapped me got whistled off the course with 4 laps left for the field. At this point i had done about 9.5 miles. It was exactly was I was hoping for, but better then what I was entitled to since they could have yanked me long before. I lost track of how many times I actually I got lapped. I know it was at least 4 times, but I really didn't want to know. When they posted the standings they had me down for -60. Ouch and I thought my -40 looked bad in 2004!! Fortunately when they posted the results on the website, they listed the points we scored for the team, not the points from the race. So instead of a -60 it had 9 next to my name. Ah yes, the 9 more points the guys got by having me there instead of nobody. Whoopee! Hudson Valley's brief stay in 5th place was done. Even though there were only 88 points separating 3rd from 6th things were not looking good for the home team.

I was interviewed again and the reporter put a piece in his daily blog about my opting to do the Open instead of masters. He didn't quite get the story right since he made it sound like I was the 3rd person on the team. Oh well. It was still good to get something out about our sad women's situation. Who knows if people read this stuff or not.

I was going to leave after my race and go down NYC and play chess. However it's hard to walk away when there are still races going on. I rode around with Dale and Nancy as they were warming up for their race. I then watched them race. It was the first time I actually have watched Dale in a race that I was not in. Usually she's way in front of me so I don't see what's she's doing. It was pretty impressive watching her hang with the 55+ men. It gives me a greater appreciation of what's she accomplished this year. I'm envious of her discipline and focus, but I have to remind myself that she's free to train all year around. She doesn't also doesn't train for other sports.

It was a little difficult for me to watch the awards for the masters races. I was happy for Dale, Nancy, Karen and Liz. USI had a good showing. However seeing that empty podium spot in the 45-54 women was a little sad for me. It shouldn't really matter since third in that field would have been last in that field. I've won enough medals where I had do more then just show up. But there is something very cool about getting up on that podium and receiving a medal. I guess it's being able to act out the Olympic fantasies I had as a kid.

So one more race left. It will be another DFL day. The team time trial; where you're only as strong as your second rider. I'm the second rider. The one person I beat this weekend is the 3rd rider on the Long Island team. One just has to look at the results from the individual time trial, and it's easy to see where this is all leading to.

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