My quest for the TBRA BAR Points award has brought me to what has to be Tennessee’s hub of bad Karma. Until relatively recently, Oak Ridge “didn’t exist”(think Area 51, but instead of studying aliens, they make nukes). This city is just weird. Apparently, a good portion of the older buildings don’t have addresses (the city didn’t exist a while back, remember?)
Anyways- this is how the race went-
Luckily, the distance of the TT was reduced from 14 to 8 miles. The shortened race allowed me to use Ryan’s disk wheel, which was nice on the somewhat flat course. I felt good during the race and ended up rolling a 19:29, which got me a win (pretty awesome considering that more than 30 seconds back, 2nd place was Rebecca Larson- Aaron’s pro rider who has kicked my butt pretty handily in previous TTs).
The road race was tough. We made two laps (45 miles) around a course that included two 200ft+ climbs, numerous smaller leg-burners, and winds from every direction but tail. The first lap was somewhat uneventful. We set a quick tempo and saved the attacks for lap 2. During the 2nd lap, there were some nice attacks, but nothing stuck (including my two attempts). After clearing the worst of the on-course hills & attacks, we once again started a rotating paceline for the final 10 or so miles. When it came time to sprint, I managed to react quickly to Rebecca’s go to the line. However, my effort wasn’t enough to catch her (honestly- she’s a fabulous sprinter… I don’t have too much of a chance in a short, head-to-head matchup like today). I really wanted to attack early for the finish to try to avoid that very situation, but the approach to the finish wasn’t marked, and the race bible’s description of the finish location was unclear, so Ryan and I couldn’t locate it on our earlier pre-drive. Nevertheless, I still held off the remainder of the small pack for 2nd place.
…didn’t go off until 6:50 in the afternoon. I’m not going to complain too much, though, because the promoter did give the women a kickass payout, so he can have us race whatever time of the day he wants.
Since only 5 of us showed up, the official asked us at the line if we minded shortening our race. Everyone agreed that 30 minutes would be fine, so off we went. There were some early attacks and break attempts, but everything ended up staying together for the duration of the race. I ended up staying on the front for most of the race. I’m not sure what the strategy of the other racers was in leaving me up there, because I swore I’d either rest behind them, or rest up front going 17 mph… which I did half the time I was there.
…more on that later, though. Fast forward to the last lap of the race. I had it in my head about where I’d launch for the finish when all of a sudden, Shalini Zabaneh, who (no offense to her) hadn’t been very aggressive in previous races, made a surprise attack for the line from well before turn 3 of 4 (Hey- That’s my move!!!) Luckily, I was listening for early attacks from behind and was able to jump, though it wasn’t quite fast enough to grab her wheel (unfortunately, Rebecca Larson was able to grab on from her spot near the back of the line). Rebecca ended up sprinting around Shalini in the straightaway, leaving her in 2nd, and me in 3rd. I’m just glad I was able to hold off the pack and keep that spot. From where I was in the straightaway, I was cheering Shalini on in my head in hopes that she’d pull out an upset victory (although I think she was still really happy with 2nd).
I held on to 2nd in the omnium, and, because of an awesome race promoter giving the P 1/2/3 women a respectable purse, this ended up being the most profitable race of the season for me. One more before the official start of the off season!