Last weekend I was in Dallas, Texas. I was there to race in The Matrix Challenge Criterium. Known as the oldest crit races in Texas. It was an absolute honour to go and represent for Team Type 1 Sanofi with another member from the women's team, Becky. We were joined by 4 men from the men's elite team as well as one straggler from the triathalon team.
It was a weekend that was over before we knew it yet I can't believe how much we managed to cram pack into less than 2 days.
Becky and I both arrived about 11pm at the airport where we quickly met and introduced ourselves. We had been chatting online for awhile before we realized we'd be racing together so I already knew we'd get along famously. But it was 11pm (felt like midnight with my internal time zone) and we had both been up since the wee hours of the morning and put in full work days. We got our sweet decked out rental mini van which was insanely luxurious for two dirty cyclists. Thankfully the hotel was only about 10 miles from the airport and surprisingly enough this was probably the only time the whole weekend where we didn't get lost. We slopped into our room and began assembling our bikes. I'm getting good at putting sexy bitch together right quickly. We made it to bed by about 1am and dragged ourselves out of bed groggily at 5am. I actually don't remember much about that morning except that we left the hotel about 5:30 and didn't arrive at the race until 6:40, 20 minutes before our race was to start. The kicker is the race is only a couple miles from the hotel. We rode around downtown Dallas at 6am on a Saturday morning totally and completely lost. We spotted a McDonald's and all I could think about was coffee so I ran in there, grabbed a coffee and got some directions. We were getting close to the race course and that's when I realized I hadn't eaten anything yet because I was planning to eat my protein bar. Fuck. I haven't got much time, the BGs aren't going to be happy about this. So I mowed down on the bar all while balancing a coffee AND riding.
We quickly registered and absentmindedly pinned on our bibs. Not realizing the "bib bitch" was going to be so snarky about it. I got a couple laps in of the route in an attempt to warm up before finding myself at the start line ready to go. I look over and bib bitch is un-pinning Becky's bib and re-pinning it while telling her what NOT to do. I cringed hoping she wouldn't look over at me. Just then, FUCK, she sees it! But we have only 30 seconds before the race. Bib bitch tried to snark me too and I told her, "Don't worry about it, I'll be lucky if I don't finish dead fucking last." She gave me some major stink eye.
Shall we talk about racing now? Mmmm'kay.
8/10th of a mile. 8 90-degree turns, 2 straight aways. 40 minutes, all out effort. 12'ish girls.
I buckled down and followed the herd. I was trying not to get in any one's way given my super amateur status. I will admit I'm afraid of crashing because I know that one day it is inevitable. I watched and learned and followed. I picked up a lot by just paying attention to what the other girls were doing. I realized I LOVE fast corners. I also realized I don't like being between two girls. With this course you couldn't really pick a spot and stay in it because of all the turns, the herd was constantly ebbing and flowing. My protein bar didn't really have enough time to digest so I was fighting back mint chocolate most of the race. I lost Becky because I didn't dare turn my head back but I knew she wasn't far behind. The course was beautiful through an old historic area. Pretty houses, white picket fences and lovely tree-lined streets. There was a slight downhill, enough to have to be careful heading into the corner, followed by a slight uphill. They did an immaculate job cleaning the streets of grit and other things that don't go well with skinny bike tires. I can't remember where I got dropped but it was somewhere around the half way to 2/3 point. I was surprised I hung on for that long to be honest. I just couldn't keep up though and fell off the back. It was at this point myself and another woman rode together and chatted about how much fun we were having and how hard it is to maintain that for only 40 minutes. All in all, I finished near the bottom but not DFL.
I felt pretty good post race and even my BG's were behaving. SO FAR. However, I forgot to either take insulin or turn up my temp basals. A crit race is like sprinting and that makes BG's go nice and high usually. So they started rising. Becky and I didn't have long to get back to the hotel, get showered up and ready to hit the streets ready to get lost on our way to the community event we were attending. Needless to say, we didn't have time to find food or coffee because we got stuck in traffic/lost. This further kicked my beeg's (eventually that's what we started calling it) in the ass. Part way through the event (which I'll get to in a sec) I could feel my eyes drooping and my mouth pasty dry. Oops. Here comes the moment of realization. I rage bolused it into submission.
The event we attended was for Project F.U.N (Families Understanding Nutrition) with the Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute. We helped the volunteers and more kids than I could count build 50 bikes. The kids were adorable and so outgoing. All the adult volunteers were warm and welcoming. It was a fantastic experience to see this gigantic room full of people building bikes. I love the idea of promoting health and wellness through cycling. We managed to spend the entire time talking with the kids and volunteers and getting to share our own experiences with diabetes and cycling.
The video below is Dustin building a bike.
THEN, we all finally had some lunch. There was a couple hours to kill before our next scheduled "get lost in Dallas" event. I wandered around town taking in some sights and enjoying the city. Becky and I (well I) thought for sure we knew our way back to the race but it turns out, not entirely. We left the hotel with PLENTY of time to spare, thankfully. We ended up overshooting our destination by a long shot. By the time we got there I was uncomfortable and sweaty. we were just wearing street clothes and I learned that just 45 minutes on the bike without a chamois is crotch murder. We had 5 guys to watch. 3 of them were cat3 and the other two raced next in cat4. I became photographer for a couple hours. Dan was right up there in the front the whole time making it look like eating cake. The guys were a ton of fun to watch because their field was quite massive. You could see them snaking around the corners in a long line. The cat4 race was a bit smaller but just as entertaining. Bradford kicked some serious ass and hung on at the front for the entire 60minutes. Dustin held on to his spot until the last couple laps where he fell to the back. Either way it was an amazing effort by all of them.
But here are some pictures of the guys racing: