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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

State Road Race

Well I think it’s safe to say that I surprised more than myself at the State Road Race. I’m still not quite sure how I ended up on the podium… My goals going into the race were to a. survive the 64 miles, b. work for the team, and c. maybe stick with the lead group. I guarantee that ending up in third place never crossed my mind! 

Robin and I leading out the Women's P/1/2/3 Race - Photo By Mark Considine
As we rounded the turn at about mile 20 to head back towards the start/finish, the group was still all together, except for Sandy. She had made a break several miles earlier but half the group didn't know (me included)! We are going to have to add Stealthy Sandy to her list of names - although Euro Sandy is still my favorite ;)

Vanessa and Kim were taking turns attacking the group but were chased every time, they were obviously marked riders. Up until this point I had only taken a couple of pulls on front, and I really wanted to do some more work for the team. I decided to help out and throw a few attacks myself.  I made my way to the front and went for it...after a minute I looked back and no one was chasing!
It would have been quite hilarious to read my mind at this point. Everything from “um guys, aren’t you going to come chase me down…please?” to “oh dear god what have I done?!?”  was flying through my head once I realized that I soloed off the front with about 40-45 miles to go. I guess if you are going to attack you've got to be prepared for it to work! 
After the initial panic I reminded myself that this was no different than the mountain bike races that I’ve done this year. If I could be out on my own during those races then I could do it here- at least until the group caught back up.
I hunkered down in my drops and the miles ticked by. I made it back through the start/finish which marked the halfway point in the race and headed back toward Old 218. The group was nowhere in sight. No one wanted to chase me down. I don’t really blame them, I didn’t think I would make it out there on my own either! 
I was getting within a few miles of the next turn when I finally spotted a rider behind me – it was my teammate Kim!!! She bridged up and I was hoping I could muster enough strength to stick with her for the last 20-25 miles. She watched out for me and had me sit on her wheel as she kicked it into high gear on the tailwind section. I finally learned from her that Sandy was ahead, so if we could hold off the chase group we would lock down 1st-3rd place!
Those last miles were really tough but I hung on to Kim's wheel. It felt great to cross the line right behind her and to see Sandy on the sidelines as she already came in first! To top off the day Vanessa won the group sprint and took 4th. It's not a bad day when your team takes 1st through 4th place!

I am incredibly proud of the hard work that all my teammates did- that was a long and tough race. It was awesome to have such a large representation of the Iowa City Women's Cycling club!

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