Today's NashvilleCyclist.com race was so different than the first of the series 2 weeks ago. There were fewer women in general, fewer Team Belladium women specifically, I had a different attitude, the winds were stronger. But I was looking forward to it just as much. Lisa C, Valerie, Shelly, and I were representing Team Belladium, and 4 teammates in a group of 11 was good odds; SVMIC had 3, and Cumberland Transit had 4.
Valerie and I got in a good warmup, riding from the wave pool, through Shelby Park, and to the stadium. Unfortunately during that warmup I picked up a few things in my tire and limped into the parking lot with a flat rear tire. I had a spare tube, so after pulling out the metal thorns (and getting Jeremy to help with one) and finding a pump, I was set.
Tonight was very windy, and that made a couple of the turns a little slower than they normally would have been. It also allowed for some attacks, which definitely happened. At one point, somehow, a CT lady and and an SVMIC lady got up the road a little—we couldn't let that happen if we wanted a chance to win (and of course we did!), so I worked to pull the 3 or 4 people behind me up to the group. Since there were only 3 teams and 2 of the teams were represented ahead, Team B had to work to reel in the 2 ahead of us. Sadly, by that time, it was just me in the group, so I did all the work. I really tried to get some of the CT and SVMIC women to come around and pull, but they just kept saying, "We have teammates up there. If you want to catch them, you have to do it,"; and, "You're on your own if you want to catch them!" Not what I wanted to hear (at that point I thought Lisa C was still with me), but I went for it and finally caught them.
We ended up as a group of 6 in the lead: 3 SVMIC women, 2 CT women, and me. I could really then just sit and wait for them to do something (and of course cover any attack) or wait for my chance to sprint. With less than 8 laps to go (inside the "no free lap" zone), my bike started to feel a little off around the corners. My first thought was that the wind had picked up. But I wasn't doing much work, so I shouldn't have felt the wind any more pronounced than it had been. Then I looked down and realized that my rear wheel was looking flat. I had to move to the back and figured that no one would know (and I'd just stay away from them on the corners). That only lasted so long—until I really couldn't corner at any speed whatsoever and still feel comfortable.
With 3 laps to go, I fell off completely and sadly had to let the 5 I'd been with charge to the finish. Todd said just to finish, so I did. Every once in a while, I'd see Val and Lisa behind me making up ground on me. I resolved to not let them catch me, and they didn't. But I didn't have a chance to sprint it out at the finish, and I was bummed about that. Plus Team B's highest finish was 6th, so as a team that's a disappointing low place. On a good note, we did finish 6, 7, 8, and 9, so we look like we all came across together!
Jonell and Anna were there cheering, and Jonell took a few pictures, so hopefully I'll be able to post a few so that this blog isn't so text-heavy! Stats: