This was my first crit race so I didn’t know what to expect or how it was going to go. I had trained for it with my coach and husband but nerves are something you can never really train for. My goal was to not get dropped, not crash and learn as much as I could. Samantha, Phoebe and I carpooled and discussed how we could set Sam up for the win. Phoebe also gave me the 411 on some of the other riders (who’s really strong, a good wheel, sprinter, etc.) which was great. Our plan was to keep Sam at the front of the pack and be ready to respond to any attacks and lead her out for a sprint finish.
The field was very small (9 riders) and the pace very slow. The one piece of advice my coach hammered into my head was to “STAY OFF THE FRONT” as I am very impatient and have the tendency to pull way too long. I heeded this advice until I saw Sam on the front and wanted to give her a wheel so found myself on the front or off to the side, in the wind a lot. Despite the pace, it was a strong group of smart and talented riders so things got interesting and “intense” on the last lap with everyone trying to position themselves for the sprint finish. With about 400m to go, I made sure I was second wheel and made sure Sam was behind me. At ~200m to go I looked over my shoulder to make sure Sam was still there as I was going to pull off and let her go for the sprint finish but no longer saw her and decided last minute to just “go for it” myself and came in second behind a very strong and talented 14 y/o. I was very happy with my result and the ride but bummed that our plan to lead Sam out fell apart.
We debriefed with my husband after the race and on the way home and agreed that we need to work on communication skills during the race and practice working together as a team to maximize our potential especially since the three of us made up a third of the field. Personally, I also need to learn how to work with the field and pacelining. Specifically, taking shorter pulls and slowing up when pulling off to allow the group to pull through. My biggest fear is that I won’t be able to get back on and/or that I’ll be stuck at the back of the pack and won’t be able to advance to the front third where my coach tells me I should try and be at all times. Overall an amazing first crit experience with awesome riders and a great team!