This weekend H, J, K and I headed up to Waco for the collegiate race hosted by Baylor. It was the first time for me to do all three events in one weekend. We arose at the buttcrack of dawn and piled into the Grand Prix to make it to the road race location by 8:30. By that time it was already getting toasty. H and J took off with the men's Cs, and before I knew it the women's Bs were lining up. I was a little nervous for two reasons: 1. There only ended up being me and one other teammate in our category and 2. I had gone over my race strategy with the UT girls and they seemed to think it was going to be too fast to do a breakaway.
The race was 2 laps of a 15 mile loop. I really only had about 10 minutes of warm-up, so I played the first lap pretty cool. After about 15 miles I was warmed up. I made sure my teammate N was behind me, then pulled up next to a UT rider, who was currently pulling, C, and said "next hill?"
Seeing she was sweating bullets (it was already about 90 degrees by that point), and knowing I'd need her help, I asked her "Want to draft for a minute?"
So she got behind me and I pulled us easy for a few minutes. The next hill was just past the first mark line. I was excited and began hammering up the hill, perhaps a little too fast. I passed a group of boys (Men's D I think) and our two respective lead vehicles, which was less than ideal, but I had already used a good deal of energy and couldn't stop myself. I reached the first right turn of the loop and realized I had dropped everyone, including those that were supposed to be in the breakaway with me. An MSU rider had caught up and I muttered to her, "well that was a fail." I waited a few seconds until my N and C had caught up, along with a few other riders, then began hammering again. Then it was me, N, C, 2 MSU riders and an LSU rider in the breakaway. After a few pace line rotations, it was clear everyone was working except LSU. At this point the mens' Ds had passed us and crashed about 1/2 mile ahead. We slowed down to pass through, but not enough to cause more of a dangerous situation by rubbernecking. We were climbing a hill and I became frustrated with LSU because I told her to grab onto the person in front of her's wheel so that she would move forward in the pace line, and she shook her head no. What I didn't realize is that she was starting to bonk. We dropped her one roller later and didn't see her after that.
Everyone in the pack worked well together - it was beautiful. Our speed was about 4 mph higher the last 7 miles than it had been with the pack. It seems it took forever for the last two miles - I kept on thinking the finish line was just around the corner. N and I were off the front with about
1 mile to go, and I told her to stay on my wheel until right before the finish line, then sprint ahead of me. What I hadn't realized was that had a flat in the works. I saw the official's tent with about 0.5 miles to go. We hit a roller to carry us to the finish, and despite going all out, I was slowing down rapidly. I thought I was bonking, but at least I had gotten my teammate nearly to the finish (although she probably didn't even need me that last mile). But I noticed the road felt a little different, and I instinctively looked at my rear wheel. It was halfway flat. I let loose some obscenities but pulled myself the last quarter mile to the finish as fast as I could, despite there being no one behind me in sight. I placed 5th. MSU 1st, N 2nd, C 3rd, and another MSU 4th.
I wish I hadn't gotten a flat and could've participated in the sprint finish. But I got to carry out the rest of my plan, which I've never done before. I worke with a great group of girls and had fun doing it. I helped my teammate place 2nd, and got points for the team myself.
4*win - technical fail = 3 wins!!!
The Time Trial
My teammate, S, had just catted up to the As and needed me and K to do the time trial with her. She had already done a 45 mile time trial for the road race, and I was pretty whipped from pulling during the women's B road race. The first thing I noticed when I started warming up was the course was HILLY. It was only 9 miles, but it was still in the 90s and the whole thing was on a grade. We checked to make sure we were registered under our proper team name, Cero Pelotas. Around 4:15 we rolled out. We worked really well together despite being exhausted - K worked very hard to help us make up for lost time on the hills. Still, it was exhausting. We didn't get passed by the other women's A team - MSU - until halfway through. We ended with an uphill sprint and finished 2nd.
Unfortunately, we awoke Sunday to 50 degree weather. H tried to escape racing the crit and stay in bed instead, but I was having none of it. We had a winner breakfast of waffles and bananas, then checked out of the hotel and drove to the crit course.
I was hoping my starting line anxiety would have diminished by the second day, but it was still there, raring to go. At least my teammates K and S were there. Then we were off, with an easy pace at the beginning as everyone warmed up at the beginning. I noticed immediately that people were to taking the corners as fast as I wanted to, and I worked my way up to the front. A couple of people from Rice that I didn't recognize tried to pull t the front, but the lineup was shaken after every turn. After a few minutes K hit a slick patch on the turn that every category had crashed on, and crashed herself. Oh noes! A from UT and I waited for everyone to catch up. After a few turns, B from MSU started pulling hard at the front and we were starting to drop people. I said "Keep pulling and we can make this a breakaway!" and she did. It was me, her, and 2 UT riders in the breakaway. This was about 15 minutes into the race. We rotated every minute or so, but I kept seeing the pack trying to catch up, and yelled "they're trying to catch us!" to whoever was pulling. I felt like this was the first race where I actually knew how many laps were left and when the primes were. One prime I was too far back to win, but on the second one, I sprinted from 4th place to win the prime. I was pulling so hard my rear wheel started skipping on the pavement, but I got it. It felt good. We kept working together really well as a team. A few times I went to the front to pull faster. Finally we got to where we couldn't see them behind us, and before I know it we were on the last lap. I tried not to pull too much and we switched pulling quickly. We rounded the last turn and it was the 2 from UT at the front and MSU 3rd wheel. Everyone was sprinting hard, and I had in the back of my head I couldn't catch them. But I started gaining on MSU with barely any distance to go, and I threw my bike forward right at the finish line. I had to ask because it was so close, but I got 3rd!
I got 2nd overall in the omnium, and after 2 races I'm 5th place in the conference.
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