Kind of on a last minute whim, teammate Sarah and I decided to head up to northern Michigan to race a crit and a road race called Cherry-Roubaix. Usually I avoid races with Roubaix in their name, but the thought of getting out of town and riding in some beautiful country was very appealing. It was a six hour drive but the crit was at 5pm Sat night and the road race was at 9:30am on Sunday. Very doable!
I started the crit fast from the gun and lead out the first lap. There was an Einstein team of 4 that was super tight. They attacked, and I covered it. As soon as we were caught, another one countered. Then a prime was called, I went for it and got it. Another Einstien countered, and again I covered. It was the fourth attack when I couldn't respond. I needed a minute to regroup, and no one in the field chased it down. By the time I felt good enough to chase, the rider was off solo. I tried to bridge but was covered, so I took long hard pulls. When I would pull off the front, no one would come through. Frustrating, but I soon resigned to race for second. While all of this was happening, a spilt had occurred in the field, and unfortunately Sarah was on the wrong end of that split. As we came into the final lap we could see the group of 15 dropped riders ahead of us. We had about 15 in our group too. We were speeding up anticipating our finish, and there was confusion in the group about to be lapped, thinking that they were going to be finished a lap or two early. Unfortunately the officials did not do that. So as we hit the second to last corner, another rider in our group attacked through the lapped group. I was ready and on it, but she went outside through the corner--dangerous! I was planning on taking the inside line, so I stuck with that plan instead of staying on her wheel. I got very nervous and slowed as all the riders swung to the inside to give the other rider room. I got through the final corner unscathed but she had a gap on me and it was a short final stretch. I made up ground but ran out of room and ended up in third by inches! The officials apologized about letting that situation happen, and under the circumstances I felt like I had done the best I could and was thrilled to have not crashed.
The next day was a 70 mile road race over very hilly terrain. It was pretty much small chain ring the whole race except for the descents. I knew I wouldn't be feeling comfortable in the race, since I haven't been doing tons of mileage. However I had a terrible race and I am blaming my bike. Yes. It's the bike's fault. I've had shifting issues with this bike since day 1 and today every time I tried to use the top half of my cog set it would jump around and I would jerk forward almost falling off my bike. SO FRUSTRATING!! I'm pretty sure I would not have made the front group but I got dropped on the first major climb, and I definitely had more in me at that point. It's not like me to blame anything but myself for a poor result but I had over 50 miles to stew on it. I rode pretty slow. I stopped to pee. I got passed by the cat 3 women. I got passed by the cat 4 women. I rolled in after the corner marshals had all gone home. On the positive side I was still in the money and I was excited to hear that Sarah had a great race! Up in the front there had been a split in the group. She saw it go and tried to close it. She fought by herself for a while and then sat up until the other riders caught her. They rode together until the end and then she won her field sprint for 7th place! Awesome!
We had a great time and it was fantastic to actually have a teammate to travel with. I think we both rode great and did the best we could considering our circumstances.
Sarah even loved driving my awesome stick shift car!