What a tiring morning, but it was worth it. For the Red Kite trip my dad wanted to tag along. After a wonderful dinner with my family at my favorite restaurant, Yama Sushi, and feasting on the leftover cake my mom brought back from work (her co-workers must not appreciate German marble cake as much as I do), I fell asleep on the couch while watching The Adventures of Tintin with mi familia. The alarm jolted me awake at 4:30am (with the time change we lost an hour of sleep so it was 3:30am…yuck!), had 2 cups of coffee, for me it was much too early for breakfast, I made the couch, packed some snacks for the 2 hr ride, and my dad and I were out the door by 5am. It’s funny how people have started relying on their GPS on car rides. As we were driving past Marina our TomTom said it had lost signal and was useless for at least 10 minutes. Good thing we knew where we were going, plus I had planned ahead and printed off directions.

We arrived in Livermore with 30 minutes left until the start of my race. 20 racers had pre-registered and 3 were day-of-registrees. I had a bit of a panic moment when I pulled my front wheel out of the trunk of the car–the tire was completely flat. Weird, I had just pumped it up the day before and the valve was closed. Since I have problems using my pump on my old tubes (the valves are now too short with the new wheels on the FUJI), I asked around if someone has a spare tube with a longer valve. This guy gave me his in exchange for one of my tubes. Good thing people are nice and willing to lend others a hand.

Courtesy of Katie Truong
Courtesy of Katie Truong

The race got off to a good start. I positioned myself right in the front group but never worked more than to catch up to others who attacked or to get good positioning out of a turn. Six laps in and I noticed my tire pressure had changed in the front wheel. Going into the turn before the finishline I signaled that I had a flat and came to a stop. With no spare wheels ready, the course marshall asked around if anybody else was willing to lend me a wheel to complete the race. A man offered me his daughter’s and I got right back into the race. The mentors weren’t too thrilled as I merged back into the field right at the front, but hey, I had turned my head to ask what I was supposed to do and no one gave me any feedback (so, I chose to get back right where I had dropped out from). Mei and Galina, two girls I had raced with at the Early Bird Training Series, were great team mates during this race. We worked together a lot and warned each other whenever there were attacks. I communicated quite a bit and after the race Galina pointed out how helpful that was for her.

I guess there were priemes during the race, but I had no idea what that meant so I missed out! I kept hearing the cowbell go off and the guys at the start/finish yelled something but I couldn’t make out the words. Oh well, next time I’ll no better and work a bit harder during those laps. The last lap wasn’t much faster than the others. I was in the front entering the final turn and got out of the saddle to start the sprint…but there really wasn’t enough road to get to top speed for me. I crossed the finish line at the same time as this other girl. I assumed that she beat me by a hair so when a course official came up to us to ask about the finish, I now wish I had just kept my mouth shut. I said the other girl probably won, but who knows if he was just asking out of his own curiosity or if what I said ended up being the official determiner of the placing for 1st and 2nd. Oh well, turns out that the wheel I used was the same girl’s so no matter the placing, I’m grateful for her wheel. The girl (from San Jose) placed first, I got 2nd, my friend MeiSin (Wheel Talk Cycling) got 3rd.

The Red Kite Omnium Cat 4 podium
The Red Kite Omnium Cat 4 podium
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