Race Report from Rachel Scott
Louisville Criterium-Colorado State Crit Championships
SW1-/2: 11th place
Now I know why your parents always told you to never play with matches…you’ll unintentionally burn the house down. I’ll admit it-I played with matches as a kid and apparently haven’t learned my lesson. And the Colorado State Championships in Longmont brought to light-pun intended-the lessons I was supposed to learn as a child. You play with matches, and you burn yourself.
This was an ‘A’ priority race of mine for the year as a Cat 3, but since my upgrade my goal was a top 5 placing instead of podium finish. It’s doable for sure if you race smart. I had teammates Vera and Joan with me to assist as well, so my plans didn’t seem too far fetched.
Joan and I road in for our warm up from Boulder with Jeff of Rocky Mounts as we both had 4 hours on our training plans for the day. Arrived with ample time to register, hit the usual bathroom break(s), find Vera and sneak in a couple laps on the course. The course was wide open, not too technical–two right-hand turns, into a left S turn, followed by a right into a long stretch before a right turn to the finish–and short at .7 miles. This would be fast and should have been the first indication to me that a break wouldn’t be able to stay away, at least not for very long.
We lined up like cattle-all trying to hover under the bit of shade a tree provided at the start line. There was a crash on the course so our start was delayed and subsequently, our time cut short from 50 to 45 min. Sweet. While waiting for the instructions from the official, they blew the whistle for us to go! Second time in a row this has happened to me! Luckily, I got a decent start and was sitting third wheel. Right where I wanted to be and had I done what I knew I needed to do, I should have stayed there. But because I missed the break by not being able to respond to an attack at North Boulder while in the damn winning break, I was making sure that I was going to get in one by god if it killed me.
So attack after attack, I chased and chased and match after match was in turn gone–all within the first 25 minutes. After one of the attacks by another girl, though I was hurting, I decided this might be a good time to go as soon as we caught them because everyone else had to be tired too from chasing. So I launched an attack and sure enough they rang the damn prime bell. Great. The one time I felt like it would be good to get away, everyone will chase. So as I was off the front, a strong Bike Law girl who did a lot of pulling as well came with. We tried to work together but in the last corner, Nichole Duke shot through a hole in the corner over a grate and took off. At that point, I knew I had nothing left.
Vera worked some tactics within the race and drug me to get on someone’s wheel, but I kept getting shuffled around. Joan also chased down an attack for me too. Having teammates makes suffering a little less painful. About 38 minutes in, I called it a day and spoke to Vera.
“I got nuthin” and we changed the plan mid-race. I tried my hardest to get up to the front in the last couple of laps to help Vera out but the pace picked up significantly because someone was off the front. Came in for the sprint and my legs felt like jello. Though I didn’t do nearly as well or race half as smart as I should have, I did manage to attack and set some paces in a 1/2 crit. That in and of itself is a small victory. I started out the season barely hanging off the back and now I’m mixing it up. Not all was lost-and significant gains were made following the race, too. Joan, Pokey and I rode to Lyons, climbed St. Vrain (I think you can label my sloth-like pace as climbing), and road back through HWY 36 hitting the rollers hard back to Jeff’s. Ouch. 70+ miles and 4 hours of intensity with a 45 minute block of 24 mph average-I’d say that was a break-thru workout.
Next up? Mount Evans Hill Climb. This will be my first 14er and doing it on a bike-this is gonna hurt….