Ok, I don’t want to keep anyone waiting, so I figure I’ll post up a quick report then get some photos/details up sometime tomorrow :D
Saturday’s “warmup” race was awesome. Even at “just” 40 minutes + 1 lap, it was still tough (average speed 25.6 mph). I FINALLY feel good about being able to move up/hold position in the pack. I was able to hold on to 25th out of 75 starters. Not bad, considering the company was a good bit tougher than the last big races I went to in Tulsa. Oh yeah- one of the ladies that beat me was Lauren Edwards from Probike… she was 18th. In her first big crit. Ever. I predict that by next year’s race, she’s gonna be giving the pro ladies a run for their money.
Sunday was not quite so awesome. The race distance was 50K, and from the gun, went off faster than Saturday’s race (26.5 mph). The primes were big (some $100+ ones as well as a $500 mid-race leader award), which kept the field attacking up the long, uphill, headwind grade of the start/finish stretch. I was doing OK for the first few laps, but tired legs and a hard pace caused me to slip back little by little. By the time the mid-race prime came about, I was dangling off the back. It was that surge that took me (and Lauren) out. DAMNIT!!!!
I was pretty disappointed, but I’m not beating myself up over this one. Saturday I proved to myself that I can handle the pack. Both days proved to me that I just need to train hard and work my butt off so that I can put the pack handling skills to good use.
A few other random thought/highlights:
-Laura Van Gilder is just as intimidating in person as she looks like she would be in photos. The only thing that makes it OK is that I’m taller than her. We were lined up next to each other before one of the races, and I had an almost uncontrollable urge to squeeze her bicep.
-Even though Tina Pic didn’t win, I still think she’s more awesome than most women I’ve raced against.
– I had the chance to talk to Nikki Wangsgard about her partial sleeve (tattoo) that she keeps covered in races. Turns out I was right- the cover is for sun and road rash protection. It has nothing to do with sponsor obligations. (Yay for cool sponsors!!!!)
– While the pro men were lining up to race, I spotted Sergio Hernandez stretching with his foot up on his handlebars while one of his teammates jokingly poked him in the calf. I had to get in on the action, so I went over to the barrier and gave his calf a squeeze as well. It was nice.
– I’ll be back next year for more fun.