I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful night to race than Saturday. It was sunny, low 80s and one of my favorite courses. It's a figure 8 course with some tight turns and narrow streets on the backside. They also offer a sweet purse so it attracts a ton of people. Plus the town did a great job of promoting the race with a course side pub crawl, so the streets were packed with spectators. The icing on the cake was this is the first race all season my kids have been there. ;-)
A piece I realized during this race is that often I am unaware of what is going on behind me in a larger field. I didn't realize we had dropped some ladies until we started to lap them. I work hard to be positioned at the front so I don't fall victim to crashes, etc happening in front of me, but often I don't know who is left. That bothers me somewhat, but when I mentioned it to Coach his comment was the race is front of you unless you're on a flyer or lapping the field. Point taken!
I warmed up on one of the local bike trails. I did a few hard efforts to get my heart rate up and rolled back up to the course. They were a bit behind because of a nasty crash that had happened a few races before, but they were making up time during the kids races. I got to do two laps on the course and get good luck kisses before rolling to the line. We had 23 ladies in our field -- some very strong and a few very new Cat 4s. The whistle blew and we were off. The first lap was calm, everyone feeling each other out. We rolled through start/finish to the sound of a prime bell. My legs felt good, so I was considering going for it. I was in a decent position up front after turn six, but Britta just took off. She got a great jump on the field and while a few ladies gave chase, there was no catching her. We came back together and went around again for another prime. I'm not sure who took that one, but it was not a gimme. Around lap six or so I had another rider come into me right before turn three. My back wheel slid a bit and I was definitely uneasy for a few laps. I felt myself migrating to the back and then having to fight to catch back on after turn five. I had a good minute of self-talk/lecturing about trusting my handling equipment and knowing that I needed to be sitting no further than fifth wheel. I moved back up and got myself refocused. I looked at the lap cards and outwardly groaned when I saw we still had 25 laps to go. This race was going to wear me out! We got two more primes around laps 10 and 12. By this time there were ladies contesting them hot and heavy. Jamie launched a nice attack after Emilie won one of them. Carrie led the chase and I went up and took over for her to jump on Jamie's wheel. We settled back in and the laps counted down. Another prime with 12 laps to go, and I knew I didn't have the legs to fight for it. My goal was to race smart and to be there for the finish. The race was filled with attacks and speed, but nothing was able to stick. I got to hear "go Mommy" every time I hit the backside of the course.
We got the bell lap and the real race was on. There was lots of posturing as we entered the chicane. I got aggressive and went for the wheel of the lady sitting third, much to the chagrin of another racer who was going after the same wheel. She yelled me a bit and holding a line. I just yelled back sorry and she kept ranting. We came around turn five and I saw Jamie signal Emilie -- she was giving her a lead out. Try as I might to jump on Emilie's wheel to take advantage of the free ride, I couldn't do it. Britta jumped after turn six again and it was one. Carrie and Emilie chased, with Ashley and Trisha getting up there as well. I managed to stay up front with them and sprint against Jamie to take 6th at the line. Carrie won -- fitting as it was her birthday.
|In line with some strong ladies. *Photo credit: Dennis Fickinger|
|Where's my smile??? I look mad and mean. *Photo credit: Dennis Fickinger|