about that race

September 20, 2010 § 2 Comments

In my last snippet of a post I promised I had both a report of the Two Bridges Circuit Race and a season wrap-up up my sleeve. I’m afraid I have already waited too long to be able to be clever about it all, but I do want to mention it.

I’ll start with the season as a whole, because the win was really a culmination of a lot of good juju that happened over the last eight months. The jump to Touchstone was a good one for me, and I’ve been riding outside of my comfort zone (in the good way) for most of this year. I’ve been lucky to ride in support of a teammate who’s pretty much unstoppable (which gave me the luxury to push myself in ways I wouldn’t have been able to focusing on my own results), and I have had a really fabulous time of it. Throw a really fast new bike on top of that and I am a happy girl.

Which brings us to last Sunday. I’d spent the last few weeks wishing on falling stars, hay trucks, clocks showing all the same digits and every other wishing talisman I came across that I would win one of the two races last weekend. In reality I didn’t expect to race for myself; I really wanted to end on a high note but I wasn’t the team’s best shot for an omnium victory, and so it was highly likely that I would work for the team all weekend.

Saturday I raced for the team but more conservatively than I have been this year — attacking strategically instead of like a drunken squirrel — and squeaked out third in the field sprint for fifth overall. It felt good to be up there in the sprint, and the team won. We were set up pretty well in the omnium going into Sunday. Perfect.

Sunday started as a drunken-squirrel day for me. I sprinted off the line in order to get the hole shot for the first (180-degree) turn, and I got a gap going through it:

Photo by Woo

At that point I was all-in to help the team win the omnium, so I put my head down and started pushing. Two other riders joined me after a lap solo, but we were brought back halfway through the second lap. There were some other moves that happened, but I forget the details. Not enough oxygen will do that to you.

In the second half of the race I came back to the front after recovering from an effort to see a break of three ten or fifteen seconds off the front. The two teams we were competing against in the omnium were represented, we were not. Oops. I managed to bridge across before the break hit the incline that had been sapping all my speed, and shortly thereafter we were joined by a fifth rider. We started rotating.

The field stayed on us until about five laps to go when they sat up and were gone. That was the point at which my heart sank — I had to win this race. With the pack right on us I felt pretty smug, because I knew I had the strongest rider & team in the field and if the break were caught we’d still win. Now it was up to me, and that’s a position I wasn’t very used to.

I spent the next four laps devising my strategy (stop working with one to go, sprint like hell through the last corner) and repeating “you are going to win this bike race” over and over in my head. By the last lap there wasn’t any alternative. And somehow, beautifully, it worked.

The woman I had pegged as my main competition in the sprint planted herself on my wheel with one to go & wouldn’t budge. She had the advantage as we approached the line, but I managed to hold her off by half a bike. Holy shit.

Photo by Jeff Namba

I still haven’t mastered the victory salute, but this one is waaaaaay better than last time. Note my teammate Carol celebrating in the background.

And now I have a vacation to enjoy, a half-marathon to run (I know, I know), and bikes to sell. Who needs sleep, anyway?

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