This was a super fun weekend. It ended up being only Anna, Kat, and me who went to the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, AR. This was my first time racing in Arkansas, which means that I got to add another pin to my map! (Maybe a picture will come; I was going to take one earlier but got distracted and am no longer at home.)
Kat was racing in the Pro/1/2 category, which meant she had to be there by Thursday noon to race her TT on that day (she then had a road race Friday, another one Saturday, and a crit Sunday). We were able to pre-ride the TT course with her as her warmup, and I was really happy to be able to see and ride the course. Then on Friday, before Kat’s race, Anna and I rode the first and last 10 miles (it was a lollipop) of the road race course. We also drove the crit course on two different days, so I felt quite well prepared.
The TT on Saturday morning went about as well as I could have hoped. I knew I could do it in about 13 minutes (though anything faster would’ve been best) and it would pretty much feel like the TTTs we do bi-monthly or so. It pretty much felt just like that. I got passed by one person and passed one person, and I finished in 13:22—about what I expected. This was good enough for 13/18 (Cat 3/4) but put me 1:44 behind the leader. In omniums, which we normally do, time doesn’t matter so much; however, this was a stage race, which means time matters more than finish position, especially in the TT, because in the other races, if you finish in 13th but in the same group as the winner, you get the winner’s time. Then, at the end of the weekend, the person who completed all races in the least amount of time is the winner of everything. Starting out 1:44 down is not a pleasant position to be in.
Our RR was Saturday early afternoon—we had about enough time to cool down for 10 minutes, load our bikes in the car, and drive to the RR start before we had to sign in and get a little warmup in for our RR. The RR was the Cat 3/4 women and the Master Women, so we started with 31 women. The first 10 miles, which I’d pre-ridden, were great for me despite a few of the sketchiest riders I’ve ever ridden with. Then, around mile 15, we hit a decent climb. I was fairly close to the group, if not in it, until maybe a mile later when we were still climbing (or maybe hit another little climb). At that point, I fell off the group. Anna was with me as well, and we worked with 4 other women for at least 10 miles and finally caught back up to the leaders.
At that point, we were all together for the final 10 miles or so, and I tried to maintain a decent position at the front of the group without working too much. The finish was downhill and very wide open, and we came in fast. I thought I finished better than 6th (since we were all together, Masters and Cat 3/4, there were a lot of us), because I thought I was one of the first 6 who crossed the line and there were probably Masters women in those 6 somewhere. However, either all 5 of the ones who beat me were category women or I wasn't really 6th across the line, because my final result was 6th place, same time as the rest of the women in our group. I was happy to have finished with the group, tho, and not have had even more time to make up!
The final race was the crit early Sunday morning (early like before 8 AM!). We raced 25 minutes, and I ended up 3rd of the 15 who started (at the very end of our RR, like after the finish line, there was a massive crash that sent at least 2 to the hospital and caused another 5 to not start either the Cat 3/4 race or the Masters women race). I got a 2-second time bonus, but it wasn't enough to make up any positions; my overall position was 10 of 15, total time was 2:51:10, and time back on the overall winner was 1:44. In other words, not much changed in the overall position or time even though I went from 13th (TT) to 6th (RR) to 3rd (crit). Bummer.
Saturday AM TT: 13/18; 2.5-mile climb, 13:22, 183 bpm (194 max)
Saturday afternoon RR: 6/18; 45 miles, 2:13:40, 20.2 mph (44.9 max), 162 bpm (198 max)
Sunday morning crit: 3/15; 25 minutes, 8.75 miles, 21.0 mph (33.7 max), 174 bpm (194 max)