Tulsa Tough

June 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Over the weekend I had a lot to say about my trip to Tulsa, but I didn’t write anything down at the time and just a few days later my ideas aren’t so crisp.

Photographer Jason Perry set up an outdoor studio to capture racers after each stage had finished. Click to see the others - I never knew people could look so attractive after a race.

I headed into the races with the idea that the conflict with Philly would make this a really easy run of things, that I’d be able to cherry-pick a bit. Not surprisingly, this attitude bit me in the ass a bit.

Turns out a lot of people had the same idea (and the current women’s field has the depth to have strong fields at Philly, Tulsa and Mt. Hood all at the same time). These races weren’t what I expected; they were fast, sure, but the racing felt tentative at first as the field looked to the pro teams to set the tone of the race. It was odd, because everyone was obviously fit and on-form, but nobody wanted to risk much. Coming to a race that felt wide open with possibilities was hard, particularly when you were (cough) coming in with heavy expectations for yourself. There are no more wide-open races. Nearly everyone is strong, nearly everyone is smart, and everyone absolutely wants to win. Being fit and crafty and wanting it isn’t enough. So what is enough? Discuss and let me know what you come up with.

I definitely didn’t want to take the risks I would have needed to for the results I wanted (increasing “wisdom” (read: age) or my crash in January has me holding back my assertiveness lately). The second day was my best day; by four laps to go I had decided my race was successful because I’d managed to get to the front and hold my position for four laps.

I held it until about three corners to go, when someone dived a corner and instead of shutting the door on her I backed off a bit & slid back a few spots. (Actually, nearly the same thing happened the first night when someone to my left and in front of me crashed with two to go; I got scared, tapped the brakes & that was that.) Despite the pause I just squeaked into the money with a 20th place, which left me tied for last in the omnium with a whopping one point. Fewer than half of the starters made it into the omnium, though, so I’m fairly content to have my name on the list.

The third day was…well, it was a little like a Tour de France stage. As in full of crazed fans in costume & over a wicked hill. Also over pretty quick, but there was nothing I could do about that at the time. We’ll leave it at that.

Outside of the racing, I fell in love with the town, the people we stayed with, even the heat. Unfortunately I didn’t take a single photo, but that’s mostly because I was too busy having a blast (read: napping, eating and sitting on the porch) to be bothered.

In short (too late!): go to Tulsa Tough. The end.

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