Racing is all about momentum. This past Sunday I got that rolling for 2011.
Snowball Criterium #2, A race (P/1/2/3)
March 6, 2011
I had headed down to Chesapeake, VA this weekend to visit some former teammates, and race in the Snowball Criterium on Sunday afternoon. I was excited for my first race in NCVC/UnitedHealthcare colors, and the legs were feeling strong after a 7-day training camp in Tucson a week ago.
The early AM weather was pretty miserable, with intermittent rain and strong winds, so I went to the venue initially with the intention of just watching some friends race the earlier Women's and 3/4 races and then heading home (no reason to risk bad racing conditions for a training crit in March...) Well 2 hours before the start of the P123 race the rain stopped, sun tried to peak out, and the weather started to look promising. I figured what the hell, kitted up, and went for a ride about an hour before my race to warm up. Maybe this would turn out to be a fun, dry race afterall.
Turns out the weather gods were just toying with me and had other plans. As I finished my last warmup lap the wind picks up, clouds roll in, and it starts to rain consistently -- right before our start. Apparently all the local racers were smart enough to just stay home and had been watching radar, thus it was the smallest field I think I've ever raced in. I think there were 11 entrants.
I attacked from the gun because I had no intention of sitting in during a training race (and because when it's wet and raining the safest place is off the front). Marc Warner (CRC/TRIDIM) chased me down and the field was right on his heels. He then countered my attack which I immediately followed, and we continued to tag team the tiny field with a constant barrage of attacks for a few laps in efforts to snap the rubber band and ride away to victory. After 4-5 laps of this Marc, Bill Collins(Virginia Beach Velo), and myself got away and we immediately began rotating and taking hard pulls. It was a smooth group, and we worked well together, equally sharing pulls and time in the wind.
The 3 of us eventually built up what I was told was a 20 second gap on the chasing group of 7. With 1 lap to go the cat and mouse games began and our speed dropped very low for most of the last lap as we all began anxiously looking at each other, jockeying for position, and waiting for someone to make the first move. If anyone has ever watched a Match Sprint on the track this is basically what was playing out. We did this until right before the final corner (which is about 150m from the line), when I put it in the high gear, moved to the far left gutter so the crosswind would smack them in the face if they tried to come around me, and led out the sprint. Because it was a very windy day I had been paying attention to the wind for hours before my race so I could know where to be throughout the race and spend the least amount of time possible in the wind wasting energy. This obviously proved to be very useful and a critical part of the race for me. I jumped hard, got a gap, and was able to hold it all the way to the line. Victory tastes so sweet.