Henri and I moved to Austin two weeks ago and it's been pretty awesome thus far. I've been working for Banfield through the Student Job Program and riding my bike as much as possible (which has been difficult through this adjustment period, but I'm getting better). Henri and I are lucky enough to live next to the Greenbelt and our apartments make me feel like I am camping out.
I did the Driveway crit last Thursday and my goal was just to stay with the group for as long as possible. By this point in the season, most of the women have raced at least several times, so the field was smooth and I easily found a strong wheel from which I could draft. I promised myself I would not chase, and I didn't. There is an Austin Flyers rider, Annalisa, that is really strong and pulled a few breakaways with some of the faster juniors. I just stayed with the pack. A few laps from the end Kathryn Turner (Austin TriCyclist) pulled a breakaway and easily had first place. Annalisa came in second and I managed to pull 4th place (our of 11 starters) after a Colavita rider. There were lots of strong women in the field! I started with the Men's 4/5 as a second race, and stayed with the field for a few laps, but I was already spent and pulled out. I still felt good though, after one of the race officials told me later "You raced great out there!"
Driveway Crit Results: 5/26
This past Tuesday was my first chance to compete in the Dirt Remedy, a weekly short track MTB race. It's like an off-road version of the Driveway Crit. There aren't many women, but we start at the same time as the men and there are three categories (A, B, C). I didn't know what the competition would be like, so I signed up for both the B and C races. The C race was first. There was only one other woman, J. Hanover from the Flyers. I was a little late and didn't have time to warm up, so I hung near the back the first lap to learn the course, which was a mile long. The race is held at the motocross trails at Emma Long Park in the rocky hills of west Austin. It was perfectly difficult. The first two laps were more of a challenge because I kept taking the wrong turns. After I became more comfortable, I picked up speed and started passing people. I had already dropped the other woman, but I like picking on boys so I pushed myself hard the whole 30 minutes. We did about 5 miles total. The boys were pretty skilled and I think I ended up finishing in about in the middle. Unfortunately, I was way dehydrated and started to get goosebumps near the end. I opted out of the Bs race, but I'll start out in the Bs next week. I won a gift card for winning the Women's Cs and it's for the Snap Kitchen, which is pre-prepared but healthy noms. Very Austin. I also met an infamous Austin trainer/cyclist who may teach our collegiate MTB clinic in September!
Dirt Remedy C Race, Photo by J. A. Hicks
Lastly in the Promised Land update, but perhaps most exciting, was this week's Driveway Crit. I wanted to bring the dogs so I knew I could only do the Women's 3/4 race. I figured I'd give it everything I had. Which was a good thing, because it was Ladies' Night and everyone was there to bring the pain, especially some of the junior men. I wanted to hang on like last time, but I took Henri's advice to stay on Kathryn's wheel if she tried to break away. There were a few more new people out there because Austin Flyers were providing mentored racing. It was great because I love to see new women out racing, and because some of their pointers helped me out. The downside was that there were more sketchy moves made by the inexperienced - I had trouble finding a strong wheel to hang on to and wasted a lot of energy trying to keep up with the fast people when I had to go around those that weren't taking great lines. Most of it was worked out halfway through the race though, and I got into the groove. Halfway through, the fast Austin Tricyclist chick pulled a breakaway, but I knew I couldn't hang. A couple of the juniors chased. I ended up drafting off of Annalisa with another Flyer, Diane, behind me. We rounded the last corner and I figured I would at least try to outsprint Annalisa. I gave it everything I had and creeped up on her little by little. I was pulling with every ounce of my legs and my back wheel started to hop off the ground on the upstroke. I was next to her right before the finish line and threw my bike forward at the last second. I didn't know who won the sprint at that point, but I was proud that I could catch up to her, because she is very fast. I didn't know how I placed overall because of the juniors. After results were posted later that night, I realized I had won the sprint and placed 2nd!!!
Driveway Crit Results: 6/2
I look forward to 2 more months of racing at home in the Promised Land.