Race Report | Spin The District

This weekend was just what I needed to cap off my road season. It was a lot of fun checking out the local scene, something I haven’t been able to do up until now. I reached out to my CTS coach, Jim Lehman, the day before. I wasn’t really looking to race again this year, but a few folks made an effort to personally invite me, it was really close to home, and with equal payouts for men and women, it was totally something I wanted to get behind. 

We compromised that I would ride two and from the races, and that would make up for the endurance rides that were originally planned for the weekend. Deal. 

I really enjoyed the rides to the races, I haven’t really explored much beyond my own neighborhood, so it’s always nice to have an excuse to go somewhere new. I live a little bit south east of Atlanta, and these races were in the Southwest of the city. Saturday was about 15 miles one way, and Sunday was a little under 19. 

Warm-up Jams

I pumped up the jams and basically held a solo SoulCycle course on my bike, no I didn’t do any “tap backs” or “around the world” pushups on my handbags… I’ll leave that to the spin bikes! 

Hapeville Criterium

I arrived to the race on Saturday, registered, and said Hi to the friendly folks of the Metro Atlanta Cycle Club! They’ve been so welcoming to me even before I moved to the city. It was great that they were there cheering on some other folks, and could now hoot and holler for me.

The women setup on the start line. It was a small field, but I refuse to underestimate anyone. Never a good idea. With a small field, there was the danger of this being a very long race. We all decided that this race was going to be as long as we made it and pretty much everyone took turns attacking, and keeping things exciting. It’s always a good day when folks come ready to race their bikes. 

Despite all of the attacks, nothing ever stuck, and the field stayed relatively together. The pace became a bit too much for some, and we ended up lapping a few women. There was an attack on the last lap, I didn’t feel great, but I was fairly confident that I could out sprint the field. I put myself in a pretty bad spot and found myself hanging off the back of the attack. I worked my way around the group and attacked just in time to sprint to the line with not much room to spare. A win is a win. I’ll take it. 

College Park Criterium

Sunday, I previewed the course, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. It was a day of tummy issues, and with a lot of bumpy road, and a slightly longer than favorable climb to the finish line, I knew we were in for a treat. 

The field was slightly larger than the day before, there were a few new faces. The sent us off and we got into a good pace. I truly wasn’t having a good day on the bike. I felt sick, like really sick. I disconnected a few times, much to the packs enjoyment. 

Unfortunately for them, I’m stubborn, and never gave up. Every time they’d gap me a little, I’d creep back up on them. To be honest, I was really annoyed with myself. To be honest, I was feeling a little reserved in the corners and I think that contributed to my getting gapped. I don’t think I’ve fully mentally recovered from crashing at Nationals. I’ve GOT to get over that. 

With two to go, there was a surge into to turn one just after the climb.  I disconnected again, my bike didn’t want to shift. I yelled “NO”, figured out my situation and said a little prayer before diving into the corner of turn two to try and catch up. It took me the entire lap to catch back on, but I did it. That did not help with that sick feeling, not even a little. I settled into the back of the group, and made a plan to attack hard out of the final turn. I knew if I attacked any sooner, my current (temporary) fear of the corners might convince me to hit the brakes instead of the gas. It just wasn’t worth the risk.

I flew out of the last turn, and started to pick up the pace, there was a surge, I followed the wheel as far up the hill as it could take me, slingshotted myself around, and sprinted for the line. 

Then I died.  

Okay, I didn’t die, but I felt like I was going to. I’m really proud that despite feeling like garbage, I was able to get it done. It was a good exercise in grit for me, and a reassurance of how much I can fight through when I really want to. 

I’m pretty sure I’m actually done now with my road season. Who knows what’s next, I hear CX might be coming… 

Ayesha McGowan1 Comment