I have never worked for teammates before. In fact, last year I didn’t have any teammates in my category. So the prospect of riding and racing with my team this year was really exciting. But let’s step back a second. My cycling coach also coaches the DU Cycling Team, and I am a graduate student at DU. He convinced me to do a handful of early season races (March – April) in the collegiate division because: they needed women, it would be good practice, I could garner upgrade points, and the fields are sizable enough (~25) to practice all the skills of the trade.
Well this past weekend was my third collegiate cycling race, and I have gotten top 5 in each one! This weekend however I got the opportunity to work for a teammate, who was going for a podium finish to get her upgrade to “A”. So I got to do my share of “work” at the CSU circuit race, which had 3 x 8 mile laps, with one 90 second hill and one 1 mile stretch of dirt in each lap. Everything else was smooth sailing (literally). So my tactic was to get in front on the flats leading up to and in the dirt, power up the climb, and coast on the ridge and the downhill. We gradually broke the pack of 27 down to a pack of 7. It was fun being in front (for the most part), I got to drive the pace, pick my line, and not worry about girls crashing in front of me or braking too much (there are still a lot of squirrely gals in this division).
So all in all it worked out, my teammate got 3rd, I got 4th, and we were both 6 inches out of 2nd. Always something to work on (sprint!) but great race training and fun too. Collegiate cycling has been good early-season training, and now I am over halfway to an upgrade, but we’ll see if I can stretch that out. Still need to practice some technical skills!
How did I get so prepped this season? A training plan that started in January. Cat 2 teammates that drilled me into shape like Rachel Scott, Vera Divenyi, and Ingrid Alongi. Cornering practice with the TriBella girls. And getting my confidence up to go for it.
This next weekend I am going for the podium at the Air Force Academy 🙂 And then back to a season of fun racing with TriBella!