Race Report from Rachel Scott
SW1-/2: 5th place
Well…it’s been one year since I’ve been in Colorado. In that time, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great women to ride with, have tried a new sport (cyclocross), enjoyed outdoor schools through my work (think boy or girl scouts for adults), traveled all over the Western Slope, finally visited Moab (and not Murfreesboro Outdoor and Bicycles in TN), incorporated mountain biking into my regular schedule, started dating a guy who drives a sprinter van (not the child molester kind), saw more snow than I have ever seen in my entire life, and developed some great friendships that go far beyond the bike. Each day, I wake up and hope not to become jaded or “used to” these mountains that I live near, despite hating them when in a hill climb or road race.
Sunday also marked my one-year anniversary of bike racing in Colorado. In 2010, I signed up for the Bannock Criterium not realizing what I was in for. Racing in Colorado is on a completely different plane. In Tennessee, the Cat 1 and 2 women raced with the men because there were so few of them; however, an abundance of 1’s and 2’s dominate the fields out here. I was a new Cat 3. I went from 600 ft elevation to nearly 6000 feet of elevation. I was scared out of my mind when I saw the field…and their legs.
Little did I know, that I would be racing with my future teammates, Vera and Joan. Even though I barely kept up and luckily didn’t get lapped, I knew I needed a MAJOR overhaul to my training if I wanted to be remotely competitive with all the talent out here.
This year I approached the race with a completely different attitude. Our race team was co-hosting it, and I have been racing with these same women week after week who put the hurtin’ on the year prior. Plus my major goal of the season-upgrade to a Cat 2 asap-was accomplished, so the pressure wasn’t there. BUT-there was one big snafu. My left leg had been hurting since I cramped on lap four of the Salida Road Race. It was entirely too early for me to cramp, but I attributed it to the lack of H20 the night before-choosing to hydrate with margaritas instead. Pushed through and finished the race vowing never to drink the night before a race again. As it turns out, it still hurt a week later–burning, stinging, not-normal hurt–and bruising started to show up too. No bueno.
Well, not racing wasn’t an option because I really wanted to do this course and had a teammate in the race who could do well. And quite honestly, I REALLY wanted an excuse to wear my new white skinsuit. So after warming up and talking with Vera, we determined if it started to hurt badly, I would take an insane flier and then get my first DNF.
Lined up on the exact opposite side I wanted, and had to get a good, fast start to get position into the first corner. Heard the whistle and took off. Got good position and then promptly floated to the back. My confidence was nil because I didn’t want my hamstring to snap or do something stupid because I was in pain and hurt myself or another rider. I rode conservatively for the first 20 minutes or so of the race until I realized that I could finish. The Map my Ride girls were trading off attacks nearly the entire race and Berta threw out a few as well. Vera closed one gap, I worked with ProDesign to close another and started making my way up near the front.
Then we hear the announcer call a $200 prime (we found out $200 value afterwards, very different) followed by Vera’s “oooh.” She and I were up front. Coming into turn 7 and up the hill, Vera moved right and laid the hammer down! She and Kasey Clark took off. Coming into the long stretch, Vera took the prime and much deserved. She must have held her sprint for 400 meters! She caused a split in the field and I moved up front to block. There was another group of 4 riders chasing Vera and Kasey. Had those 6 been able to work together, they would have definitely held the break to the finish.
The lap cards went to three laps to go, and made sure I didn’t get shuffled to the back while Cat pulled us up to catch Gwen who had just attacked as the break was caught. Lap two-no shuffling as the pace was still pretty high. Bell lap, Therese comes to the front and takes a MONSTER pull for her teammate. I was sitting 4th wheel as we came into turn 7. That’s when people started attacking the hill. My hamstring was tight but I gave it the ol’ college try. Definite separation in the field with both Map my Ride girls and a GS Boulder taking top 3. I sprinted it out with Shawnee and in the end, she had the better position and sprint. But 5th place with what I now know is a torn hamstring–I’ll take it!
What was most key in this race to me was positioning. It took a while to figure out where I wanted to be going into each turn despite this being my first ‘repeat’ race here. Also, being patient paid off. Though I anticipated on taking a little time off the bike to gear up for cross, my body determined otherwise. I’ll be off the bike for a while trying to get this sucker to heal. Next year, into my second anniversary, I’ll make sure to stretch a helluvalot more to prevent injury!