Galena Triathlon

Galena Triathlon-

Thoughts on my mind the week of Galena…

Leading up to this race, I was very concerned about how the FREAKING COLD weather would effect the water temperature of the lake at Apple Canyon River.   I was checking the weather updates for Galena all week to see what the lake temperature was going to be.  I wanted to get an idea of my swimming fate.  According to USAT rule, water temperature needs to be at least 60 degrees in order for the athletes to swim.  The water temperature at Apple Canyon was teetering on 58-60 degrees all week.  I was certain Galena would just change the triathlon into a duathlon.  There was no POSSIBLE way that the water temperature would be 60 degrees.  We had such cold, rainy weather the past few days.  I had such high hopes that Galena would change the race.  I couldn’t even imagine what swimming in 60 degree water would feel like.  Galena stuck to their guns and stated that the water temperature was 60 degrees.  This meant we were going to swim.  Boy, did my heart drop when I heard the final announcement.  I could not believe that the water temperature was actually 60 degrees.  I was terrified to swim in water that cold.  I didn’t know if I would survive.  Lets touch back on that in a minute…

Morning of the race: it was a three hour drive to get to Galena… THREE HOURS!  Can you say leg cramps?  Good Lord, was I glad to get out of the car once we arrived at the race site.  The Galena triathlon has two different transition areas.  One is right by the beach were we swim, the other transition area is 16.8 miles away.  So this means race morning you need to set up two separate transition areas.  It took 25 minutes to drive to the second transition area and another 25 minutes to drive back.  There goes my warm up… This also meant that my dad would have to go from the start line to on an hour long bus ride (around the course) to get to the finish line.  Not a very spectator friendly race to say the least. 

Once we finally got my transition set up, I went to the water to see how horrid the swim was going to be.  When I first stepped in the water, my feet were burning.  Then it felt like tiny needles were stabbing at my skin where Audrina was not covering me.  Eventually, they were numb.  A very brave French lady in the water next to me jumped in head first into the water…If she could do it so could I…this seems the be reoccurring factor in my life lately…. So I went underwater expecting the worse, which would be that I decided I could not race. However, it wasn’t actually as bad as I had expected!  Pheww, that was a huge relief.  I mean it wasn’t going to be a cake walk, but I would be able to get it done without worrying if I was going to die.  

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The race was beach start.  I squeezed my way up to the front of the pack of women waiting to go off at 9:20.  When the buzzer went off, we ran into the chilly lake water.  I was able to fight my way to the front of the pack of girls and started drafting of the girl in the lead.  My fingers grazed her feet every so often.  I felt slow at first, because of the cold.  Once we got into the grove of swimming, I felt like I was going at a decent pace!  The lead girls and I started passing the men from the previous wave.  Take that guys!!  All of us lead girls came out of the water at once.  I was fourth in my wave.  The transition was a LONG and pebbly one. My guess was that the actual

 swim only took 7:15-7:25minutes, we had a heck of a long transition to run up.   

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Goodie gum drops!  Just what I’ve always wanted.  Thankfully, some of the run to the transition area was covered with a rug.  The parts not covered with rug was covered with sharp little rocks which  got stuck to my feet.  Ouch!  I had such a hard time getting my feet into my shoes.  I swear, they were fighting against me at one point!  

Now for the bike.  There was a steep hill right out of the T1.  Hence, I could not stick to the normal plan of jumping onto Cecilia with shoes already on the pedals.  Running in my shoes with cleats was the only option.  On the bright side, I was able to get Audrina right off of me!  No problems =]   HOORAY! She is finally liking her momma.  

I was the first woman out of transition and onto the bike course.  Two things about the bike portion.  The hills were huge!  Holy Guacamole!  I expected my legs to be like jello once I was finished with each one.  Surprisingly, I felt pretty strong after each hill and was able to push hard going into the down hill that came with each steep climb.  I was passing guys left and right.  These were guys in full tri gear.   I was so happy!  This definitely gave me the confidence to push even harder on the bike.  I hadn’t seen a woman pass me yet!  Around mile 13/14 I was getting ready to climb a big hill.  I switched from the big chain ring to the small.  Low and behold, my chain dropped.  This is the first time anything like this has happened to me during a race that has caused me to stop completely.  I was terrified.  I had never dropped my chain at all.  My pedals wouldn’t move and I was convinced I was going to fall over.  I safely (shocker) got to the side of the road and tried to fix poor Cecilia.  Now I put my chain back on my bike several times before, so I knew how to fix it.. or so I thought.  However, being a Mascarella, my chain was stuck between the bottom bracket and the chain ring.  For the life of me, I could not get it loose.  At this point, my grief stages started to kick in.  I was in tears trying to fix stinking Cecilia.  Finally, my knight in BONKER kit came to save my life.  It took some elbow grease and some skill to finally get my chain back on, but after a heart wrenching 3.5 minutes, I was finally back on my bike and ready to go!  While I was having a mental break down on the side of the road, three women had passed me.  No way I was going to catch up with the first two, but I was going give everything I had to catch the third women.  This lady and I were playing cat and mouse once I caught her.  She was about 15ft in front of my when we arrived at the transition area.  She dismounted her bike by clipping out of her pedals.  I was able to hop off of Cecilia and edge the other girl out of the T2 line by a few inches!  That’s what ya’ get for passing me!  I ran to my next transition area and attempted to take my helmet off… but Vaderette did not want to come off of my head.  She somehow got herself wrapped up in my hair.  I mean, Christ on a corndog, could anything go right?  After fighting with my helmet for a while, I was finally able to get her off and get my shoes on.  

I was off and out of transition and just a second behind the lady I had just edged out of the bike… touché, my friend, touché.  I was now going to take on the monster hill that was the run course of the Galena Triathlon.  I ran the first half of the hill and walked the second half, I mean there was no point.   I was going to save my energy for the rest of the run.  There were a couple of little hills thrown in during the rest of the run.  My legs were shot and screaming at me from trying to catch up to the ladies on the bike.  Once I was at the turn around point, three women blew past me…typical.  I was going to finish strong and steady.  I kept a good pace the rest of the run, even finishing with a 7:50 mile..should’ve been faster, but I’ll take it.  

I crossed the finish line and was happy that race was finally over.  

I was 2nd in my AG and 11th female OA.  If only I did not drop my chain, I strongly believe I would’ve placed first in my AG and at least somewhere between 5-10th place OA.  

Oh well, like everyone keeps telling me, “Its alright, it’s a learning experience.” Yea it might have been a learning experience, but it still really sucks that my chain dropped!!!  Ughh! I’m still steaming over it.  I’ll eventually get over it, but it wont be anytime soon!  

 

J-Hawk Early bird Triathlon 2014

Oh triathlon season, how I’ve longed for your sweet embrace.  I’ve missed the feeling of cutting through the water during the swim. I’ve yearned for the wind to caress my back as Cecelia and I fly through the bike.  I’ve ached to feel the bittersweet burn and pure exhaustion of running several miles.  The excitement of the new triathlon season can not be contained…or so I thought!  

On the morning of the J-Hawk triathlon I was debating the possibility of not racing.  The weather report was for 25mph winds, rainy skies, and a cool 42 degrees.  I was not looking forward to coming out of the water to have the FREEZING cold air nip my poor, pasty winter skin!  I urged myself out of bed and went downstairs to see my parents.  I expressed my concerns about the weather conditions in which I was going to race…My dad contemplated my worries…. the proceeded to call me a baby and told me to suck it up! Thanks dad…using this tough love, name calling as my motivation, I decided that he was right and that if other people could race, so could I.  We packed up and headed out to Whitewater, WI at 6:00am. 

Once we arrived, I registered and I found out my start time wasn’t until 11:45…WHOA!  Holy Cow…I liked the sound of that!  To bad we didn’t know my start time was going to be that late, or else we wouldn’t have gotten there at 7:30…Since I had such a late start time, we filled it with a family breakfast.

 We arrived back at the race site and I began to set up my race transitions.  Over the winter, I had purchased a beautiful set of race wheels:  Bongtrager Aeolus 7 in the front and Aeolus 9 in the rear, also known as Fast and Furious.  I was very excited to use them in a race that was not a TT.  However, this would bite me in the butt in only a few short hours.  

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Race time!  

I thought my swim went pretty well.  I felt strong and felt like I was moving through the water at a quick pace. I found out that I was not.  This years swim was slower then the previous year.  But then, last year I didn’t have to grab a towel and dry off before I headed out the door to the transition area to fend off hypothermia.  I know that this doesn’t make up for entire time difference, but I does account for some of it… at least that’s what I’m telling myself so I feel better.  

After drying off some, I ran outside to the bitter cold air to begin my transition.  I put on long pants, a jacket, and a pair of winter riding gloves.  this turned a :30 transition into a 2:30min transition.  I do not regret any of it, because I would have turned blue and miserable if I had not taken the extra time to dress like an Eskimo.

At first, the bike did not seem bad.  I was actually cruising along at a pretty good pace.  But then it happened… The safety and comfort of the trees that sheltered me from the awful wind, was thinning.  One by one they disappeared until they were totally gone.  They left me to either become a survivor of these horrible hurricane-esque wind conditions or to become a quitter.   Now this is where I realized I go through the stages of grief while competing.

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Stage 1-Denial 

This wind isn’t so bad, I can totally handle this!  There is no way I could blow over!  I’m over thinking these wind conditions.  I’ve had worse.  I am keeping this awesome pace that’s 30watts above my average! 

 

Stage 2- Anger

Are you freaking kidding me?!  Mother Nature you are one cruel, bitch mother.  I hope you crawl in a hole and die!  Who do you think you are making these wind conditions so furious?  Did someone piss you off?  I bet your date from last week never called you back. Is that it?  So your taking it out on us poor triathletes?  WTF?!?!

 

Stage 3- Bargaining

Okay, Mother Nature.  If you slow these winds down just a little bit, just a teeny tiny bit… I will recycle everything I possibly can.  I will ride my bike everywhere and only use “green” materials.  I swear it!  I just don’t want to die a painful death from crashing into the road head first.  If you can help me through this wind you have created, I promise I will be the most eco-friendly person ever! 

 

Stage 4-Depression 

I can’t believe I’m actually doing this.  I should just stop now.  What’s the point of continuing on?  I should just end this race now.  There’s no point.  Why am I even racing in the first place? Stupid, stupid, STUPID!  I’m never going to finish.  I’m going to crash and end up in a ditch on the side of the road and Cecilia will be smashed to smithereens.  Why Me!?!  Why this race?!? 

 

Stage 5- Acceptance

Well, Mother Nature, you seem to have NOT heard my request to stop the wind.  So we are in this together.  I am going to show you who’s boss. I will complete this race and make your winds look like they have no effect on me!  Besides, it’ll make me that much stronger!  So take that.  Here you thought you were going to give me a challenge that I would not be able to complete.  Well, guess what. I’m going to do it and look good doing it!   

 

That was my bike leg in the nut shell.  Praying that I did not crash took up a large portion of my motivating self talk I engage in while on my bike.  

After the bike, there was the run (as usual).  I transitioned fairly quickly, then got right into the groove of a 5k pace.  

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The J-Hawks 5k is off road and on grass or dirt for the vast majority of the run.  This is something that I’m not use to and that slows me down a bit.

At the start of the run I saw my dad and he asked how the bike was.  I told him he could have my wheels (which I renamed “Holy” and “Shit”) and that I never wanted to see them again.  

The run consisted of a few steep hills on the course, which did burn, but I got through them without a problem.  I felt really strong on this run and completed it with a 1:xx min faster pace then the previous year.  I was a happy camper with that.  My parents also stated that I look much stronger while I was running!  All the hard working I had been doing was worth it.    

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The results were in.  I placed first in my age group and third overall female.  All in all, I am glad I decided to race, didn’t quit during the bike and completed the first tri of the season.  It should be all up hill from here, right?

 

Now for my big announcement: I will be going away to Lees-McRae College in North Carolina. I was awarded a scholarship in academics and one for cycling.  The cycling team will be a great way for me to attain my Athletic Training degree and pursue my dreams of becoming a professional athlete.  I will continue to ride for ABD when I am home from school.   

   

   

4/26 Crit

Race Weekend April 26th-27th, 2014

 

The season has begun.  It has been a very busy weekend of racing.  Saturday was a crit Cat 4 and Women’s Open.  Today, Sunday, was the first Triathlon of the season.  

This past weekend I learned two things:  1. Never leave the pack and 2. I go through the five stages of grief while racing in a triathlon.  

Saturday, I had originally planned to join the team in Hillsboro.  When I found out it was a four hour drive one way, I chose to race at the Whitnall Park Spring Classic near Milwaukee.  The website said 80 feet of climbing…. they left out that EACH climb was 80 feet of climbing!  It may not seem like a big deal to some, but when the only landscape you train on are the very flat roads in DeKalb, it IS a big deal.  The plan was, as always, to stay in the pack.  

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As I am at the start line, I overhear an ABD hater talking to his girlfriend as she is getting ready to race.  He was saying how our team must not be doing any big races this year since I was there.  He complained about the shop.  He told her not to worry about me.  Well, all of this just pissed me off!  This was my drive to kick his girlfriends gluteus maximus, medius and minimus.  Now staying with the pack was just NOT going to work for me.  So up the first climb in the first lap of the first race, I decided the girls, ie ABD Hater’s girlfriend, weren’t going fast enough and I wanted to see if some of them would break away with me.  Little did I know that they were going to let me dangle in front of them by a 15 second lead for the next 6 laps.  I looked down at “computer” and thought I only had a lap to go.  So I pushed even harder trying to get more of a lead and not expecting the girls to catch me.  I reached the start line and heard, “Three laps left.”  You have got to be kidding me!  Change of plan.  The girls were slowly catching up to me.  My motivation dropped.  I was swallowed up by the pack.  I relished the relief in my legs as I drafted off the other riders.  The last quarter mile was upon us.  I squeezed through two riders in the sprint, nudging elbows and handle bars the entire time.  They almost fell over but I stayed up like a boss.  I felt like Jack Thompson.  I was making my way towards the lead.  My legs were going as fast as they could.  The last 100 meters was uphill in one gear too hard.  My legs just would  not go any faster.  I was pedaling as hard as I possibly could.  I edged a girl out half a bike length from the line to get fourth.  I was only a bike length away from first place (insert sad face or curse word of choice here)  On the bright side, ABD Hater’s girlfriend finished after me.  To sweeten the deal.  She crossed the finish line and proceeded to crash into another finisher and fractured that poor girl’s collar bone.  

Let’s try this again.  I signed up for a second race.  New plan, stay in the group.  I wanted to redeem myself and maybe win a little cash since only seven people were signed up.  At the start, 11 people show up.  What?!  The majority of the women were Cat 1/2 so I thought I may be able to get fifth.  So, I stayed with the group.  I looked for the largest woman that I could and settled myself behind her and let her do the work.  Why didn’t I do this before?  It was like an epiphany.  I could breath.  I could talk.  I could sing…if I wanted to.  So this is why I should stay in the group.  My Dad and Jim do know what they are talking about.  I guess we live and learn.  A couple of laps from the end, I was enjoying myself just a little too much and nestled in a bit too far in back.  When the front riders broke away up a hill, I wasn’t able to catch them.  There was one other girl left with me and three riders behind us.  The girl and I took turns drafting off of each other until the end of the race.  With 100 meters left, I was looking forward to a friendly competition from her to the finish line.  We started to sprint and I either blew her away or she gave out.  I am not sure which.  I ended up seventh.  No cash for me.  The moral of this story is, I will stay in the pack and save my legs until the end and always kick Haters BUTTS!

 

Stay tuned for numero dos later this week and a huge announcement.  

Copyright Katrina Mascarella 4/26/14

ABD Indoor TT #1

My first race of the 2014 season; The ABD Indoor Time Trial Series, race one. The course was a 10k rolling uphill.  I had been looking forward to this race since December.  I wanted to see if I could increase my wattage from last year.   I also wanted to increase my average mph.  

I hopped on my trainer for my half an hour warm up while I listened to my pre-race mix.  I was lucky enough to have my Mom and Jim C. across the gym facing me.  They kept me entertained with inappropriate gestures and funny faces.  Once I was completely warmed up, I took my trusty steed, Persephone, to the computrainer to be strapped in.  I was all psyched up and ready to take on this 3% grade, mountainous course…. actually it wasn’t that bad.   I planned on going hard and fast during the down hill and stand on the climb to generate more watts but conserve energy at the same time.  

The race started with a 3,2,and a 1…we were off.  I started out strong and felt really good.  I was putting out more watts than I planned on.  This was good as it would keep my average up.  I was feeling strong until the last mile.  My stomach was quickly feeling quite qualmish.  I was getting queasier by the moment.  But I was quiet about it.  I thought to myself, “I must not quit!”  Then “I thought I should have had quinoa instead of quesadillas last night.”  I was on a quest to qualify.  I needed something to quench my thirst.  Mom was nearby with a quart of water.   Now just for that 3% climb and I would be in the clear!  UGHHH Finally the race was over.  

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I dismounted Persephone and was pleased that my watts were 197.  Just 3 under my goal, Wow!  I wasn’t going to complain.  What a race.  

 

 

Once I found out my time, I was not happy with it sooo…I decided to race again.  

In my mind I thought the second race would be faster then the first race…#athleteproblems.  

Quick and Dirty Second Race Review-

Getting ready to race.

….. 3…2…1

……

Racing…..

…..

Sweating like…hmmm…..Just think of something super sweaty and put it…(Here)

….

Stilling Racing….

…….

DONE!!

As I’m sure you guessed, my second race was slower(30seconds) then my first race.  I was DYING the second race!  I unfortunately did not have a fan pointing near me so there was a small pool underneath Persephone.

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Overall, it was a good race.  Wish I could have been a little bit faster, but that is something that I will have to work towards for the 3rd race, when we repeat the course!! I had a great time seeing everyone again, what a great way to start of the race season! 

Off Season!

Hello all.

Ah, finals week.  You don’t realize how much time you spend in class each day until you have the whole day just to wait around to take the next final.  So here I am, in between finals, writing a blog post.  I know, I know it has been a while since I have given an update.  Not much to report on the racing aspect of things.  I competed in the Fall Fling, dominated in the women’s cat 4…and beat all master’s women, even beat the masters men I was racing with on the second Sunday!  Sorry guys!  I also did the Dole Duathlon, finished 3rd overall female, with the fastest women’s bike.  By far, my FAVORITE prize…I won a bottle of Champagne.  

 Oh!!!  I also completed my first cyclocross race!  HOLY COW, that was a lot harder then I thought it was going to be!  I really would have liked to have done more, but life gets in the way.  More like school gets in the way…anatomy in particular.  

 

Since my last race, I really settled into taking down time from training.  I did what every good athlete should do in the off season…EAT LOTS AND LOTS OF DESSERTS!!!  Five pounds worth, to be precise.  Now that my off season is winding down, it’s time to get serious about training again!

 

Looking back at my season, there were some things that were definitely memorable.  Here are my top 5 memorable moments from this pass season. 

 

5) Breaking into crit racing, and doing pretty well I might add! 

 

4) Being awarded MATTS Female Newcomer of the Year 

 

3) Qualifying for World’s 2014 in Edmonton, Canada

 

2) Meeting Christy Wellington when I crossed the finish line at Nationals, as she put my medal around my neck and kissed my cheek.

 

1) Winning Overall Female at Tri the Illini!

 

 

    

Thank you everyone, for your advice, support and encouragement.  I really appreciate and take to heart all the words of wisdom and apply it to my racing.  I wish all of you a very happy holiday season and, I am going to say it…..MERRY CHRISTMAS!  

See you in January at the ABD Time Trial Series.

 

Katrina the Beast

p.s. Try to stick to the elves four main food groups, candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup! 

Tri the Illini

Tri the Illini

Champaign, IL

September 22, 2013

 

My last tri of the season.  My last chance to meet my goal of winning first place overall female age group.  For this race, I set my goals as 4:00 swim, 40:00 bike and 23:00 run.  When I told my dad my projected run time, he laughed and said, “Ok”.   I don’t blame him.  My best run for a 5k is 25xx, so to shave off two minutes is asking a lot.  I knew it was stretching it but I was determined to win.  

 

Me and the “fam” headed down to Champaign on Saturday afternoon.  We stopped for a carbo loaded dinner at Olive Garden then checked in to the hotel.  As I readied myself for my bedtime routine, I found a pair of neon pink girls size 5T shorts behind a chair in the hotel room.  I decided to try them on.  To my surprise, they fit!  What happens next, I am not proud of but I can’t pretend I did not have fun.  Yes, it was a “Trina in Tiny Pink Shorts” photo shoot.  

 

With that behind me, I settle into bed while Mom, Dad and Krystal run to Target to grab sweatshirts.  It was going to be a chilly morning and all of their jackets were left at home.  

 

I wake up refreshed with my new shorter sleep time.  I am ready to kick booty and take home the gold… or glass mug that they give out at the Tri the Illini.  I was originally signed up for the colligate category, but after a disappointing falling out with my Tri Team, I was able to switch to age group at the last minute thankfully.

  It was super chilly when we packed up the van to drive to the race site.  Not the typical summer morning warmth I have been use to.  Luckily, I remembered pants and a jacket, unlike my family!  I check in and get #40.  After I get settled in to transition, I jump on Cecilia for a warm up ride.  HOLY first crisp day of autumn!  When I finished my ride my hands were shaking they were so cold.   I grab my Mom’s gloves(the one warm thing she remembered) and throw them into my transition box in case it is still chilly for the bike.  Thanks Mom!  We head to the pool deck for the pre race meeting and to check out the water.  I find my two friends, Wyatt and Matt.  They are fast fellow triathletes that are fast.  Did I mention they were fast?  Shout out to Wyatt for sharing his king of fastitude tips with me.  It has really helped.  

 

It turns out they have numbers 38 and 42.  Is it destiny?  We are separated by six seconds for the staggered swim start.  We hang out together and get pumped up for the race right up until the last second.  Now that is what a team does! (My new team)  It’s my turn.  I jump in for the swim.  My plan is to keep Matt at my feet and not let him pass.   I keep strong through the swim.  Matt doesn’t pass me during the swim, but he does pass me while we run to the transition.    

 

I am speedy fast through transition, and beat Matt to the bike out line.  However, he passed me a mile into the ride.  As I am cruising along, I see Wyatt jumping back on to his bike…did he crash?  He passed me, then I passed him and told him to stay strong!  I felt amazing on the bike…I was really surprised my legs weren’t sore from my domination at the crit the day before!  Maybe a crit right before a race is a good leg opener? I see the bike dismount line and get out of my shoes.  I see my dad and shout, “How many in front of me?”  He told me I was the first girl in on the bike.  AHHH!  Maybe I will be able to keep first overall female.  

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I head out on the run and I am still feeling fresh.  This is the best I have felt coming off the bike.  I am associating it with all my pent up anger and determination.  Wyatt passed me again on the run and told me to, “Pick it up, your not going to win going that slow!” …. He meant it with love…I’m sure of it!  I picked up my pace even more.  I was running 7:36 miles!  I’ve only run that fast in training before.  And I still was energized…until I hit around 2.5mi, that running pace was catching up with me.  I was so close to the finish I couldn’t stop now. My dad found me on the run and told me to keep up the pace.

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I finally see the finish line!!  I ran my 23:xx 5k!!  NO CRAMPING!  NO SHIN PAIN!  I was in shock.  I have been waiting for 2 years for this to happen.  And you know what?   It finally did!** I was also the first female age grouper to cross the finish line…but this didn’t mean much with the staggered swim start.  I waited and waited and waited to see if another female would be faster then me.  To pass the time I waited in line to get a quick message, ahhh did that make my legs feel ten times better!  Okay, I think enough time has passed to see if I am still first overall female….waiting….waiting…waiting..

 

OMG!! Holy @#$#!!  I did it.  I was FIRST OVERALL AG FEMALE.  My goals for the summer were complete.  My bike was fastest overall female too!  Tri the Illini was my best race this summer I would have to say.  

 

Looking at my averages for the race, they are right where I want them to be.  All those TT’s have really paid off this summer to get my bike to where it needed to be.  Also, all the running I have been doing with all the strength, stretching, hip openers, and a few track practice I’ve done have gotten me right to where I wanted my run. 

Copyright Katrina Mascarella 10/5/13

  

Fall Fling race #1

Fall Fling ABD

September 21, 2013

The night before my second crit ever, I went camping.  I only had about six hours of sleep.  I thought this would cause problems, but as it turns out, less sleep seems to do me good.   The Fall Fling Criterium was held at Pella Windows in West Chicago and sponsored by ABD.  I was excited that this race was at Pella since I have participated in many crits and am familiar with the course.  Once I arrived at Pella, I readied Persephone (my road bike and the Goddess of the Underworld).  *Fun fact: Hades kidnapped Persephone from her mother, Demeter  Goddess of Agriculture.  In her sorrow, Demeter created winter.  When Persephone returned, it became spring.   I went to registration to check in with Krystal and get a grip on my competition.  There were a good amount of women racing but only four others in my cat 5 group.  I tracked down my fellow team mate and friend, Jim Cannella, aka Opera Man and owner of Orange Heating and Cooling.  We discussed strategy as he is an experienced crit rider.  The plan was not to pull but to stay with the break away if they took off.  Right before the race, I was at the start line.  Jim came up and gave me additional instructions, “If the women aren’t going hard enough and you feel good, take off but get far away from the group so they can’t ride your wheel.”  A quick “Shake and Bake” with my mom and the whistle blew.  

We were off.  I was feeling strong.  Before the first lap was over, I thought the women were going too slow.  I decided to pull away.  Two other women followed.  One of them said, “Let’s work together, take turns pulling and stay ahead of the group.”  I said, “Sure, Ill take this stretch.”  I took off.  They didn’t.  Did I miss something??  So that’s how it went for the next two laps.  I was in front.  The women caught up with me.  I decided to sit in and recover for a bit.  After a few laps of crawling, I thought my “coach” Jim said, “Break away.”  What he really said was, “If you break away, go strong.”  As soon as I heard what I thought he said, I went balls to the walls and wasn’t going to let anyone catch me.  I broke pretty far away from the pack.  When I passed the lap counters, they said there were three laps to go.  On the next pass the said again, three laps to go!!  Are you kidding me?!  I was told the look on my face was priceless when I heard that!  I had to keep these girls off me for three more laps?  I could do it!  I pushed myself for the rest of the race.  I ended up finishing first with the second place women coming in about a quarter mile behind me.  Having the female win was awesome!  What a great feeling!  I wanted to feel this way again so I made it my goal to be overall woman at my triathlon the next day. 

Copyright Katrina Mascarella 10/3/13