Michelle's right, NRC racing is the way to go
Whew. Talk about exciting. Sixty minutes as hard as I've ever raced Saturday night. the announcer said there were 60 to 70 women lined up to start. Of those, 35 got blown off the pack and didn't finish the race. The attacks kept flying and staying in that front 20 as my team captain had told me to do was real work. I slipped back a couple of times after hard efforts, but for the most part, I was able to hold my position, move around, jump on accelerations and even got into a break. Unfortunately, the break didn't go despite having reps from the big three (Colavita, Cheerwine and Aaron's). I don't know why it didn't, but my coach said there were several reasons, especially in a series race where points are given for placings. It may have been that the right team representative wasn't in the break. For example, if Colavita wanted Tina Pic to win, then if Tina wasn't in the break, the Colavita representative might not work, which could lead to a domino effect with other riders sitting up. Who knows? But, I'm starting to understand how helpful it would be to have a savvy director whose primary function is to stay on top if stuff like that. This road racing is COMPLICATED and when you're riding out there wondering if your heart is going to explode out your chest and your legs are stealing the oxygen from your brain, it's hard enough to just remember to keep track of who made the attack, who's off the front, etc. LET ALONE try and analyze the race in light of other races.
Unfortunately, I did get a little cowardly at the end Saturday. Two women ahead of me coming out of the 3rd corner were pretty upset with one another. There was some bumping and angry hollerin' and then the other cut across the front of the first. All that was on my mind was the granite block curb and I let off on the gas. I felt quite satisfied with my performance and wasn't going to get mixed up on the pavement. BUT I regretted that decision as soon as I saw the results. They paid 30 places and letting off the pressure put me out of the money at 34th. Sigh. My team should have been upset about that, but they were gracious and let me off easy. Though, I think it might be a one-time pass.
I worked harder Sunday to keep focused on my position and was right where I wanted to be on the final laps, but chose my side poorly. I went right and the open lane was left. I should have known this because I'd been seeing it happen every lap, but I didn't think about that and paid the price by running into a traffic jam. Again, just out of the money.
All in all, it was a great learning weekend and well worth the driving time. I'm going into Joe Martin feeling that although still inexperienced in comparison, I've the fitness and capability to hold my own with the majority of the field. You might not think this is a big deal, but Joe Martin last year was one I raced as a three and where I experienced my first conscious feeling of being completely 'star struck.' I remember how fit and strong the pro/1/2 women looked and how confident they stood and rode. I wanted to be like that, and now, 12 hard training months later, I'm getting to line up with 'em and they're not spitting me out the back. Although, it should be noted the pro teams had raced all of Speed Week and I was coming in with fresh legs, so under different conditions, I might get my ass kicked into the adjoining state. And you know, that would be fine. It'd just make me work harder.