The Denver Federal Center’s SW 35+/45+ race had a solid showing for the Naked Women’s Racing team with 5 members (me, Vera, Susan, Sharon and Renee) strong in attendance. It was the perfect early season opportunity to try new things. Prior to the race, we set up our trainers together in the parking lot and got some good bonding and planning time in, not to mention the helpful tips from other racers who stopped by to chat after their races.
Given our numbers, the rest of the field was waiting for us to make the moves. As a result, we were able to control the pace and keep it reasonable. This gave us a chance to try attacks, but also to recover from them once caught. The course was a series of turns and long straights, with no protection from the headwinds. It was mostly flat with a couple of pop up hills. While not too technical, the turns were frequent enough to interrupt the flow of any good paceline. Because of this, it was actually quite difficult to be out in the front with one or two other people, and get a flow going. It took a few solid attacks before anything stuck.
We focused on attacks and immediate counter-attacks, and (the hardest part of teamwork in my opinion) solid blocking. It’s hard to resist the instinct to chase when everyone is going, but we kept our cool and let the other teams do the work to reel in any breaks. Finally, 3 off us got enough of a gap that it stuck. Given that two of us had solid teammates in the pack, I was pretty sure that if we worked hard together, we’d stay away for the rest of the race.
Being in the break was really hard, we were away for 4 of the 6 laps of the race. While we rotated in a pace line, the turns and headwinds made it quite challenging and made for little rest. In the end, I just missed the podium with a 4th place finish, which was definitely a bummer (especially since there was some debate as to how the 4th person bridged up to us). While my jumps and attacks were solid in the beginning of the race, my legs (and heart rate and lungs) were screaming by the end. However, despite the lack of podium, this was by far one of the best examples of an organized, well-communicating team. It was the most fun I’ve had in a race this year. Looking forward to many more with such a great team!