I had that good feeling heading into 93 miles. I wasn’t really nervous even though this was the longest road race I’d had ever raced. We started out SO conservatively which was very surprising since there was a KOM at mile 5 and mile 10, then sprint points at mile 20. It was a giant group ride.
The first KOM came and went almost like nothing happened. Then something happen for us (Kenda). Amity and Parrish attacked the group right after the first KOM. SWEET! This means I have something to do, to think about. So up to the front I went. Sitting in the top 3-8 riders checking out what was going on. Soon Gaby and Jenny were up there with me doing our best keeping eyes out for anything. However Optum pretty much just kept their train. They didn’t like us there, however none of their verbal abuse even came close to pushing me back. As long as I have a reason to be up there, I will be. With that we stayed up there while Amity and Parrish took KOM at mile 10 and also the sprint points (in reverse order) at mile 20!! Hell yes, pretty cool little move and show of strength. Proud of my teammates! Shortly after the sprint points they came back. The race continued with some fireworks off the front for about 10 miles and then simmered again. Really uneventful. Fine by me as road racing isn’t my strength (yeah, we’ve been over this). Miles 40-50 were hard for me because the road was a chopped mess of bumps and I felt every one of them in my wrist. I thought if this continues there is no way I’ll get 93 miles in. It seemed to get better as I didn’t remember much until we hit Cannon Falls again. We went through town and on one corner a few girls went down. Then the weirdest shit happened…they STOPPED the road race on our route out of town! Seriously it was mayhem of girls dropping trou and getting feed from support vehicles (yes, I took part). It was all due to a sheriff that had taken the 3 girls off the front down the wrong road in town!! Idiot. So we lined up, gave the 3 girls with the break their start and continued on our way.
For no good reason there was a crash a few miles later. I had been a big slacker sitting in the back, got around it, but had a lot of road to cover back to the pack. I burned some serious matches trying to bridge. I didn’t want to leave it up to the caravan to help me just in case so I put everything I had into it. Then the caravan came. I tried to get on one car that had a few chasers, but didn’t have it in me to speed up onto it. Finally Sophie came through with the Birchwood team car and I sucked that draft like I needed my life saved. Slowly I got back into the pack.
Since Optum made their train at the front nothing happened. Neither Lululemon or Tibco made any moves that stuck or moves at all. Optum was just protecting jerseys and only let smaller teams have breaks leave here and there.
There was a climb that I nearly fell off the back around mile 70ish. I was tired and there was feed at the top that I needed. I got back in with a little use of the legs. It was time to focus on moving up for the gravel section. The whole time thinking about gravel I was most concerned about girls keeping it up straight. I moved myself to the top third of the pack…perfect. When we hit the gravel around mile 80ish I realized quickly that my position was good, but I had something a lot worse to think about…the bumps! The gravel was about 1-2 miles long and sadly my arm was done. I no longer could hold my bars on the right side without shooting pain. It sucked as I flew backwards in the pack and soon off the back. I rode the remaining 1-2 miles slowly and knew after that even if I got into the circuits I won’t be a safe rider with my inability to hold the bars correctly. 83 miles is all she wrote and being off the back by a minute got us pulled from the race with a qualifying time for tonight’s crit.
I feel okay body-wise, but my arm concerns me. I will be taking some asprin or ibprofin in route tomorrow if I continue after tonight. I’d like to continue but it really sucks not being 100%. This race is something I’d been thinking about since October last year as a target and the best I can do now is a stage placing.
Any ways thank you all for the support who read this and send me messages! Hope to see a lot of faces tonight cheering on all our local gals who are racing!