slimC and I decided to go south to Tour de Champaign, one of a two-day series in the Champaign-Urbana area. It’s a well run event hosted by LPV friend Mark Swartzendruber, Scarletfire Racing and Wild Card Cycling. Unfortunately, life beckoned us to pick only one of the weekend’s races so we chose Saturday. As Mother Nature would have it, we selected the rainy day so our initial plan to double up races for training changed and we decided to make the most of our one Women’s race. Our plan was to be active with attacks and work hard, hoping to make others work hard.
We arrived just in time to register, change, and get in a quick rainy warm-up. It was our first local race of the season and it was nice to see the familiar faces on the line. It seemed all the Psimet ladies showed up (!) and the field was rounded out by a good number of women from Bloomington Cycles, Half Acre, xXx-Racing, Scarletfire, and Proctor.
The race began and we stuck to the plan. We fired off a couple of attacks and as we expected, Psimet responded. The other women in the field were quick to cover moves early in the race. While slimC was on the front, a little move went that included two women from Psimet. I was a bit out of position to respond quickly but I worked and moved up to cover it. It was a group of five that got a little gap so we started to rotate through. I took a hard pull into the wind then Kelli Richter (Psimet) pulled through telling me it was just us two. It seemed the other three fell off pace and suddenly we were in that position where we go for it to make the break work or sit up. This is not my specialty and I can’t remember the last time I made the break but my secret season goal includes racing hard, outside of my comfort zone. So I went into the red. Round and round we went, working well together to keep a gap of about 40-50 seconds. With teammates back in the field to help halt any chase, we stayed away.
Knowing we were gone, my attention went towards winning this thing. I was determined to make my team proud. I expected Kelli to go early so as we hit the last lap, I kept an eye for an early attack. I chose the final turn as the marker for my move if she didn’t go by then. We climbed the little hill before the turn and Kelli had yet to jump so I rounded the corner on the inside and went for it. I saw Kelli’s Psimet wheel creep up in the corner of my eye but I was able to stay on the gas and cross the line first. Woo!
My thoughts immediately went to slimC back in the field. She was outnumbered by Kelli’s teammates but I had no doubt that she could take the field sprint. Sure enough, she made an early move into the wind and joined me on the podium. Double woo!