A hand up for Chris
I was not able to see Chris finish because I had to start getting ready for my race—change clothes, get bottles filled, put numbers on bike and jersey. I also wrapped my right forearm because it was pretty swollen after Wednesday. Keeping it tight made the rough sections less painful. Then I went to warm up. I felt all out of place...like a poser almost. I kept thinking, “What am I doing?” But I was at a point of no return so I had to race. They do call ups for all the pro racer. They announced girls like Georgia Gould, Heather Irminger, Willow Koerber, Kathy Sherwin—real racers. I was the very last one called up th line so I took my place at the back of the pack. Intimidated, I waited for the start whistle.
Waiting for the start
The announcer presented the Pro Women and the audience and it went quiet. I thought that was funny. After another urging to make some noise the crowd woke up a bit. And then we were off. The starts can be pretty frantic. The last thing Chris told me was not to crash. I could come in dead last but no crashes. So I cautiously stayed back until we hit the dirt. Things calmed a bit as the road started to climb. I realized about half way up that we were not hitting the single track on the first lap as I was accustom. We stayed on the steep dirt road climb. I tried to come up on the left side. I had some success and then found myself way out and had to come back in to the group. I could see the leaders pull away—they are so fast! I tried to push myself the whole time but ride really consistent and safe. I climbed well, but would get gapped on some of the descents, especially my first time down the hill. I was really cautious. I had no idea where I was in the group (I started dead last off the pavement) but knew I wanted to be further up. I caught a person maybe two per lap. They were slow—really slow—catches though. On my second lap, I passed Kathy pushing her bike. She was dirty and must have gone down. But she just said that she had drive chain issues. That sucks.
Half way through my third lap I was tired. I could feel it in my arms (funny for a cyclist, but that is where I will feel it sometimes). After the climb on the back side of the course there are some switch backs that were getting torn up. I almost lost it one of them and had unclip and put my right leg out. My calf cramped. It was not too bad though because I did not innately scream. I thought to myself “oh, no!”, but it relaxed pretty quickly and did not effect me the short distance I still had to go. I was so excited to cross the finish line. I had no idea what place I was in, but knew I had a decent race. I kept to my game plan:
1. No crashing
2. Ride consistent
3. Push the whole time--my heart rate was hig every time I looked at it.
I finished in 15th place and I was stoked. I got to race against some of the best in our nation and while they did not race me, I felt I was able to hold my own. It may be beginner's luck, but I will take it.
Congrats to Erika and Bob from Revolution on their wins.