On Saturday, two QCW women’s squads competed in the Philly Phlyer Team Time Trial. To prepare for this race, our eight racers worked on the following: getting to know new teammates, pacelining, mid-race communication, and how to make a U-turn around a little orange cone when your lungs are on fire. The morning of the race, our teammate Carren, who had come down from NJ the night before, made a yummy gluten-free breakfast. I think it was some concoction of polenta and almonds, but I’ll just call it Watt Cereal, because I was feeling pretty fast when we arrived at the race. The team warmed up near the course and even practiced pacelining while simultaneously pinning on race numbers.
Each team of four riders went off in 30-second intervals. I was racing with Sophia, Lauren, and Kristie. Luckily Sophia and Lauren were leading on the descent, because they were like ninjas of pothole avoidance. It challenged me to hang on during the fast descent, but we made it to the bottom smoothly and safely. Since the finishing time is taken from the second rider of each team, we had strategically planned for two riders to save some gas for the final hill, while two others would push themselves to the limit before the finish. Sophia and Lauren pulled hard in the wind, eventually leaving me and Kristie to begin the home stretch. My legs were starting to burn, and Kristie yelled something like “blarrgh,” which was our strategically rehearsed mid-race communication meaning “why yes, I am also tired.” The final hill arrived, and after I had planned to climb this in the big ring, my exhausted brain was like, “what’s a big ring?” and we both slogged our way up in an easy gear. With the finish in sight, the Watt Cereal kicked in, and we sprinted over the line. The other team of Annie, Brittany, Carren, and Hayley finished strong, having capitalized on their combination of triathlon endurance and strong climbers. QCW took the second- and fifth-fastest women’s times of the day. Pretty sweet. Speaking of sweet, having completely blown ourselves up in the race, we had two obvious options: more mileage, or Federal Donuts. Kristie immediately rolled out with the men for a 70-mile training ride, while the rest of us refueled at Federal before doing a recovery spin in the suburbs. Satisfaction was attained by all.