I so badly wanted to race the Southeast Crit Series this year. But it just didn't work out so I was looking for some racing this weekend and decided to go to Iowa City for a 50 mile Road Race on Saturday and a Criterium on Sunday. I've done these races in the past and they've been well attended good regional racing. We packed up the family and told the kids we were going on vacation to Iowa.
So disappointing to show up with only 11 women on the line! Even with the low turnout we had some really strong riders there. Sydney Brown, the winner of a spot on last year's Nature Valley Pro Ride Team was there. Sydney is not at full strength right now, recovering from an injury, but she really got me excited about Nature Valley telling me about her experience last year and how much fun I'm going to have. I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, Lisa Vetterlein, a name I remember from years past as being a crazy strong rider, but had never met, was just returning to competition after a four year break. There were also some other really strong women in the field so there was some good competition even if we didn't have big numbers.
The road race was 4 laps and a little over 50 miles. I accidentally got off the front and rode by myself for about 12 miles early on. They caught me and then a break of two go away with about one lap to go. I chased hard with another rider, but we never closed the gap and I ended up second in the field sprint for fourth.
The crit the next day is a pretty good test of skills and fitness. A scary fast downhill corner and a short hard climb with a twisty top half of the course. I was thrilled to feel great on that downhill corner this year! When the break went (the same two as the day before) I killed myself bridging up and it took almost a lap but I got on. I tried to recover but only lasted a couple of laps until I got dropped on the uphill. I rode as hard as I could for the rest of the race and was pleasantly surprised to finish in third place with a large gap behind me. That's a big deal for me and almost made up for the disappointment of getting dropped from the break. In all it was a great workout and I do like those races--only wish we had a bigger field.
The kids had a blast at the hotel pool and loved staying up late watching a movie (Ratatouille) in the hotel room. The organizer gave the kids water bottles for showing up and they thought that was terrific. Having a fun family time was great. Even though I was super bummed not to be in Georgia, it would have been a trade off not to have the family there and I did end up getting some good racing in!