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Lauren and I decided to do this road race last week, despite not being from NJ. We were super excited to have an unusual 11am start time which allowed us to sleep in compared to the men’s 7:45 start time. The course was nice, the weather was beautiful, and I had a chance to race my new bike for the first time.  Most importantly though, I was happy about the uphill finish. The race was two loops and 35 miles total, so relatively short. We had 35, 45, and 55 plus in the race and riders from PA, NJ, and NY.  With only two of us there, my plan was really just to conserve and try to out sprint people at the end.

The race started out at a nice pace and there were multiple attacks on the first lap from CRCA women and some others but nothing that looked like a threat and I didn’t chase anything down. They were all brought back by the field. I hung out mid pack and Lauren was racing really strong and had great positioning.

At the end of the first lap there was another attack by CAWES and CRCA that looked more serious. It started pulling farther away and that is when I realized that not only were CRCA women blocking, but so was a rider from another team that I knew was strong. As the distance kept increasing, I knew then that there probably wasn’t anyone else that either could, or would chase it down and I was going to have to do it myself. Despite not being part of my race plan, I was not content racing for third.

Since this part of the course was relatively flat, I knew it would be hard not to just drag everyone with me. I launched an attack from behind, but still brought some riders with me.  On each roller I also picked up the pace and slowly riders were getting dropped. I finally caught the break of two a little over half way through the second lap and unfortunately I brought five riders with me.

Back to my original plan, the rest of the way I sat on the back recovering and waited for the finish, hoping I still had enough in me for a good sprint. I went for the sprint early on the hill when it looked like riders were already starting to fade, and I was able to hold everyone off for the win.

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One thought on “NJ Masters State Road Race Championship – by Kristie Nichols James

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