qcw cycling women

Stevens Duck Country Weekend

Road Race

This was my first race since last year’s Philly Phlyer, so I was excited to see where I’d stack up after a little over 1 year of riding. A women’s D field was added this year, so I decided enter that field and go from there.

The first ½ mile of the 19 mile race  (3 laps) involved a lot of shuffling. I decided to follow a girl from BU up the first big hill and was able to spin pretty easily since she seemed to be in too big a gear.  BU seemed perfectly content pulling, so I was happy to sit second wheel behind her and do very little as she pulled me for a couple miles.

Middle of the lap 2, we got back to the same hill, and the pace was slow going up. I again stayed behind BU and heard a lot of huffing and puffing behind me. Although I was planning to hit it at the start of lap 3, I got jumpy and worried that people would get too well rested because no one was really pushing the pace, and because the group seemed too buddy-buddy. At that point, I decided to pull alongside of BU, pop into my big ring, and pull away as the hill flatted out.

Almost everyone except BU was still climbing, so when I looked back a few seconds later, the gap had increased significantly, and no one was following. I decided to keep going and after that, rode solo for the last lap and a half; didn’t see any of the D riders until after the race.

I actually thought I was closer to the end of lap 2 than I was when I attacked, but it turned out that I still had 10 miles to go (1.5 laps). I probably shouldn’t have pushed it too hard since I would have a race the next day, but I was really paranoid about blowing the lead and someone catching up. Didn’t realize that the field blew apart after I pulled off—things got so strung out that almost no one rode together. Ended up finishing a minute ahead of the second rider, and getting my first W! Definitely an exciting moment.

Things I didn’t do well:

  1. Mashed away at the end when I probably could have conserved energy for the next day
  2. Probably jumped a little early

Things I did well:

  1. Conserved energy for the first half of the race
  2. Attacked when it hurt

Circuit Race

For this race, I asked to race C’s but the official said I couldn’t until the next weekend. Even so, the women’s C and D fields ended up starting at the same time/racing together.

The race got delayed because there was a girl injured on the course (hope she is okay). The fields ended up standing for about 30+ minutes at the start which was a bummer.

The race was 6 laps (1.6 mile loops) and started with a neutral lap. My strategy was to stick with the C’s, because I figured I could win D’s that way, but also figure out how I would fare in C’s.

In a nutshell, this race was about me frantically chasing after wheels. When the neutral lap ended, the pace increased a ton, and people started dropping off. A D rider shot out in front of everyone, but as I expected, fell back quickly. I tried to pick a wheel and keep up with the front because things were stringing-out.

Girls from Queens and Boston went off the front about halfway through, so 5 of us (MIT, Columbia, Yale, Queens me) started working together and taking pulls to catch BU, who had lost Queens. In the end, BU was clearly dying but somehow managed to stay ahead of us for 3 full laps. I was impressed by her tenacity.

Beginning of the last lap, Dartmouth joined our group of 4, and people started riding 2 abreast and trying to pull ahead of each other. We turned the corner, and went off sprinting. I don’t think I positioned myself right for this. I was behind most of them, and started sprinting after they’d started, which was a mistake.

I zoomed through the finish, only to find Dartmouth braking hard in front of me. I slammed into her (though she didn’t go down), and went down hard. Apparently a girl in front of Dartmouth had braked, leading her to brake. Fortunately just road rash—could have been worse.

Ended up winning D’s by a minute 20, and placing 6/22 in C’s, finishing within ~1 second of places 2-5 which was exciting.

Things that did not go well:

  1. Timing and positioning in sprint
  2. Going around corners…instinct was to brake which yes, I know is very sketch
  3. Even if I feel over-heated warming up, I should factor in wind when deciding what to wear for the race
  4. Even though I was on the receiving end, I learned that it is not okay to just brake and stop after a sprint

Things that went well:

  1. Was able to catch wheels and stay in the front 1/4 of the race
  2. Was able to hang with the C’s. Yay.

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