Yesterday we officially kicked off our race season with a crit in Maryville, TN. WOW, what fun!! Lisa and I represented the team; Gina, Star and Paula were all supposed to join us but were battling injury and illness when the weekend arrived; oh well, next time. We missed you ladies!!!
The women's field was big (21 women) and STRONG. We had riders from everywhere including one nationally ranked pro. Hmmm.... this was going to be a harder race than I thought. I guess that today we find out if I am ready for racing.
They said "go" and we went hard from the start. Rebecca Larsen, the Aaron's team pro was definitly the driving force and I was NOT going to let he get up the road. We immediately got a gap from the field and then one other rider bridged up. I was psyched. I figured that was the break and we were set. Suddenly the girl that bridged stopped working. AHHH. Then Rebecca stopped working because the other girl wasn't working and she didn't want to give anyone a free ride. Well I was certainly not going to pull both of them. The chase group caught us and then NO ONE was working. Have I ever mentioned that I HATE women's negative racing?? I attacked a bunch of times (and probably did more work than I needed to but I had fun), won a prime, and it ended up coming down to a sprint finish. I got pinched in the last turn by a lapped rider and took third. Ultimately, I would not have won anyway; Rebecca was STRONG and definitely was the best rider today. I think I could have taken second but that's bike racing.
Lisa rocked!!! It was only her second crit and she was in with the big dogs. She rode strong and smart and finished 8th overall, one lap down to the top 7 but her group was still way up on the rest of the field. She was the 2nd Cat4 rider; although at the rate she is going, she won't be a 4 for very much longer. Lisa, we are all so proud of how far you have come in such a short time!!!
After the women's race I decided (against my better judgement, thanks Mark...) to jump into the Cat 3 men's race to get some more intensity in. I was definitely wearing the "bad idea jeans" when I agreed to this. Not only had it gotten cold outside, I was TIRED and my legs were COLD by the time they finally started. It was UGLY. I made it almost 10 minutes before I got pulled. Oh well. I think I could have raced with them if I had been fresh and not freezing but not the first crit weekend of the year. I'm sure I'll get another opportunity to make a fool of myself in the men's race, but this was enough humble pie for a while.