Marc posed this question as we cooled off and had a bite to eat after his race. Having had some time to think about it, here's what I got:
- Be aggressive. A good defense might keep you in the top bunch but an aggressive offensive may win the race. I know this one in theory -- heck my dad has been pounding it into my head for years, but it takes a while to build the confidence to apply it. During the KC crit I finally began to feel some confidence and attack a little. Ended up being out in front nearly the whole time, but was feeling strong so kept hitting the pace hard. In my mind, I kept thinking of how much time Jon Randall spent out in front at the Norfolk crit and that gave me confidence to keep crankin' it. It also helped to see Marc on the corner - helped me stay strong and represent.
- If an experienced racer like Marc is there and offers to ride the course, listen up. He rode the course with me and offered some suggestions like what side to take and some warm-up suggestions. I did what he said and it paid off big time. On the downhill switchback, the other women in my group had their brakes clamped down, but thx to the advice to stay left, I was able to sweep around the curve, which opened a gap. This followed by an application of power made the others have to work harder to stay on my tail.
- No brake corners. The crit was another chance to apply what both Tim F. and Marc had been telling me..... be aggressive in the turns and stay off the brakes. Tim told me a while ago that women tended to play it safe in the turns and that if I could learn to no brake 'em, I'd have an advantage. So, between practicing that on the street and working hard to hang with the MWC crowd in Wilderness, my turns have really improved and effort paid off hugely this weekend.
- Race to win. Watching the cat 1/2 men is always informative. Got to watch a break and then a failed attempt to catch it. When the break happened, Marc jumped to the front of the group to try and start a chase group, but unfortunately there were no takers. Had he been joined by some guys, they might well have been able to sweep up to the breakaway group. By not joining, the guys in that group basically resigned themselves to racing for 10th place (at best) and doomed Marc to the same fate 'cause one person alone cannot catch a breakaway group working together. So, if I am in a race, and see a break happen that I'm not on and don't have a teammate on, I need to jump out there immediately and see if I can get something going, 'cause I am racing to win, not just to place. Moreover, if someone else takes that lead before me, I need to pump it up and immediately help.
- Teamwork is key. This was the first race where I really got to work with someone else, and boy was it fun. Shari and I were both lacked teammates so we hooked up to work together and rocked it in both the road race and the crit. How it happened: I checked out the chicks I was racing with and looked for the most conditioned physique and then watched her ride the first lap. My plan was to get up beside and convince her to make a break with me. Shari had decided to do the same with whoever came off the top of the devil hill first. So, 'bout midway the second lap we were parallel and I said, "let's go," and after confirming we'd made a deal, we started makin' some good time and opened a gap the other gals couldn't close . We were also able to catch the bulk of the women who started 30 sec before us. . If you don't have teammates, make a friend.
Oh, and I've decided I love sports photographers. They're always making you look good. ;)
Cliff Drive Classic
Overland Park Crit