Bike race #2 of the season started off a little bit rough!! Initially we'd been told we only needed our road bikes, since I was flying that sounded fabulous! Then at the very last minute Corey called and told me that a TT bike was definitely needed...which meant flying with two bikes in two bike boxes (I couldn't find a double bike box!;) However that was not the rough part...that came later about an hour and a half before my TT start time! My team and I got their early enough to ride the course, which was critical with this course which consisted of screaming down hill, rollers, false flats from hell, and a large kicker of a climb to the finish! I was SO excited to race this course because it was really fun, and exactly what I love...fast, short (3.1 miles), and climby!! I'd struggled a bit at the Valley of the Sun TT which was flat, windy and 14 miles long so I really wanted to kill it on this TT! While we were pre-riding the course I realized that I couldn't get into my little ring on my TT bike, which was vital on the last climb to the finish so I started to panic a little. I rode back trying to find a mechanic or someone at all to help me. With about 30 minutes to go till my start time a random guy came to the rescue, or so I thought. He told me that the airlines must have bent my front de-railer and he couldn't fix it. By then it was 12:15 and my start time was 12:31, I hadn't even warmed up and my bike was broken...only four letter words fit that situation! My plan was to just go out as hard as I could on the flat and fast part, come over the rollers with as much momentum as possible and try like hell to make it up that last big kicker in my big ring. I knew the winning time from last year was around 8 minutes and 19 seconds so when I crossed the finish line at 8:53 I was broken hearted and sure that I'd come in close to last. We had to wait all day to find out results (that was a bit agonizing!) and when they finally posted them it was nothing but awesome news!! My team captain Susannah Gordon had taken first with a time of 8:36 and I was sitting in 4th place!!:) With the mechanical from hell and no warm up I was ecstatic with 4th and even more excited that our team had the leaders jersey!!
Road race was next up and we knew we'd have to protect that jersey. We were expecting there to be points for the top 3 finishers in the road race and also intermediate sprint points so we were gearing up for an all out effort for both opportunities or at least to make sure the girls close to our times didn't get them. Then at the start line the official informed us that the finisher bonuses had been removed because they forgot to print them in the race bible (DUMB!! Their race bible was ridiculous!! Two out of three of the courses were printed wrong and they forgot to add in the finishers bonus points...this is not the first year they have put on this race, they've been doing it for 24 years you'd think they would get it right...ohhh well!!) Then the official also informed us that the sprint bonuses aren't for 15, 10, and 5 like it said in the race bible but 3, and 2 seconds, a new UCI rule! This made a little more sense because those are HUGE sprint bonus times but still a shocker to learn right at the start line. So the race started pretty mellow but FREEZING! Did I mention our start time was 6:55 AM, I thought early start times were what they did to torture the Cat 4's, not the Pro 1,2's! It did warm up after a bit and I really enjoyed this course, the 2nd half was all power climbs and it is SO fun to cruise up those climbs! The sprint point was coming and I saw a girl jump for it so I stuck on her wheel, couldn't quite get around her but was happy with 2nd and the 2 seconds I got. The girl who got the 3 seconds was in 13th place and not a huge threat. On lap three going over the climbs I was trying to stay in the top fourth of the pack going into the finish, but the trisport team was doing a great job attacking and blocking! (We only had half the road and these roads were tiny!! Where they placed the finish line couldn't have been anymore dangerous...finishes on decents with only half the road are a terrible idea!!) On the last riser and decent into the finish I got completely blocked out by the trisport girls and missed a tiny break. I nearly broke the yellow line rule to get through and try my best to sprint up to the break but I'd run out of gearing and was totally spun out! I caught the break right and the line and came in 6th...not awesome but everyone got pack time so it wasn't a huge loss. The lovely officials made sure to tell us that even though we'd sprinted for the points, they didn't record them right and decided to cancel the sprint points altogether! What?!?! I was a little upset...since they took away every chance to gain time, and it was a pack finish, that race was pretty much useless, nonexistent, and the GC remained exactly the same.
Bright and early before the road race!
Attempting to pump up my spare wheels!
Dinner before the last stage. The best mexican food I've ever had...they all got real margaritas and I got a delicious virgin one!!:)
With a start time of 6:41 AM for the circuit race we were up by 4...ouch! I'm not gonna lie I am NOT a morning person! Racing my bike is about the only thing I'd get up that early in the morning for!;) The course was a 6 or 7 mile loop half climbing, half descent/flats with a climb to the finish! There were sprint points on the 3rd lap so that lap was fast with constant attacks, climbing up to the sprint points I just wanted to make sure that the girls in 4th, 5th, and 6th that were within seconds of me didn't get any sprint points (I memorized their numbers the night before so I could keep my eye out for em!;) Rebeccca Much (Tibco) and a Trisports girl ended up taking the two sprint bonuses, neither of them effected me but if Rebecca got the win, she'd take the leaders jersey from Susannah. I like circuit races because it gives me a chance to read the race lap after lap, so I know where I need to be and when I need to be there in order to be successful. I had heard Cari Higgins (Peanut butter and co, 2012) talking to Rebecca (Tibco) and I knew that Cari was going to be working for Rebecca at the finish. I knew I had to come around the final corner in the top 5 riders to have any kind of chance. We hit that last corner and I came around in 4th. Cari took off, leading out the sprint for Rebecca. I got on her wheel and with 150 ft or so to go I took off around Cari. The line was right there and I thought I had it, until I hit the line and saw Rebecca sweep across it just inches in front of me! I hadn't even seen her till the very end! 2nd place or not I was happy to be where I was, sprinting against a world champion...and a picture of the sprint even made velonews!:) Unfortunately Susannah lost the leaders jersey in the last stage. Rebecca took over as the GC with Susannah in second and me in third. For the very first race our team has ever done together, I'd say two podium spots is pretty good!:) Even though it was a bit disorganized I still loved this race and had a great time with my new teammates! :)
The sprint! Inches!!
Bright and early before the Circuit race!
Still can't figure out why I was standing like that! ;)
Mmmm that was a good apple!;)
Angela and Lisa Renee
After the race I got an email from Tammy on the trisports team asking me if I'd guest ride for them at Redlands!! This is the first NRC race of the year, and one that my coach had told me I couldn't do, his exact words were, "Its the first NRC race of the year, all the pro teams are going to be trying to kill each other....patience patience patience Tayler!" After this race he told me I'd proved myself and that I can go guest ride for that team!:) I've only heard horror stories about Redlands (like most ppl don't make it past the crit) which is a bit terrifying, and I'm heading for a definite butt kicking, but I couldn't be more excited!! :)