So my parents were all like, “We’re going to be in Ohio in June for your cousin’s graduation and we’d love to come see you race. What’s a good weekend for that?”
and I was all like, “Galena! You can be a part of the best weekend for local racing, you can learn how to do water bottle hand-ups, and you can help with our race gear! You and dad can be our LPV soigneurs!” Dad from across the room, “Sounds good. I can be a voyeur and help with the beers!” [fast forward to June…]
The Tour of Galena would be the first time all four women of Les Petites Victoires were able to race together as teammates. We had been looking forward to this race all year knowing it would be challenging, fun, terrible, and put us head-to-head against all our Chicago friends and nemeses. While having my parents there to feed us would certainly help, I was nervous about cramming four challenging races into three days especially with temperatures creeping into the 90s.
Day one, Circuit Race: This was a hard one. I usually try to take race day hyperbole and facebook malarkey with a grain of salt, but this time the stuff Adam Herndon said was pretty spot on. There were three significant climbs, one of which was rumoured to be 15% grade for half a mile. I made an attempt at heroism early in the race and spent two laps by myself with a gap that went from 0 seconds up to 1.5 minutes and then back down to 0 seconds. I managed to hang onto the four who eventually caught me (Jeannie Kuhajek, Jessie Prinner, Sarah Rice, and Kelli Richter) for one lap, cracked a bit in the heat, rode the last few laps alone, and finished fifth. Jrho, overcoming her hill aversion, came in a bit after me. We all went back to the house to eat a delicious bbq salmon dinner a la Moore parents.
Day two (part one), Time Trial: In keeping with what would become a theme for the weekend, the TT course was hard. I ended up 3rd, right behind two very strong riders, Jeannie and Jessie (who was over a minute ahead of me-impressive! Congratulations to her for her second place U23 TT at Road Nationals). Some credit for my result should be given to the super sweet carbon KASK K.31 CRONO helmet that was loaned to me for the stage. I also have to thank Paolo’s wheels. Cady was a close fourth. We returned to the house to rest and eat some nutritious lunchables.
Day two (part two), Road Race: Despite my parents’ expert skills at water bottle hand-ups, there was not enough carborocket in the world to keep my legs in the game this time. Temperatures were sky high and I cramped badly in the 3rd lap. In the second of the three laps, Jeannie and Jessie made their move and the field was whittled down to me, Cady, Kelli, and Sarah. I was hoping to get through the race in 3rd or 4th despite the twinges of cramps I could feel on lap 2, but no such luck. On the penultimate climb, my legs seized and I had to get off my bike and lie down in the road for a minute or two to regain my composure. I would like to thank Marne Smiley for riding past and ordering me to get back on my bike and finish the race. I managed to paperboy my way through the last climbs and finish 7th. While I had really wanted to stick by Kelli and Sarah, it was sadly not in the cards. Suffice to say, I need to work on my salt ratios. Cady managed to hang on a bit longer than me for 5th place. For those keeping track, dinner number two was equally delicious. My parents are wonderful.
Day three, Criterium: I woke up tired, sore and bummed after a disheartening finish in the previous day’s road race; all four LPV ladies cramped, we all finished less than spectacularly, and we were resolved not to leave Galena on a bummer note. We talked about strategic options for the race and decided that the best possible scenario would be for me to get into a break and then have Jannette, Cady, and Liz work in the field and try to put as many spots as possible between myself and Kelli and Sarah. Depending on how the race played out, there was still a possibility for me to take the third podium spot for the omnium. Maybe. I was unsure of my incredibly tired legs, but willing to try. At staging, Peter Stritmatter shook my hand and offered these words of encouragement, “Just remember, your parents are watching”.
The race started and about two laps into it Leah from Psimet made a move and Cady snagged her wheel. I had a bad start and it took me until the third lap to work my way up from the back of the pack and be able to take the last corner at the front. I looked back and saw a small gap so I quickly bridged up to Cady to see if we could put some distance between us and the field. About five laps into our break, Cady soft pedaled to see if Leah would try to get up to my wheel. She didn’t take the bait, and I quickly realized that I was up the road all alone.
This was my moment to make a decision and try to capitalize on whatever confusion might follow from Cady and Leah falling back to the pack. TT mode engaged! I tried to keep my pace as fast and steady as I could as well stay hydrated (your parents are watching, your parents are watching, don’t give up). I knew my teammates would be working hard for me in the pack. As my gap started to grow, people around the course were calling out wacky time splits and my parents were yelling and cheering. I think people underestimate the power of positive reinforcement in a race. It really helps. Jeannie started to chase (which gave rise to another slew of splits) and she gained on me for a bit, but I was able to hold her off at around 26 seconds until the last few laps.
With 4 laps to go I saw the field in front of me and at 3 laps I was passing through them. I was worried that the field would slow enough to let Jeannie catch me, so I kept pushing through. With 2 laps to go I had not only lapped the field but I was able to be the first leadout for my teammates with Liz on my wheel. Jrho came in right behind Jessi Prinner taking 2nd in the field sprint, and 4th overall, which gave me just the right amount of points to move up to third overall in the omnium standings for the weekend!
We won a race, collected a bunch of primes and a bottle of champagne, and managed to cover our entry fees and gas money with our winnings! Lesson learned: Teamwork is great. That my parents were there to see it was icing on the cake.