Nicole asked how the scrape
came to be.... well.... here's the story.
I wanted to win at Joe Martin, but knew the uphill time trial and the extra short crit wouldn't play to my strengths, so I had to make the most of the road race, which was also shorter than I'd hoped.
I consider my greatest strength right now to be an ability to wind it up and hammer for a long time. Thus, I had to get away as soon as possible in the RR and build as big a time cushion as I could because I knew there would be at least 1-4 other women who wanted a win as bad as me.
The biggest uphill was right at the start of the race pretty much and that was the first pack split and I think about 8 of us came off the front. After some discussion about was there a split and how many were there me, Anne, and AnnaJean stayed at the front of the group and started pulling. Pretty soon, it was just us three, and we hammered. This gave me a chance to observe how strong my companions were and how well both, esp. AnnaJean, climbed. I didn't think I could get away from them on an uphill jump and wasn't pulling away on the flats. Thus, when a long fast decent with a sharp corner presented itself and some apprehension was expressed along with recommendations for considerable slowing, I perceived an opportunity.
Maybe, just maybe, if I descend fast enough and sweep the corner I can get out of the line of sight, hammer like hell, and get away. Speed doesn't bother me and everything seemed a-ok speed and distance wise. The gap was opening as planned and I was perfectly comfortable UNTIL I began to feather my brakes.
You see, our race start was 10 miles from the finish. Thus, we'd taken a shuttle to get there and just before I got on the shuttle, my rear tire popped and I'd had to quickly change a flat. Then, after I got off the shuttle, POW! another flat. I borrowed a tube from my good friend Jen and quickly changed the tire again. This time I asked her to double-check my tire and rim in case I'd missed something. Totally smooth, but I was really twitchy about that rear wheel.
Five minutes before the race started, I got off my bike and inspected the rear tire again and found the problem. There was a crack in the tire and a tiny bubble of tube was beginning to show. Crap. I quickly ran to the wheel truck and grabbed my carbon rear wheel, swapped 'em out, and hoped for the best.
Now, you have to keep in mind that I'd only used the carbon wheels once so far and that was a time trial in 40 mph wind, so there weren't high speeds involved and little cause for brake usage. So, when I began to feather the brakes on my breakaway descent, the rubber pads weren't smooth. Instead, they grabbed at the carbon surface and there was a small skid. Yikes! I released my grip and tried to feather again. The bike shuddered and the corner was coming up way too fast and I noticed that if I missed the turn lotsa rock was my fate. I applied pressure as gently as I could but pretty soon I locked it down. The back end started fishtailing like crazy and I so nearly kept it upright, but just at the last I went down on the right side then slid on my behind to a stop while the other two women went round the corner and began to disappear down the road.
I jumped up and snatched up the bike, gave it a quick check to see if the bars were lined up, jumped on and chased up to the other women. My leg and arm burned and I was missing chunks of skin off the knuckles closest to my nails on the left hand, but there wasn't much blood and after AnnaJean sort of gave me a "told you so" we took off again. Anna Jean was probably right, but I remain convinced I would have made that turn just fine if I'd had my other wheels. Consequently, I'm going to spend some extra time on these carbon sew-ups so I feel as comfortable with their behavior as I do my clinchers.