Well this weekend was my first time racing in Indiana since the two races I did last season (not counting collegiate). It brought me back to the very first race I ever did three seasons ago where I got lapped by the breakaway, not once but three times at Eagle Creek. Fun times.
A break between Tulsa and the local races had led to a 20 hour week on the bike, and with summer classes being out and house sitting away from my roommates I had a little too much time to my own thoughts. This led to coming into this past week full of doubts, little self lies, as well as being physically exhausted from a big training block. It hit the point that on Tuesday I ended up taking an unplanned day off, struggling mentally and knowing that no power in the universe was going to get me on the bike. The week shaped up though and Thursday night I was up at the velodrome getting smashed by a couple guys who are Cat 2 on the road. Made the finals of the Win and In, but that was one of my few results of note. However, although it may not have been a successful night it proved to be the push I needed to clear my head and go into the weekend confidently as well as remember why I love cycling so much.
I’m currently taking care of a dog (Luxa) and cat (Peep). They are great animals but have an affinity for waking me up in the middle of the night, particularly Peep who seems to enjoy laying on my face. This, combined with the usual pre-race jitters led to a poor nights sleep Friday night. Combined with having to get up early to drive to South Bend I was not exactly in a great mood and the start list was making me nervous with some Cat 1/2 racers who I really look up to.
Katie and Rose from Melanzana (Little 500) in the Women's 4 field!
Race the Bend was on a course similar to the Notre Dame collegiate race as far as road quality (poor), and fairly wide open other than the second turn before the finishing straight where it went from four lanes wide to one (yikes!). I went for an early prime but was nabbed at the line by Sierra who I believe took every prime (I will never bet against her). Although I did a little work at the front I was conscious of the strength of the other riders in the pack and tried to save my matches. The last two turns into the finishing straight were making nervous and I was not looking forward to the idea of going through them with a group, knowing I would have to overcomes nerves as well as try and position myself well. With three to go and the pack still together I decided to test my luck, sprinting off the front to try and avoid a bunch sprint. I managed to hold it for the final laps, taking the win.
First time I've ever actually gotten a podium photo, I always seem to forget my phone after the fact.
I was really impressed with the level of support at the crit. For a local race Spinzone really did well with payouts for both men AND women, as well as providing perks that you don’t usually see at this level like a warm up tent, a women’s support area as well as gift bags for some of the female riders courtesy of 574 cycling. Huge thanks to the women who set that up, and I think that was part of why it was a larger field than in years past. People always ask what it will take to get more women racing and events like this are key.
Sunday was a shorter drive with a jump to Ohio for Tour d’Burg for the 1/2/3 race. It was a different situation in that most everyone had a teammate or two, with Secret, Riley as well as a few other programs showing up strong. A twisty course, featuring a cobble section, a funky s curve as well as seven actual turns, it became clear that nothing was going to get away although that didn’t stop several teams from trying. I went for an early cash prime, taking it before settling back into the front of the pack. This would prove to be a blessing as we came around for the final lap and a large wreck happened towards the front middle. Barely edging it out I tried to follow the Riley train but lost the wheel, coming in for 4th.
Overall I’m very happy with the weekend, it was good to see some friends from Purdue, Notre Dame and Lindenwood, as well as see where I am on the local racing scene after two years of getting dropped and pummeled into a pulp. Next week I will be doing two of the Ohio races and I look forward to being in a consistent rhythm again.