The Women’s 3-4 race was slow. The gusty winds slowed the pace and nobody was willing to pick up the tempo. The only major drop occurred during one of the early climbs as a result of Kristie’s perky pace, which broke the field in half.
Riders put in an all-out effort on the climbs only to settle back into a leisurely pace at the top. Knowing an attack would happen during a climb, Kristie and I both rode at the front of these efforts. The attack eventually occurred at Herrington Hill, when a group of six finally turned the screws. I went with the attack and hopped on the wheel in front of me. I learned later this is about where Kristie unfortunately dropped her chain, causing her to miss the attack.
After about five miles with the break I realized I didn’t have the engine to stay on. I felt good though, so I backed off just enough to make sure I didn’t pop while working hard enough to stay away from the chase group. At the base of Stage, a spectator yelled to me that I was 7th. Got up over Stage and got into the vibe of riding alone.
I saw the 5k mark and then the 4k mark. Soon, I saw the 3k mark and thought I had 7th in the bag. After the 2k mark, though, two girls caught me. We rode in together and the three of us got about the same time, with me in 9th.
I knew I hadn’t trained enough to podium, but thanks to Joe’s Greenville camp and Battenkill training ride a few weeks ago I figured I had a top ten in me so I am happy.
What I can improve: I need to work on my ability to think faster when my plan A doesn’t work. The girls who caught me didn’t attack me. They slowed to let me ride in with them. I was focusing on feeling defeated by being caught instead of sensing how tired they were and giving it all I had.
This was one of my first races where I made contact with other racers … we rode four or five wide for much of the paved sections. I had been worried about wheels, elbows and handlebars but visualized it and imagined a strategy. When it happened I stayed smooth, calm and relaxed.
This was an incredible weekend and I echo all the sentiments about Kristie’s accommodations, Bill’s win and the super supportive awesomeness of everyone.