I'll try to sum up this awesome weekend in as brief a blog post as possible. Which, if you know me and my posts, brevity is going to be a tall order
TT course Pre-Ride:
With my modified Specialized Amira, I rode alongside EPS rider and compatriot Deborah Leedale-Brown and the Yellow Rocket to preview a TT course that was old to the race, but new to me. It was awesome... complete with a Category 5 climb, screaming descents, and BEARS! Yep... a momma bear and a cub were spotted just a few miles into the course. That had to be good luck, right?
I felt great on the bike and with the help of my pig sticker and disc wheel, I managed to put in a great effort to finish 3rd on the day! I think I could have gone a bit faster... especially considering that I nearly got nailed by a van that turned on to the course near the end and that I nearly missed my start - 8:00 start time and I show up at the line at 7:59.53. Yeah... a bit too close for comfort, but at least my adrenaline was rushing when I went up the Cat 5 climb!!!
It wasn't much of a crit... with only 2 real turns, it was more like circuit race. Still, it had one little punchy climb and a rather tricky and short sprint to the line. I knew that positioning was going to be a major thing for this race. I watched the first and second placed ladies in the GC... marked every more that they made, and ended up having a great sprint for 3rd on the day. This put me tied for 3rd for the GC, with the winner of the TT - since TT placement determines ties, I was technically 4th in the GC.
After a lot of this on Saturday night...
We headed to the road race on Sunday...
It was raining and rather miserable at the start. With my Honey Stinger chews in my pocket and my bottle of Cerasport, I was ready for one more race! There was a brief breakaway from 1st and 2nd in the GC on lap 2, but after we worked our rear ends off to get them back it settled in for the rest of the race. Once again, a bear graced us with its presence, running across the road in front of the field on lap 3 and causing a slight bit of panic! Man... those things are BIG!!
People were clearly tired and though my legs felt quite good (yay), the finish was a MESS! I lost all positioning and just got swarmed, finishing a terribly disappointing 15th.
In the end, I managed to hold on to 5th in the GC, which makes me quite happy. This was my first true stage race (ToAD doesn't count) since 2011!!! So, I feel like this was a great foray back into the realm of stage racing. I'm sure that I'll be back again next year - hopefully with more teammates and friends in tow.
Thanks for a great race weekend, Skylands Cycling!!