Since I got to St. Louis early I was able to do a short spin on the road race course and head up the first climb, running into a few guys from DePaul who let me tag along. Knowing that this was one of three difficult climbs every lap of the course (with three laps for the women's A field) I had fair warning that the road race was going to be a tough one, especially with the trio of Ashley (Lindenwood), Katie and Coryn (Marian) driving the pace.
Made a sight seeing stop to the top of a nuclear waste/superfund site. Didn't know that's what it was until I was on top.
The real reason I like travelling for races.
Start of the Women's B/C/Intro race.
I rode solo through the descent before dropping back to a group of four that included Stephanie and Emily (Marian), though Emily and I soon dropped them and headed off the two of us. By the time the second lap came around we had caught Marisol (Lindenwood) and Hannah (Lindsey Wilson). Coming back to the first climb on the second lap we caught Allie (Marian) who had suffered a flat tire. This whole time the small group ahead of us was within sight, but just out of reach as the wind picked up and the climbs every few miles began to take a toll. We had agreed to keep it easy on the climbs and so finished the second lap as a group, though we lost Allie to another flat in the process.
The third lap rolled around and we still had the small group ahead of us in sight along the curving roads and hills. Coming out of the first climb Marisol, Emily and I dropped Hannah and continued forward. At this point it was clear that the wind was killing us, even my usual chatter had dropped to a minimum. We were passed by two guys on Lindenwood who had a crazy gap on the Men's A field. Coming out of the final turn I pushed it up a small rise, dropping Marisol but not Emily. She had a better sprint and I made a few stupid moves coming into the final minor downhill and the sprint where I finished just behind her.
I'm at the point now, where strategically I know generally where I need to be (though still have to work on sprinting), but physically can't do it. It is frustrating to watch wheels just roll away, but I am throughly happy with the fact that I did not give up.
Looking at the finishing reports, the wind, length and climbing took a severe toll on all the fields that had to do more than one lap. 60% of the men's A field did not finish, 50% of the men's B, 40% of the men's C, and 36% of the women's A. People always says that the Lindsey Wilson race is the worst, but honestly this one takes the cake. I ended up 12th out of the 25 women that started the day.
Unfortunately that wind also brought in a severe weather front, which cancelled the crit.
Snowy and stressful drive home.