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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Iowa City Road Race/Old Cap Crit

Well this was a weekend of highs and lows.

I was tempted not to race on Saturday because of the crummy weather, but I'm glad I did! The road race went far better than expected. With the strong wind I was simply hoping to not get dropped off the back of the group and be out there on my own, so I was elated to finish top 5, along with two teammates!

We had a pretty tame start, with everyone just trying to stay upright with the strong cross wind. Teammates Sandy and Ingrid started taking turns on the front of the group to get things going. I joined in as well, wanting to help do some work while I had a chance (still worried that I would get dropped quickly!).

After changing directions and going into more of a head wind Sandy got (most) everyone working together and eschlon-ing . Things remained pretty calm in the group until about the half way point of the first of the three laps. The course turns back toward the start, giving a strong tailwind, and there is a nice climb. Attacks almost always happen here, so I was ready when the first attack came. And then it was just attack after attack after attack. I was able to stay in the group and even cover a few attacks myself - careful to ensure that girls from other teams had to put in work to cover attacks as well.

This was a strong bunch of ladies, and only a few dropped from the group. On the second lap the group continued to work together and attacks were quickly neutralized. Not much changed until the second half of the third and final lap. With just a half lap to go, the pace started to pick up and as we got closer and closer to the finish, it was clear that it would come down to a bunch sprint.

I stayed toward the front of the group, but still managed to get boxed in when the final sprint really got going. I eased off slightly so I could get around the racer to my left (I still had someone right in front of me and to my right). As soon as I got around them I kicked as hard as I could and managed a 5th place finish! And two teammates finished right ahead, in 3rd and 4th.

Next time we will have to be more organized for the final sprint, and have a lead out planned. But I'm incredibly happy with the results!

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Old Capitol Crit
Women's Pro 1/2/3 start line. Photo by Karen Stierler
Ugh, this race went awfully for me! I went into the race with high hops after the previous day's race going so well. But on the first lap, I was cornering badly enough to get dropped on the downhill and then had to use a great deal of effort in the flat headwind section and following step climb in order to catch back up to the lead group. And then I would drop off the back on the downhill corner on the next lap and have to fight to try and get back to the group... So frustrating! I fell completely off the lead group after what I think was two laps and went solo for a lap before noticing two teammates not far behind. I slowed down so we could all work together to try and get back on the lead. This plan of mine failed miserably and I was again off the back from cornering badly - I don't know what happened to my confidence in this race??

Mentally preparing for that darn downhill corner. Photo by Natalie Rekemeyer.
Although highly frustrated and annoyed with myself, I kept pushing hard in the flat sections and on the climb - riding most of the 20 laps one my own. I was so happy to be done with the race, but so not happy with how it went. At least I have plenty to learn from this experience!

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