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Friday, August 8, 2014

Racing to Win or Racing to Not Lose? - State Championship Crit

Can I just say I love my teammates!? It was so much fun to get to race with teammates Brittany, Vanessa, Alijah, and Ingrid at the State Crit. We even got three of us in the top ten (I was 10th)! I was a little apprehensive about missing out on a mountain bike race (part of the Illinois series that I'm competing in) to race the crit, but it was a fun day. There is definitely more of a team feel to road racing, and with the State Road Race coming up I need all the practice I can get!

Photo by Natalie Rekemeyer
The race started off fast with everyone wanting a spot on the front for the first downhill. I managed a quick start and was toward the front the first few corners. Once we got to the second half of the climb (back toward the start/finish) I was swallowed back into the group – I have to work on keeping the pace up on inclines!

A small gap opened up and I did not make it into the lead group. A couple more laps into the race a spectator ran out into the street and yelled at us to keep right (at a left-hand turn). I thought they were just being crazy until we rounded the corner and saw Lisa and Vanessa getting up off the ground after a bad crash. Thankfully they were ok and both able to jump back in the race.

There were a couple of solo attacks from my group, most of which were chased down, but a few were able to get away. There was one point in the race where I was so close to catching onto a group ahead but I just couldn’t get myself to go hard enough. I will work my ass off on a group ride to not get dropped from the main group, but for some reason I seem to lack the same ability or determination in a race. Completely backwards, I know! Especially considering the opposite is true when mountain biking.

For most of the race Dee, Sarah, and I rode together. Dee and I both had teammates ahead so we didn't push to the pace too hard, just enough to keep anyone from behind catching up. With just two laps to go I was certain it would come down to the three of us at the finish. And on the final climb towards the finish line I again just couldn’t get myself to go hard. Dee and Sarah both got out front of me, but when I was worried someone from behind my try to sprint me, I was able to conjure up all my remaining strength to spring to the line. What the hell, why couldn’t I have done what like 30 seconds earlier?!

...And it's taking me all week to try to figure this out; I've been racing to not lose, not racing to win.

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