I went out to PA and Washington, DC for my kids spring break. The kids had an insanely long break and Jason was able to work a bit from the road so he didn't have to take the entire time off, and we had a great time. I always get some great riding in when we head out that way, and just for kicks I decided to see if there were any races near DC, since we'd be there on the weekend. Sure enough, in Charlottesville, VA there was a road race. I'd heard that it was mountainous there so I wasn't sure what business I had as a crit rider from Chicago entering the race but I decided to give it a go. We were supposed to do 5 laps of a 10 mile circuit. I rode well and hung in just fine on the hills. I covered any attacks and even threw down a few of my own. They ended up shortening our race, which was a bummer. I was pleased to finish with the front group, but really messed up the sprint. So I chalked the day up to a nice training ride. I missed sight seeing at Mt.Vernon, and I was pondering my choice as I sat in horrible traffic for 3.5 hours on the way home.
Lincoln Park Crit
I was excited to race a crit, as Sarah and I are heading to Speedweek and I haven't done any fast races yet! I love races that I can ride to! Hometown races are the best, though I always feel pressure when people are there watching, and the entire Spidermonkey team was there to cheer us on. I jumped in the men's 1/2 race, because the pace of that race would more simulate the pace of the races at Speedweek. This course has hairpin turn in it and it's right on the lakefront, so it's always windy. This year the wind was coming out of the west so you came out of the hairpin directly into the headwind. I think of myself as a pretty good cornerer but I got dropped on the hairpin every time! I rode with a chase group for a while, but still the hairpin would get me! After about 45 minutes I just decided I'd had enough and dropped out. Sarah had also raced a men's race earlier in the day met me to watch our Spidermonkey cat 4 teammates race. We had 9!! It was awesome and they did great. PWP's Lauren Wissmen and Kelly Clarke among them. It was a very animated cat 4 race and looked super tough-really impressive. Then it was time for us to race. Sarah and I were psyched to be racing together! We took turns attacking but nothing got away. It was frustrating but in retrospect I should have just tried harder (isn't that always the case?). In the end I really screwed up the finish (this is starting to be a pattern this year--did I forget how to race over the winter?) and waited too long to start my lead out. Skylar Schneider took me by surprise by jumping early and I wasn't able to get on her wheel. The finish line got there before I could catch her. Sarah and I finished 2/3.
The next day I met my tandem partner Kim in Maple Park, IL for the John Fraser TT. It was very nasty weather, very windy and 40 degrees with intermittent rain. Good times! Kim and I have ridden together on the track, but never on the road. When Kim originally asked me if I would like to do some road stuff with her, I was thinking that our first event would be in July so we'd have plenty of time to practice. However, next weekend we are going to SC for a UCI paralympic race, and we had not ridden together once! We are super excited, but I was nervous since we would be doing a TT and a Road Race, and I don't know how a tandem would handle. Everyone I spoke with said it would be fine, that the track tandem is harder and if we could do that and if I knew how to race a regular road bike we'd have no problem. Still the JFTT was going to be our only chance to practice. It was quite a relief to get on the bike and find that we were pretty comfortable! The only thing we encountered was on the turn arounds (there were two) we had to come to a complete stop, unclip, turn the bike and then get up to speed again. Next weekend, the turn arounds will be wider and we should be able to take them with out stopping. On the whole I felt great on the bike and much more comfortable going into next weekend.