I'm not a crit racer. I come to SuperWeek because it's a weakness I'm trying to improve, and to gain some fitness by racing everyday. It seems this plan is the opposite of the other girls in my field. They're all crit racers and they're here because they've got crazy jumps, and are wily in a field sprint. Well, that's not me... at all. My training is pretty specific to the time trial, and SuperWeek is a bonus.
Finally after four days of trying unsuccessfully to win a race, and one day of what appeared to be a protest that I missed the memo about, it happened. The Lake Geneva crit is definitely one you should check out next year. It was a two corner course (the other two were cut off so they were just sweepers) and had the topography of a Pringle. The "climb" through the start/finish looked like more than it was, and the headwind on the back side was more of a factor than that "climb" was.
Women's racing is too nice. Nobody wants to hurt themselves or other people, they just roll around and exchange cookie recipes most of the time. Nobody ever wants to sack up and take a pull because they'll get tired, or it's too hot, or they have a hangnail, I don't know. If you figure out why they do that, please let me know because I've been wondering for a long time. When I show up to a race, I want to finish with my tongue tangled in the spokes of my front wheel knowing I had some guts and did everything I could do. This usually means getting in a break, or off the front. After being off the front for half the race on Saturday, I've been marked like a bingo card.
The course in Lake Geneva suited my strengths pretty well, and the conditions played in my favor too- warm and windy. After the atrocity of a "race" on Tuesday, someone put up $100 cash for the first person to lap the field in an effort to get the girls racing. I took my turns at the front, tried to go solo, tried to go with a few potential breaks only to be brought back. I even picked up some points towards the sprint jersey just for kicks. The winning move finally went with 12 laps to go. A girl went early for the final sprint points at 10 to go. She got a pretty good gap quickly, but nobody wanted to step up and chase or go with, they were just going to let her go. I decided it was time to go, and accelerated hard in the saddle and was away. I was able to bridge to the girl quickly. She was struggling a bit and told her to just sit on and recover for a bit. I thought I could stay away solo for 12 laps, but just incase, I wanted to have another person with to share some of the work with. She was interested in the sprint points, I didn't care. I told her she could take them all while I worked to establish the gap. After the sprint points, she was gassed and I went on alone. Time to tape the flashlight to my hand and keep running into the pain cave. 9.5 laps to go. My coach was on the sidelines giving me splits each lap- 15 seconds, 20, 30, 35, 40, 50, 55, 1min, over a minute. On the last lap I could see the field going into turn three while I was on the straight away. I wanted to lap the field but couldn't quite do it- I needed one or two more laps. Now that I've had some time to decompress and reflect a bit, I'm still happy with the win, but angry I didn't catch the field.
It was great to finally get a win this week, and a win in an able bodied race is always really satisfying. A big thanks is in order to all of you for the support you give me and putting up with my race reports. Now go race with some guts people!