Eye of the Liger
Went out to Snelling this weekend for the races.
Our Cat 3 team has been having a blast so far, so I was looking forward to this event.
We of course, had all kinds of plans for the race. Who was going to do what and when. We think we're so smart.
We had about 30 something women in our race. I like that. The wind started picking up. I like that even better. And no hills had suddenly popped up on the course. I like that the best.
Lots of team represented, including Alto Velo, Davis, Mako, EMC, Mintys, Bellas and others. It was all the usual slow and go for the first lap.
About midway through the second lap, my wing man Laura flatted. I was devastated. I looked around to see where the other bellas, Nancy and Heidi, were, and they were gone too. And so was about a quarter of the field. (Turned out that someone threw tacks across the road)
So now I was all alone. All of our planning....suddenly meant nothing. My usual job in the race...now irrelevant. I had a small moment of panic. But then, as I took stock of the situation, I felt a little liberated.
Although I will completely slay myself for my teammates, and they are my inspiration for training so hard and the reason I am still trying and training, I would be lying if I didn't say that once in a while, just once every once in a while, it would be nice to ride a little ... ummm .... selfishly ... just to see.
So I changed game plans. Being a solitary rider amongst teams, I could not chase everything down (Or so I thought but have since been told that thats what a solo rider has to do - blech). I decided to let other teams chase, but to watch for breaks that contained the major teams.
At the beginning of lap 3, a break sort of slid off the front in the cross wind. It was lovely in its subtlety. I saw it happening but noted that it contained none of the teams in the pack, so I was not worried.
Then I waited just a wee bit too long for those teams to react. And when they didnt, or couldn't, I tried to get across. And I failed pretty miserably. The pack caught me before I caught them.
My move, the cross winds, and our frantic chase splintered the peloton. Now we were only about 8 chasing 4.
I was hoping to catch my breath and then get the group organized to chase. With 2 mintys, 2 davis and 3 emc, I figured organizing shouldn't be a problem. Except one super strong minty kept surging super hard and then going to the back to rest, then rushing to the front to surge super hard. Her efforts were valiant, but all they did was disrupt our chase. Her surges meant that we had to jump on her wheel, and then recover.
At one point it looked like we were going to organize, Alexis from Tibco and Amanda from Davis were great at trying to get our little chase to calm down and to organize. We finally got the rotation going and were ready to pick up steam. We inched closer to the group...when Minty surged again. Sigh.
I watched the group of four ahead crab crawl up the road.
There comes a point when you need to flee the sinking ship.
Unfortunately it was Carrie Potter, not me that fled. And I second guessed my ability to make it to her.
And she made it across.
I was so mad at myself. What was I afraid of? Failing and getting dropped? Yes.
I was taking my turn at the front on the bumpy section while i was ruminating all of this. I was way over on the wind side of the road so that I could give my chase mates plenty of room in the cross wind. When Minty surged hard on the complete other side of the road, leaving me to scramble yet again from my spot at front to get on her wheel.
Now I was pissed at me and pissed at minty (only race pissed, not for real pissed). And mad that I kept being so damn afraid. I mean maaaaaad. And I don't get mad.
I vowed to shred the pack apart if I had to and to get across to that break. And if I didn't then I was going to lay it all out in the field sprint even though it was for the last of the tshirt spots.
At that moment I didn't care if I got dropped. I didn't care if I pissed off minty. I didn't care if my legs couldn't handle what my heart wanted. For the first time in a long time I wanted a chance to win. I mean really wanted....a visceral want.
And then I flatted.