I have been looking forward to this race for some time now. In the back of my mind, this race was tagged as a big one and one that I wanted to win, but I was trying not to get too worked up about it. In the past couple of years, I have finished 2nd THREE times in State Championship races. Twice in the road race and once in the crit. I admit it, I was tired of taking 2nd. Granted, I took 2nd to some wicked chicks, who really deserved the win, but I was thinking that my time had come. I wanted this one.
The race is at my home course at Greentree. YAY. That right there makes it all the more fun for me. After all, I spend nearly every Thursday night there getting whomped and sometimes whomping the boys! So, why not spend a beautiful Sunday morning there with the ladies!
The field was relatively small, with about 15 Cat 1/2/3 women and 3 Cat 4 ladies on the start line. There were certainly some riders of note in the field - Beth Bonilla (who won Medford last weekend and took 1st in the Crit Championship last year), Jackie Paull, Betty Tyrell, Beth Renner and some of the other Riptide gals, and a crew from Montclair Cylery. With two teams of women there, I wanted to make sure that I raced SMART.
I tried to be patient at the start. I went to the front to set a pace that I hoped would be upheld as the race continued. It worked, for the most part, and the tempo stayed relatively steady throughout the race. Betty, Beth and I all launched attacks early on in the race. I got away at one point, but got reeled back in.
Then, with about 12 laps to go, Betty and Beth launched an attack up the hill on the right hand side. I was on the left side and weaved through a few riders to get on Beth's wheel. I came around her as we rounded the corner and floored it. When I came around the next bend and looked behind me, no one was there. I just kept going. Beth and I had talked before hand and one of our strategies was to get one of us off the front solo and to have the other bridge up. So, I figured that she was going to do her best to bridge up to me. Apparently, there were a few attempts behind me by folks to bridge, but none of them were successful. I was just up there gunning it the best that I could - keeping my pace high and my cadence steady.
I was nervous for a while, even while I was getting time gaps: 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 1 MINUTE! With about 4 to go I realized that barring a crash or a flat, I was actually going to win this! With 1 to go, I was euphoric! Coming across the line with a massive victory salute about 3/4 of a lap in front of the field was AMAZING! Beth won the field sprint for 2nd, which was also awesome!
I am so happy! And so glad that my coach George and my former teammate and good friend Dana were there to cheer me on! THANK YOU for being there! It was awesome. Thanks to Teresa DiSessa for the photos from the race! :)
Winner, winner, Porkchop dinner!!