No pressure, just ride your bike up the mountain as fast as you can, try not to get caught, trust in your training, and believe in yourself. Words that I kept repeating to myself this morning. As we are warming up I am on a trainer set up next to Lauren Tamayo, Mara Abbott, Cari Higgins and Alison Tetrick. HELLO! I am last to go for the team and within the last 15 girls to go off. I am not nervous which is new for me, and I am a little bit unsure why I am not. But I will go with it. This whole weekend is a learning experience for me and all i can do, is learn.
So today I learned I can go up mountains, and I like being early.
After spinning lightly to cool down we pack up quickly and get the heck out of there! Our soigneur, Andrew sets up the massage table and we quickly shower and get off of our feet. This is where people get jealous and think we are lazy, and for the most part we are, except for that 3 hours of pedaling we are planning on doing tomorrow on top of todays race and our race in 2 days, we are lazy.
The afternoon and night mushes together with eating and sitting and laying with our feet up and a little bit of race tactics. 9:30 and lights are out.
Waking up the morning of the Road race I am a little more nervous because we actually have a job today after Mara winning the TT… “KEEP MARA SAFE”. Words I kept repeating to myself, as well as “STAY AT THE FRONT”! I am normally good at keeping myself up at the front of the pack, the key is to be confident in yourself and others around you will not be scared about you. But this is bike racing and you don’t get into the sport thinking you will never crash, and crash is exactly what happened. One of the key things I learned from the weekend was; if one of your teammates is in the yellow jersey and there is crash, STOP. Somehow I pedaled right through the crash that happened right in front of me. Being an ex-ski racer I was just thinking, “look ahead, look ahead, look ahead”. I am pretty sure I rode over someone’s arm and a few wheels, but I made it through with the rubber side down. Looking over both my shoulders I saw my teammate Rebecca and no yellow jersey, so I continued on. Just barely making contact with the back of the pack we hit the base of the climb, and was promptly spat out the back. I finished the race, and was not time cut therefor able to race the next day. And thanks to my awesome experienced teammates we made it out of the day with the yellow jersey, safe.
On the last morning of racing we wake up to mist settling in around us on top of the hill. Some rustling and men’s voices mean our director and mechanic are here setting up our bikes to spin and wake up the legs in the morning. This morning is a quite one. Everyone is on their own programs, no community breakfast as at this point we are tired, sore and not in the mood to chat. We race at 2pm so we have a lazy morning and plenty of time to prepare for the crit, my favorite. This race was a repeat of my entire weekend. I stayed at the front for as long as I could, and with one attack up the hill I was hanging on for dear life on the back of the pack. Once the elastic broke, I joined another of my teammates along with a few other girls, made it over halfway and was pulled.
A rough weekend for me, but we finished it in the yellow jersey. It was a nice “slap in the face”, but showed me how much I can push myself and how fast you are actually supposed to go. A big accomplishment for our team, and exactly what we came to do! I learned a lot about myself, and how the team works, and I am excited to do it again.
On top of this race, I competed locally in the CSU Oval Criterium, where I ticked off my first win of the season! Below is a race report from that race…