Hillsboro is the first big regional race of the year for us Chicagoans. This year it served as a debut for my new team; Athlete's by Design (ABD). It was the first time we'd be together as an almost whole team--we are still missing Jeannie, who lives in New Zealand for much of the year and will be joining us shortly. But then we will be losing Jessi, as she would be leaving us the following Tuesday after the race for several weeks of racing in Europe, then home for a couple days, and then off to a tour in China.
We were all very excited to get to race together and we planned to stay overnight at a local farm b&b and get some riding in the next day. Our race was 58 miles consisting of two laps over a beautiful country road course with a couple of rollers thrown in, and one sort of kicker climb at the end of the lap heading into a cobblestone final circuit. After my non-existant winter of training I knew my fitness was not really there yet, but we knew Stacy and Jessi were feeling good after having spent a good part of the winter in Tuscon, AZ. Sarah and Elena were just going to test the legs, and I agreed sitting in and hanging on should be my plan.
This went out the window about 5 minutes into the race when Jessi threw out the first attack. It was countered by the heavily represented IS Corp team. Two of their riders got away, and although I'm sure it would have been fine if they had, I didn't want Jessi or Stacy to have to cover it. So I tried to bridge. Sarah had the same thought and we attacked simultaneously up the opposite sides of the road. We didn't successfully bridge but we did succeed in pulling the field back together. Unfortunately for me that effort did me in and I went off the back.
Since I'm in full on training mode right now I just rode the course as hard as I could and picked people off. I finished off the main field by quite a ways but around the middle of the results. It was terribly exciting to see Jessi and a Mercy Specialized rider off the front with a considerable gap on the field starting their second lap when I was finishing my first lap!! I didn't see anything else, but what I heard happened was that Jessi and the Mercy rider got away very shortly after I was dropped. They rode almost the whole course together. Stacy was then able to initiate a second break from the field, and she and two others rode together until the final hill when she was able to gap her breakmates to finish with a considerable lead for third. Elena finished in the field and Sarah and I finished a little ways back.
It was a bit of a bummer to get dropped but honestly it wasn't a surprise and having teammates who kick butt when I'm not up to it is great! Hopefully I'll be back on track before long.
We then spent a second night at the farmhouse, a cosy little house that had one bedroom, two couches, a "summer kitchen" that served as another bedroom, and a barn that had a converted hayloft set up as a bedroom. Jason and I took the barn. Since he is always trying to get me to camp I figured this was the closest I cared to get to that. It turned out to be quite pleasant, except that we were visited in the night by a stray beagle.