Last weekend was Valley of the Sun down in sunny, warm, beautiful Arizona...can you tell I didn't want to come back? ;) This was my first race of the season, and really my first big race as a Pro 1,2 so I was super nervous! Matt, Steph and I drove down Thursday morning and got to Phoenix around 10:30 PM. (I've gotta give Matt a gigantic THANK YOU for driving us both ways, that was a full 24+ hours of driving and I owe him big time!! He was also our amazing little mechanic, don't know what I would have done without you Matt!!:) Love ya!) Thankfully my TT start time wasn't until 2:07 the next day, giving me plenty of time to sleep in, wake up, and be ridiculously nervous before we had to leave. Driving to the TT we saw a giant cardboard baby in the middle of some farmers field (litarally giant, like 50 ft tall cardboard baby in the middle of nowhere!) I have to admit that in a strange way that calmed me down a bit!;) I got anxious again once we got there but was brought back down again after talking to Carmen and Kelly. They asked how I was doing and of course I said, "I'm really nervous!" Kelly replied saying, "Hey its just a bike race, there will be plenty more!" Not gonna lie I was intimidated as hell by her confidence and how relaxed she was, but the truth was that it really was just a bike race and there really would be plenty more! And I'd probably do myself a huge favor if I calmed down a little! I warmed up (my heart rate was around 140 just sitting there because of my nerves! And I was sweating like crazy cuz it was sooo hot...which I can't complain about really! Being in shorts and a jersey all weekend was amazing! Riding around Salt Lake with an extra 15 lbs of clothing is good resistance training I'd say!) I headed to the start, so not to repeat a capitol reef missed start, and they called me up! I had looked at last years fastest times so I knew what speed I needed to go, and off I went...just not as fast as I'd hoped!;) I felt great on the way out, passing 4 girls, hit the turn around (couldn't have gone any slower around that) and headed back. I didn't hit the turn around as early as I'd hoped so I knew I had to make up time on the way back...and then it happened for the first time EVER...I got passed! Not once but twice...I was bummed but it motivated me to go harder (I even revisted the sandwich I'd eaten a few hours before and was 4 minutes faster than I was on the way out) but overall I was pretty upset. Results were posted and I was 10th, not super awesome. Good ole coach Corey called me later, Carmen had told him how nervous I was before the race and how bummed I was about the finish and we had a good talk. He is constantly reminding me that cycling is a progression and that I need to relax and work on my biomechanics. Me, relax...but I want to go 100 mph all the time, the word progression is not really in my vocabulary, I don't want to relax! Teehehe Corey knows this about me, which is why he is the best thing for me!;) Anyway I was determined to do better in the road race!
Corey chatted with Carmen about having me work for her during the road race and I was really excited about that! Carmen was in 2nd, only 4 seconds down from the leader, so my job was to help her get the sprint points on the QOM climb. We hit the climb and she told me to go tempo at the front and string out the pack. I went to the front and drove it, at one point Carmen yelled, "Go GO!" So I stood up and sprinted. I found out later that I'd started to gap off the pack, I increased the gap and another team had to close it. I lead out Carmen until about 1 km to go where she sprinted around me and got the points. I have never really raced like that before, as a team, racing for someone else, and I loved it!! In final sprint to the finish, she took 3rd giving her a second time bonus and the leaders jersey. I came in 4th and was pretty happy about it!:)
If you know me at all you know I struggle with cornering, so racing a Pro 1,2 crit with 50 people sounded pretty terrifying to me...okay really terrifying! I got to the line early so I didn't start in the back of the pack. My plan was mostly just to keep the rubber down and not die! We got the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown and were off! Believe it or not I loved it!! It was fast and sketchy at times (not nearly as sketchy as the B flight at the RMR...those dudes could learn a lesson from these chicks!!) but such a blast! I'm not gonna lie, I'm terrible at holding my position and I was constantly fighting to get back in the front, but once I figure out positioning and how to navigate my way through the pack I think I am really going to love crit racing! I had terrible positioning coming around the last corner but sprinted past as many people as I could and settled with a middle of the pack finish. I never feel good about coming in mid-pack in anything, but it only gives me inspiration to improve and be more aggressive!!:)
Me and my buddy Kelsey Kooreman! She has turned into quite the little crit racer!! Love her!
In the end I held my 10th place, which was still in the money!!:) And I was the top U23 rider, which came with a $100 cash prize, yahoooo!!:)
Did I mention my little PCIM chicks did awesome!!!! Chan and Steph did awesome in every stage, Chan even won the crit!!:) They ended up being 2nd and 3rd in the overall Cat 3 GC!! Way to represent!! Kelsey "Hero" Kooreman killed it in the crit taking 8th place in the Pro 1,2's!! She has become quite the little crit racer!! Love you girls!!
This was the first race my Dad has been able to come to and I was really glad he did! He had some crazy travel issues trying to get there but I'm so glad he made it, it meant a lot to me having him there! He had never seen me race and I loved having him there. My parents mean everything to me and having them be a part of something I am so passionate about means the world to me. Racing is my big dream and I couldn't do it without them. I love all four of you soooo much!! (How lucky am I, I have 4 parents!!;)
My Mom and Ernie are usually my biggest cheering section and best "feed zoners!" They stayed home this time to watch my new puppy Ridley and spoiled him rotten!!:) He misses their house already! Thanks for watching my little guy and cheering me on from Utah!!:) Love you!!