Amanda 1.0 can’t stay out of the dirt. The cyclocrosser took to Weld County to work with our other cat 4s to secure a podium spot. Naked Women’s Racing would like to send warm, healing thoughts to all of those women who were affected by the crash.
This road race had a little bit of everything with both dirt and pavement sections. The one-mile of packed down dirt had a good line to the right. However, the remainder of the dirt path would jar your upper body, bounce around your smooth pedal stroke and toss waterbottles right out of their once secure cages and into other riders. Hence the neutral area led by a pace motorcycle was welcomed by many riders, although the cyclocross riders were a little disappointed since dirt is what we ride best and thus is a slight advantage for us. After the dirt, there was a right hand turn and then the remaining 12 miles was pavement with a few well-marked potholes and corrugated cattle guards. The neutral start came to an end a few hundred feet onto the asphalt. The previous chatty cat 4s, got into their drops and quickened the pace. Everyone was getting into a good drafting position when the unmistakable sound of beautifully designed machines clamoring into each other and fellow racers going down with them was heard. This split the pack. Worried about our cyclist friends who had crashed and hoping that everything was okay, we continued on the course. Some women in the front of the pack did not hear the crash occur. The race had dwindled from 39 people starting to the lead group of 15 women working together and I will proudly say communicating well. We were like a flock of birds trying to stay guarded from the wind and of course Amanda 2.0 AKA Goose was our fearless leader in the front making a flying V formation and keeping her teammates (and others) out of the wind.
Team tactics had been discussed prior to the race but we were also in contact during the race to ensure there were no changes. 2.0 would gently remind me to draft when my urge-to-surge would kick in. We completed the first lap and then turned back onto the dirt once again, this seemed to go better the second time. Four miles to the finish, a racer attacked. 2.0 had been pulling for almost the entire race and our other teammate was strong at hills and thus was a more likely candidate to do well at the end of the race, so I chased the racer. I was several feet away from her when I felt like I had nothing left. How could I get so close to bridging the gap and then give up now but I had nothing left? That is when Shelley Hartman saved the day. She was on my wheel, came around and proceeded to bridge the remainder of the gap. The pace picked up as we were nearing the end of the race.
This is such a supportive and amazing group of riders. As we approached the finish, you could hear people cheering for each other, 2.0 telling me that I could keep going (even though my body vehemently disagreed with her) and Breeze Brown from Primal Women’s Racing pulling me back into the group after I started to yo-yo off the back. I did get dropped with 1K to go but it did not matter. The most important part of racing is having fun and being with other supportive women. The win does not build as many memories as the camaraderie and connection between these women. That being stated, our teammate Brittany Jones did get 3rd place that day and congrats to her for racing smart and sticking with our plan.
Added bonus to this race report our 2.0s quotes of the day:
1. “If you want your race numbers (there were two) to fit, eat a sandwich.”
2. As we were all climbing the last section of the race, “Every climber that I beat up this hill, owes me a beer.”
3. Very end of the race, “Shut up legs.” This got a mid breath chuckle from many riders and someone later stated that they thought, “Yeah legs SHUT UP.”