Remember that movie "Pleasantville" where everything was all black and white? Yeah, that's pretty much how I've been feeling since Sunday. The color has been drained from life to some extent...and yet, I feel that I must fight the fear and sadness trying to settle inside me. One of my friends said that the best way to honor Matt and Kristy is to keep living and loving cycling. So, in that spirit, a proper race report:
Cyclistrick's first crit. My first crit of the season. I was excited and nervous for this race. First nerves I've had so far this year. I was racing at 10 am and then working reg in the afternoon.
We all got call ups, which I'm pretty sure I don't deserve, but I won't complain about! I plunked myself in the front row and prepared for the start. My goals for this race were to communicate with team mates and work on my position in the peloton, among other things. I was going to try to force myself to ride in the middle of the pack - a spot I've avoided up to this point. But, since I want to get good at crits, I will have to get there sooner or later.
Well, I got right where I wanted to be for the first 2 laps. And, I was feeling pretty comfortable. Then, at the end of the 2nd lap, there was an opening to the left and I wanted to test out how easy it was to move up on the finishing straight (gathering info for later in the race). To my surprise it felt really easy, so on a whim, I took a big flyer and gapped the pack. I guess the attack was pretty big, because I didn't have any friends come with me. I heard Hernando say something to the effect of "Chattybox!" and "I've never seen her go off the front like that!"
Seeing as I had no buddies and there were still like 15 laps to go, I decided the better part of valor was to get back in the shelter of the pack ASAP. Now, as we all know, as soon as the pack caught me, it would have been a really good time for another racer/team to counter-attack. But, alas, most of us W4s are just clinging for dear life and not really thinking about tactics.
My re-integration had me sitting a little further back in the pack than I wanted, and I planned to move up again on the home stretch. I was checking out the options for space when all of a sudden, the racer in front of me went down. It looked like she just got forced into taking the turn a little hot and her wheels went out from under her. Yikes! Fortunately, it was a pretty graceful fall. I had my first opportunity this season to practice my Velo Girls Skills Emergency Stop(TM). I stuck my posterior behind the saddle and jammed on my brakes, and stopped about two inches from the fallen rider's leg and I was still upright with both legs unclipped on the ground. Phew! I felt like celebrating until I realized the pack had gone on its merry way and I was now like 15 seconds behind.
And, so started the chase. I found a buddy named Lisa from LGBRC. Fortunately, she is also a gal of enhanced stature, so we were able to work together pretty well. We chased for a few laps until we came across the 2nd crash, involving 2 of my team mates and another racer. Not good seeing them on the asphault. But, everyone was moving around a little, which was good. Lisa and I continued our chase and eventually picked up 2 more riders who were chasing. We started making some headway on the pack, which was now 1.25 laps in front of us. About that time, the race stopped, and we waited for the ambulance to take 2 of the racers away.
After about 30 minutes, our 2nd race started. They started us in "main pack" and "chasers" groups about 15 seconds apart. There were about 15 of us in the "chasers" group, including a team mate, Lala. This group was not working as efficiently as I would have liked. We were actually losing ground on the pack. But, I looked at it as a chance to work on my sprint. Lala and I helped each other stay in good position in this mini peloton. About 2/3 the way around the last lap, 2 of our group attacked and had a good gap. When, we came around the last corner, I saw them slowing and playing cat and mouse. So, I put the pedal to the metal. About 100M before the line, Lala jumped around me to take the sprint. I just kept it in high gear and threw the bike over the line for 2nd out of the chase group. Hey, maybe I can sprint after all! Now I just need to get a chance to try it from the "main pack".
Oh, and another really fun thing was witnessing former teammie Kimmy Gibbler on the podium for the first time. You rock, Kimmy!
The afternoon was spent alternately munching my turkey sandwich and flirting with all the geezer boys at registration and ogling cyclistrick as he was doing his warmup. I just have to say that my hubby is HOTT.
You can read about cyclistrick's first crit here.
All in all, it was a great day and a great start to the crit season. Thanks to Velogirl and all our sponsors and volunteers for making it such a great day!