I've always been afraid of the Driveway crit in Austin. The first time Henri raced, about 3 years ago, he couldn't stay with the group for even 1 lap. I was hoping to do ok my first time at this crit, 3 years later, after I'd lost 20 pounds and won several MTB races. At Tunis a few weeks ago, I even managed to place 4th in the crit and 3rd in the ITT. I was on a roll.
Well, everyone needs to be brought back to earth occasionally. I knew from the getgo that the field was strong. I strategically placed myself about 6 places back so that I didn't have to pull. But 3/4 of the way through the first lap, it was evident that the juniors off the front weren't pulling fast enough. The honey badger parade was getting antsy. Several people tried to pull off the front, and I managed to get behind a hoss from Austin Flyers. She was pulling a little too hard than necessary. She was too fast to be pulling the group, but not fast enough for an attack. I should have realized she was trying to wear me out, but I didn't until later, and for now I stuck on her wheel. In hindsight I should have dropped back immediately instead of wearing myself out. I felt myself starting to blow up and suddenly I was at the back of the back. I couldn't push my legs any harder; they were gone. I knew the second I left the wheel of the woman in front of me, it was over. But my muscles were jelly. I couldn't hold onto the back. I pedaled by myself for half a lap and then drafted back to 2 women behind me (a junior and an Austin Flyer). I said that we should work together and try to catch up; the pack was only half a mile ahead.
Work together we did; catch up we did not. No matter how hard we tried, we just could not close the gap. The 3 of us crossed the finish line together, with me being the 3rd. I was gonna try and sprint, just for fun, but I still had nothing left in my legs.
I think if I had been smarter about it, I could have hung on to the main group a little longer. They really weren't going any faster than our 3 person group. Regardless, I don't think I would have been able to sprint and place at the end. But my goal for next time is to be less worried about getting dropped by an attack group - I wasted too much energy spazzing out that I was going to get left in the main group. Next time I just want to stay with the main group the whole time. I'm hoping to make it to some of the women's skills clinics and work on my technical skills. And maybe, just maybe I'll be able to place by the end of the summer.
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