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samantha podium

Short:

TT: 1st of 21

Crit: 2nd of of 21

Road race: 2nd of 21

GC: 1st of 21

Long: Saturday morning: Nerves nerves nerves, install TT bars, find race wheels, seal tire, find registration, warm up?—no time to warm up! Jump up to the start ramp and go. My goal on the TT was to go 110% and pass people. At almost 4 miles in, my front tire started spewing tire sealant all over me. I thought for sure I was flatting, but kept going and sure enough, that stuff if magical –the tire sealed itself! The second half was mentally challenging, but I said the famous line, “shut up legs” and kept my eye on the goal: the rider in front of me and the finish line.

I feared that I could have gone too hard on the TT, but my teammates took care of me—making sure I ate and rehydrated. Went back to the house and rested—that was the best thing to do.

The crit that afternoon was a bit sketchy—crashes and a fair amount of random braking. My goal was to stay off the front and follow Eden out on the final lap. I would have stuck to this except that one rider went off the front and no one chased her, so after losing my patience, I did. In retrospect, this being a stage race and all, she didn’t matter because she had not done well in the TT, but we caught her, so I was happy. Eden is a smart, strong rider and although I knew she was tired, I could rely on her to be where she needed to be, and on the final lap she was leading up to the front, and I was right on her wheel. With her superb sprinting abilities, we would have pulled for 1st and 2nd if it hadn’t been for her unfortunate collision. It was unlucky, but because we were set up, I was able to sprint to the finish and take 2nd for the crit.

Now the pressure was really on for the next day’s road race. Good food and company calmed my nerves and I was off to bed at a decent time. Darco gave a great talk explaining to me that my goal was to watch the cyclists holding the number 2 and 3 positions in the GC. During the road race, my teammates took pulls and kept me off the front. I was able to implement what I had learned from the crit, and did not follow a sprint made by a nonthreatening opponent and instead waited for my competitors to take action and hop on their wheels (I was proud of that). Leading to the first big hill in the 2nd lap, Eden knew there was going to be a break and helped me get to the front of the pack as I had fallen back a bit. And there was in fact a break made by number 3. I followed her as best as I could, but no one else was chasing her. I waited to see if anyone would follow, but after no one did, I took off after her. It took me a little to reach her—mentally tough, but I wanted her wheel soooo badly. No one followed me and we were able to work together for the rest of the race. When I was tired, all I could think about was the fact that I loved my teammates who were probably back there slowing down the pack. Fear of losing this position and knowing I probably wouldn’t have much for the sprint forced me to stay strong and push on, but I did wonder when the heck the finish line was coming. When I reached the long descent, I knew the finish was close. At this point, number 3 wasn’t getting off my back wheel, but I felt I was strong enough to beat her in a sprint anyway (although I would like to know how to looe someone off your wheel for the future). I chugged along in the final sprint and my right cleat clipped out (cursing myself for not taking proper care of my equipment)! Although it was embarrassing and received some good heckling afterward, it wasn’t detrimental to the GC and I still ended in 2nd place for the road race with the fewest overall points.

In the end, the weekend was a blast. The road race was a competitive cat 4 race with competition for wheels and some good passion for intensity, which is what I like to see. I was so proud of all my teammates and realized how far teamwork can take us. Rock on QCW!

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