Ru Paul told me I was a Champion! She was Right!
Two weeks ago I was in South Carolina beaming from ear to ear for getting 27th place in my first Pro Race! I've learned to celebrate the seemingly small victories just as much as the obvious huge wins. Yesterday I was able to check another thing off of my 2015 Goals list. I am officially the Cat 3 Women's NY State Road Champion. So freaking Rad!!!!!
While I was dancing in the parking lot, I realized that my hard work, my new attitude, and all the support I've received along the way helped me win. I've worked my butt cheeks off and it's totally been working out. Hooray!
So here's a list of all the things that have happened since my last post.
Red Hook Crit:
What a race! Someone ran into my wheel mid hair-pin turn causing me to come loose from my pedal. There was definitely some profanity happening, but I had a one second mini meeting with myself and decided that my race totally wasn't over. I clipped my shoe back into my pedal and worked my way back to the lead pack. It was the first time ever I felt so confident that I wasn't going to race by myself in the wind until the end. I knew I could catch up, and I did. Such a great feeling. I finished the race in 9th place. Considering the fact that last year I didn't finish at all, I'm considering it a job well done!
6 Days of Kissena:
I only got to race one of the 6 days, but it was a heck of a time. My teammate Rosael was in the running for the leaders jersey so I came to work for her to win. Rosael and I came up with strategies to ensure that she would take the omnium that day. I was amazed by how much energy I still had left the day after Red Hook. We worked very well together, and she came out on top. I took third place! All in a days work!
Will and I drove down to South Carolina to compete in the Park Circle Criterium, and the Downtown Walterboro Criterium. These would be my first ever Pro 1/2/3 races. The competition was stiff, and many of the girls were names that I've been following from afar. It was pretty cool to get to race (behind) with them!
Park Circle was a short relatively rectangular course, the turns weren't too sketchy and there was plenty of space. The start of that race was probably the hardest 15 minutes i've ever spend on a bike. It was sooo friggin fast. I was hanging off of the back and it seemed as though eventually I was going to get dropped. Will and our friend Kareem were cheering from the sidelines. Every time I passed them, I had this look of , "i'm not gonna make it you guys" plastered all over my face. Then I had one of those 1 second mini meetings again, and I said "Not today, I can do this". I noticed that I was falling behind in the turns, and if I was going to last till the end, I was going to have to get a lot closer to the wheel in front of me and start my sprints out of the turns a little sooner. Worked like a charm! I clung on to the end, finishing in 27th place. I was so focused on drafting the wheels in front of me that I didn't even realize it was the last lap. There were a bunch of primes (sprint laps) towards the end, and then the final sprint happened and it was over! I wasn't anywhere near first, but I also wasn't last, and most importantly I FINISHED!
Downtown Walterboro was my second Pro 1/2/3 race, so naturally I was so amped up from finishing the day before that I was ready to try some new things and get a little competitive. The course was a bit trickier than most road crits i've done, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. The good thing was that the turns were more technical which made the pace seems less challenging. There were a few moments where I was falling behind, but I caught back up and tried to burrow myself into the pack as best as I could. It was pretty disappointing watching Amy Cutler go down, but I've gotten better at not trying to worry about anything but the task at hand while racing. I knew she was a tough cookie and regardless of the result of the fall, she'd be back and better than ever eventually! I saw a team congregating their train to make it to the front during the last lap. I tried to jump on, but my reaction time was far too slow. Another train was going by, and I caught on to that one. Took the final two turns on the inside, and sprinted to the finish. 20th place! I'll take it!
Lucarelli Cup (Prospect Park):
I finally mustered the courage to race with the boys! I mean, I raced with the Pro 1/2/3 women, so how bad could the Cat 4 men field be? Super fun! There are so many boys on bicycles! I'd never been in such a large field. I'd also never raced with 3 other teammates! For the most part the pace was reasonable, not too fast, not too slow. The highlight for me was watching Will lead out Daryl to solidify his title as King of the Mountain. Teamwork in bike racing just makes it feel more real, not to mention it adds a game like quality to the whole thing. You can strategize more, and do your part to make the race more inconvenient for folks who aren't on your team. The last few laps were pretty fast, I was struggling to eat a gel and fell off the back for a second. I decided the gel wasn't worth it, shoved it in my pocket and tucked back into the group. I saw my teammate Erich moving to the front, so I hopped on his wheel and let him carry me up! The final hill was a cluster of madness, angsty men upset that I was in their way. Since the race didn't count for anything I moved out of their way and let them sprint it out. It was really fun getting to race in the same field as Will! It was also great practice for moving within the pack, strategizing, teamwork, and confidence building. Lots of fun!
CRCA Bear Mountain Classic (NY State Road Championships):
This was my first ever climbing race. I don't consider myself a climber, so I made a plan not to try for King of the Mountain, or the Sprint to ensure that I had energy left for the far more valuable championship win. The course is a 17 mile loop, the Cat 3 Women/ Masters had to go around 3 times. The first time was brutal. I wasn't completely confident I had it in me to go around twice more. Let's take a note that the Women's 1/2 field did 6 laps.... (moment of silence for their legs). By the second lap I had talked myself into hanging on, The course is front loaded with hills, so by the time I reached the start finish line both times I felt nearly fully recovered. "Yes I Can" was in full effect and I was ready for lap 3. I worked to stay between 2nd and 5th wheel in fear of a breakaway attempt. I repeat, I am not a climber, so I couldn't take the risk of losing the leaders.
Jamie Soper earned the mess out of that King of the Mountain title. The girl can climb, and that's pretty impressive considering she just got her Cat 3 upgrade within the past two weeks! Nuts! When we were approaching the finish, I was being boxed in, it wasn't looking good. Luckily the girls in front drastically upped the pace creating room for me to get around. I looked back for the all clear, swooped to the left, up and around! Once there was a lane for me, I took off. Downhill finishes are weird, I was sprinting as hard as I could, but I ran out of gears! I was spinning out! I kept pushing anyway and tried my best to catch Amy Miner. She got me. I was heart broken for about 2 minutes, then a girl told me she was a Master! She was also from Vermont, so either way the title was mine! Amy came up to me after the race and asked who I was. Apparently I gave her a run for her money! Always a pleasure. Super congrats to Natalie Tapias for taking the Omnium for the weekend! So good!
I'm so proud, and I'm not afraid to pat myself on the back and buy myself a burrito for a job well done. A friend's father once told me "Don't try to be better than other people, always try to be better than yourself". He was so right.
Ok, that's enough rambling for now! Consider yourself updated! Check my instagram below for highlight pictures from all of these races! Woot!