Anna Milkowski’s 2004 Race Diary
Diary Entries – April 25, 2004 – Gila Monsters to Beethoven
Though my time since Redlands has not been the most exciting, it has been three full weeks, so here’s the rundown:
Superior RR, April 4
The Saturday after Redlands, I did a 64-mile road race in Superior, Arizona, a town about two hours north of Tucson and an hour east of Phoenix with an Old West main street. Later that weekend I learned from a friend-of-a-friend who works as a drug counselor that the town hasn’t been doing too well ever since the local copper mine (for pennies) shut down. I intended to take it easy and perhaps put in a few decisive efforts, but our team director had different plans. Genevieve and I were off the front within a mile of the race start, director Andre in the car behind us. I could tell my legs were not just sleeping, they were still wasted, but off we went. The course was an out-and-back on a single road, with a ferocious cross-headwind going out. The entire race was super hard, my legs feeling horrendous, my pedaling a regression in the “maintain form when shattered” quest, my knowing this effort was absolutely not what I needed in my training, and my dearly wanting to do well. In the end, Genevieve let me win. It was a bizzare experience: awesome in the sense of choosing an ambitious plan and executing it, strange in doing a bike race with a constant feedback more akin to a rowing practice, cool to have dug very deep, weird to be given a win, disappointing to have ridden so roughly.
After Superior I took another week of rest. It would have been better for the mind if I had just planned it as rest. Instead I would head out each day and bail on my workouts. It got a bit discouraging. My cycling-centric Tucson existence proved a bit of a drag when pedaling was not going too well. I started to long for the abundant alternate projects that can draw my attention while at home and allow me to be productive in non-cycling realms. I did finally check out the 18th-century mission after which a common cycling road is named and visit the excellent botanical garden/zoo known as the Tucson Desert Museum.
Bicycle Ranch TT, April 10
I figured a 20k time trial north of Phoenix would jolt me back into action. I rode well as far as gauging my effort and pedaling well, I just didn’t have a lot of horsepower. I finished second, with Phoenix racer Heather Woodhouse taking the win.
In spite of the lackluster time trial, I felt I was on my way out of the trench of exhaustion.
Colossal Cave RR, April 18
This 55-miler took place on the southeastern side of Tucson, with 6 loops of a 9-mile course that included a long false flat and the big-ring Pistol Hill. I put in a hard attack up the hill and was followed by Rebecca Cooke (a New England star when I was getting started), then we got caught. After a few more attacks, I began to wonder whether I’d be able to get away, given the strength of the five or six-member Landis-Trek-VW team. Fellow New Englander Nicki put in a hard attack which I countered, with Rebecca on my wheel. The two of us road three laps together, then I attacked on the hill and rode the last lap on my own. I was glad to finally have my legs back.
Yesterday I did the Shootout, Tucson’s big Saturday ride. With all the big guns away at Georgia and Bisbee, the ride started out downright tamely. I brashly attacked a few times and was soon shot out the back.
Now I am off to a Beethoven concert some friends are singing in.
photos by Jonathan McElvery, Jack Milton, and BikeReg.com
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