Gateway Cup is a 4 criterium series in St. louis held over labor day every year. It's at the end of the year and there is usually a good vibe to the races down there. The courses are great and there is usually good competition. Sarah and Elena decided not to go, Jeannie has gone back to New Zealand, Jessi is in Texas at College and Stacy is out for the rest of the year so I ended up traveling with my friend Leah and staying with Marsha, a woman I'd gotten hooked up with through host housing a couple years ago and now consider a friend. Marsha opened up her home, and shuttled me to and from most of the races since Leah and her teammate Katie were racing the 3/4 series and there were several hours between our races every day.
We had close to 40 riders in our field, not a lot, but there was quite a lot of talent there. Colovita, Primal Map My ride, and Vanderkitten all had full squads as well as some very strong smaller teams and individuals represented. Tibco, Melllow Mushroom and Revolution to name a few.
I really didn't know how I would feel and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself feeling pretty good! Friday nights's race under lights is a fun course with an electric feel to it and I had so much fun! I finished in the money and was happy with that.
Saturday right before our race there was a huge rainstorm and while it stopped before our race, a lot of debris was blown onto the road. The slight elevation change in the course suited me and I was really feeling good in the race. Colovita threw down attack after attack, but in the end we were all together as a field and halfway through the last lap I remember thinking, "I am in awesome position and I feel great!" In the next split second out of nowhere "Wham!" my bike slid out hard and my face hit the concrete. It was a total surprise. I was in the middle of a corner, but I wasn't touching my brakes and I don't remember anyone running into me. I think I must have hit some wet leaves and slid out. I didn't cry like I normally do but I could feel my front tooth hanging out of my mouth. Not a good feeling. I stayed calm and waited for the medical help to come, and assessed the rest of the damage. Nothing major, just some nice road rash on seemingly all sides of my body. Luckily one of the local firemen working the race had a dentist who agreed to see me at 7pm on a Saturday night. Marsha drove me over to meet the super nice guy at his office and he was able to take care of the tooth, which was a fake tooth anyway. But he told me I should wait until I got home to take care of it, so I was left to walk around without a tooth for the rest of the weekend. I contemplated going home but Jason told me to "embrace the freak show" and just finish out the series. What else was I going to do after all?
I finished out the series on a positive note, finishing well on Sunday at a race called "The Hill" in 15th. Monday's race was a new course for me. It was long but with lots of technical turns. I knew that positioning would be key and for the first half of the race did great riding right near the front. Then for second I took a slight breather at the back and got into the bad area where gaps open up. I spent a couple laps closing gaps and then finally lost contact. I rode by myself for awhile until I was caught by a chase group and we finished the race riding hard together. Slightly bummed for that lapse in concentration.
On the whole it was a really fun weekend. I had a great time hanging out with Marsha and her friends, and Leah and Katie. For the most part I felt like my riding had taken a step forward. Losing a tooth in a crash has always been one of my worst fears, and it turns out it wasn't that bad.