Sunday, March 28, 2010
Forest Park Crit 3/28/10
A rainy, windy day made for a nice first crit as a Cat 3. I had to keep reminding those who didn't remember I catted up, that I was really supposed to be in the Open, not the Cat 4 race. I would have liked to have been in the 4s race, but there's a time for everyone to move and mine had come. Unfortunately, it brings the suffering with it.
I watched the 4's race as I warmed up under Cory's tent with Allison. Jamie, Teresa, Chris and Carrie were nearby under Carrie's tent and Alice took to the road to warm up. Our vantage point allowed us to watch Kate's awesome win, with Suzanne in a close second (Suzanne also got the prime!)
After the 4/5 race, it was my time to role to the line. The rain and wind seemed to pick up a little more but I was warm and still dry at that point. From Go, Carrie took off! We jumped and caught up with her between turn 1 and 2, only for Teresa to notice, aloud, that Jamie's rear skewer was wide open. Since it would not have been a free lap for her (not a qualifying mechanical issue), we all agreed to wait for her as she fixed it. This made for a nice slow pace for 1/4 of the lap, but once she was back, racing was underway again.
Carrie jumped again and was off like a rocket. Chris came from the back and caught Carrie with all of us chasing. Jamie nearly completed the bridge as we turned onto the back side of the course, into the headwind. We all caught back up to Jamie but Carrie and Chris were solidly away.
We fell into a decent pace but 15 minutes in a prime was called. I pulled up the little hill into turn 4 and had no gas to go when they sprinted. Jamie took the prime and I watched as the four of them rode away from me quickly. I put my head down and hammered. It took me 1 1/2 laps to catch them and I was really worn out. Fortunately no one countered for a while and I was able to rest a bit. Jamie and Teresa made an attempt to jump but didn't get away.
A crowd prime was called at about 36 minutes. As we were coming around turn 3, Carrie and Chris caught us. The pace increased again but I stayed on. I tried to go with the sprint but didn't have what I needed and Teresa and Jamie took the 1,2 prime(s). I was off the back just a little again. I fought to get back on and eventually did about 1/2 a lap later. I was hurting though and couldn't keep up with the little accelerations. Carrie even pushed me a little but I was off the back again.
I kept thinking of Phil Liggett commenting "The elastic has snapped." I was on my own for the last 5 laps, but grateful to have been there for the 40 minutes of racing beforehand.
Fortunately, Mike Weiss was the announcer and made the passes through start/finish fun and interesting. He commented how my hands were sponsored by "Wilson" tennis balls (my mittens look like bright yellow tennis balls when I am in the drops).
He even commented when I was coming through "Here comes the second field on the road" - it was JUST me!!
When I finished (finally), he announced "here comes Steph Nadeau, being lead out by Steph Nadeau. I wonder who will win the sprint?" With that I stood and gave the best sprint finish I could muster!
I finished DFL but it's the happiest DFL I've seen in a long time. I was soaked to the core and could no longer see through my rain streaked lenses.
I am impressed that I was able to bridge (a definite weak point for me in the past) and able to stick with the pack for as long as I did. Alice and I are new to the open races and this is definitely a whole new ball-game! (Incidentally, Alice stayed on until just before the last turn at the finish! ~ Great job, Alice!!)