As hectic as my life feels right now, teaching full-time, training, and travelling to races every weekend to race with some of the top women in the country, I wouldn't trade cycling and all that goes with it for the world. I had a great time racing Captech/CSC/PA Triple Crown #1 this weekend, and got to share it all with the one I love. I met some great people down in Richmond. The Nature's Path guys have lots of friends down there in their hometown, and I shared in supporting their team and heard so many of them shout for me.
I was amped for Captech. The course is sick. Not a true crit course, really, the hill is much too long. Turn a corner and go up. Turn another corner and go up for a block. Turn another corner, and keep going up! When you finally hit the screaming descent, it's bumpy and has four 90-degree corners leading you back to the straightaway. I thought I would be afraid of the course, but I totally loved it.
Big screen tv displayed real-time action shots from on-course motorcycles by the rewiewing stand where Bob Roll and another announcer called the shots. They even played the National Anthem while we were staged, which I've only experienced one other time in women's racing, giving the butterflies in my stomach extra flight time.
I had some bad luck in the race due to my rear Mavic hub. It was apparently so gummed up from all the crappy weather NE racing, that when I hit the descent on the second lap, it continued spinning and consequently threw my chain off the big ring, catching the chain in the front derailleur. I couldn't get it to catch by shifting (probably in part because we filed the ramps off my big ring weeks ago to fix another massive shifting issue I experienced with my new chainrings), so I coasted to the Mavic tent. In that moment, I was totally bewildered at how my chain caught in the front derailleur while I was in the big ring since I didn't even touch the front shifter!! Mavic took an eternity to get my chain back on and then told me I had to chase. No free lap for that. Not a good place to get dropped - the fast descent! I watched them fly way then put my head in the wind and went after them. The pace was still so high in the first few laps that I knew I had virtually no chance of catching back on. But apparently I at least gained on them for a couple of laps, because I couldn't believe it when I heard Bob Roll say my name and something about my chase. I felt so good that night. I was truly bummed when I finally got pulled. Watching the rest of the race was torture; I wanted to be out there so badly. Next year.
I had better luck at CSC and in Lancaster. No great finishes, but respectable races. I know I can race with the best now, I just have to make smarter decisions and enjoy a little luck. I'm still trying to get over the "Holy crap, I'm on Tina Pic's wheel!!!" factor. (Or any of the big girls!!) The even scarier part was a moment when I realized "Holy crap!!! She's on MY wheel!!!! Damn I hope I don't screw up this corner!!" I need to get more comfortable before I begin to feel I've earned a place in the lead group. As the unknown underdog, I know they think I don't belong there.
We stayed in this beautiful location in Lancaster on Saturday night. Heavenly. I've met so many great people racing these past 2 weekends. I can't wait for my next adventure this weekend.
I still hope to write a short Bike Jam recap from two weekends ago, but I'm a bit too tired to write more now...