This was my third year racing TBC, and first year in the P/1/2 field. It was also the first race on a new TT bike, and first race back from a gnarly crash in a master’s race. (Avoid falling on your head. It’s not good.) Luckily, I don’t remember anything from said crash, which is probably a good thing. It did however make me a little anxious to sit on wheels, and be boxed in sitting in the pack.
The TT was short- 3 miles- and started with a downhill, then finished with a climb. My time was sort of disappointing and put me 29 seconds behind the leader. The next day, going into the road race, I wanted to get comfortable in the pack again, and not lose any time. The first 50 miles were SO boring! Nobody wanted to do anything, so nothing happened. Thankfully, we raced the last 10 miles. The lead up to the finish was a bunch of punchy little hills, then a downhill left hand turn into the finish. The road got narrow, and sandy through this section, so I moved up to the front to avoid a potential crash. One of the old Paralympic tandem pilots (Cari) was also racing. She jumped with 1k to go, and I followed. She opened a gap that I decided to close, then I kept rolling. Rebecca was on my wheel and I knew I couldn’t hold it from 600m to go. I figured, Why not just try to lead Rebecca out? Pursuit mode kicked in, and drilled it as best I could to the finish. Second for Rebecca, and 12th for me. No time lost, so it was fine by me.
The circuit race on Sunday was 7 laps of a 5-ish mile loop with some hills, and a quick descent after a tight right hand turn. After the boring road race, Cari and I decided to do something, to make the race more interesting. We took turns attacking, spent some time off the front, got brought back and did it over again. On the last lap, with about 3k to go, I tried to get away but got caught before the last rise into the finish line. At this point, the group split in two with most of the top 10 in the front group. Through plain stubbornness, I got in for 6th on the stage, and bumped me up a spot on GC. Rebecca took the stage, which was enough to take the overall. It was a great day of racing, and a fun way to end a stage race.
One thing I learned that I need to improve for the future is my (finishing) sprint. It’s an awful habit, but I find myself with my head down. What happens to animals with their heads down? They get eaten. So, to avoid being eaten, keep your head up! (And go to Randy’s sprint clinic.)
See you at the races!