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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

State Championship Road Race

I think I’ve been bitten by the racing bug, I cannot get enough –and road racing to boot! This weekend I geared up for another double race weekend, with the State Championship Road Race in Riverside, IA and the Wildlife Wild Mtb race in Edwards, Il. My biggest hope going into the weekend was to not have a repeat of last weekend’s mechanicals! Ok, so maybe that’s a lie, I also wanted to do well! I am more than ready to upgrade to a 3 on the road, but haven’t had the result or points to show it. Going into this weekend I knew I needed a good result to get my upgrade request approved for next year.
We may have had a small field, with just seven riders, but they were also some of the faster cat 4 ladies in the state. We had a nice neutral start to get of town and things picked up just slightly. We had a 32 mile course ahead with the majority of the large climbs in the first 12 miles. Ideally my teammates (Alijah & Lauren) and I would make a break on one of these hills. Lauren took charge on the front, setting a high pace. Several hills and miles later we were all still together. I took a turn on the font, keeping the pace high until we got to the first turn on the course. Alijah made an attack and Sarah and I caught on. Lauren road really hard and also caught up to us. The turn took us from getting a nice push from a tailwind to having a decent crosswind.
We maintained a decent pace, but knew with the crosswind it would be harder for the chase group to catch up. There were a couple major accelerations but we all stuck together. No one was willing to really take a turn on front and the pace really suffered. After we turned again going north into a headwind I finally suggested we echelon. That way we would all have to work. Everyone agreed and we quickly took the pace from a measly 15 mph, to a more decent race pace of 19-20 mph. There were a couple climbs where everyone again just seemed content to sit on other people’s wheels, but I wasn’t going to let that happen. I motioned for everyone to continue to rotate. If I wasn’t getting a nice rest before the finish I wanted to make sure no one else was either!
We were closing in on the 30 mile mark and I started to think about what to do at the finish. I knew it would come down to a sprint between the four of us. I’ve had my timing off all season, going too early and getting beat at the line. I knew I needed to wait, but didn’t want to wait too long and not have enough time to really kick. There were two junior boys with us and one of them started to kick for the sprint really early prompting Lauren to go with him. Everyone started to accelerate, but I made sure to not go full out. Alijah and Sarah started to really sprint and I held on and finally at the right moment I got down in drops, got of the saddle and kicked as hard as I could. I passed Sarah, and Alijah, and kept my head down and made sure to sprint though the finish line. I couldn’t believe it; I won for the first time all season- Yes!!!!  I knew I had the strength, but was and still am learning road racing tactics, especially the proper timing for the sprint. Luckily it all came together for me for the State Championship race and hopefully this was my last race as a cat. 4!
Now I just needed to rest, rehydrate, and refuel for the Wildlife Wild Mtb (edit: link) race on Sunday…
The ladies of the Iowa City Cycling Club & Mercy/Specialized team had quite the weekend!
Women’s Cat. 4
Emily Robnett – 1st
Alijah Beatty – 2nd
Lauren Trolley – 4th

Women’s Pro/Cat 1/2/3
Kim Eppen – 1st
Brittany McConnell 3rd
Darian Nagle-Gamm 5th (Her first race as a Cat.3!!!)
Cassandra Kessler – 6th
Karen Stierler – 7th
Darcy Sanford – 8th

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